I have to tell you: I think it is far, far worse that Mitt claims not to remember this high school episode of bullying and assault. And I think we need to drive that point home.
This revelation could have had a very different outcome. If Mitt were a different person -- compassionate, honest, humane -- he could have blown our minds with his response.
Follow me over the orange croissant for an example.
Imagine if Mitt had responded like this:
Do I remember that day, that event? Yes, of course I do. Listen, this isn't going to be easy for me to say, but it needs to be said. I remember that day as perhaps -- as I hope -- my worst and weakest day on this planet. I could tell you I was young, immature, and arrogant -- that's all true. But they aren't excuses.As Laurie Anderson might say, "Close your eyes, and imagine that. Now, open them!"
That was the day I assaulted another person for no reason other than that he was different from me. I can still remember that night. The feeling of the scissors in my hands. Knowing that what I was doing was dead wrong, but actually afraid to stop. The mixture of pride and disgust that other boys were following my lead, and that this was what I had chosen to lead them into.
Since that day, I have never raised or laid my hand on another person. I probably over-compensated with my five sons, all of whom were popular in school. We had a couple of minor episodes, and I told them in no uncertain terms that bullies were cowards, that the brave stood up to bullies and stood up for the weak.
And I will tell you -- and this isn't easy, because my religion is for me a very personal thing -- but ever since the first day I decided to run for public office, I have prayed that I would never abuse the power of leadership as I did that day.
That day was the most shameful of my life, and I have had to own the fact that I was once capable of that kind of terrible act. And I don't know if I will say this well, but I don't ever want to forget that day, because it has taught me humility and compassion.
I would worry about myself -- my capacity for leadership, my ability to be a good and trusted fellow person -- if I did not remember that day.