Rush Limbaugh today dismissed a Washington Post report detailing "pranks" and "troubling incidents" Mitt Romney engaged in as a high school student, saying: "You had long hair in 1965, you were gonna get razzed. It didn't matter. They weren't gonna think you were in the Beatles. If you had long hair in 1965, you were gonna get made fun of." Limbaugh added: "See, 1965's a great year; bullying was legal."
Limbaugh blamed a "pro-Obama media" for making this a story, saying, "The Washington Post can find out what Romney was doing in high school but they can't be bothered to find out what Obama's transcripts -- even some of his writings from college and law school." He continued:
LIMBAUGH: This is the campaign. This is exactly -- you've been warned. You knew. You don't need to be warned. You know this kind of stuff's coming. This is what the drive-by media does in conjunction with the Democrat in the White House. When I saw this, I just -- I started laughing.
LIMBAUGH: Now maybe I'm wrong, but I think most people are gonna laugh at this. It's so obvious now -- it is so pathetically transparently transparent what this is. Media ganging up on Romney -- a pro-Obama media ganging up on Romney. 1965 -- probably a stretch to say it had anything to do with the kid being presumed gay. You had long hair in 1965, you were gonna get razzed. It didn't matter.
They weren't gonna think you were in the Beatles. If you had long hair in 1965, you were gonna get made fun of. See, 1965's a great year; bullying was legal.
Limbaugh added: "Watch that be a quote that shows up at Media Matters: 'Limbaugh praising bullying while defending Romney.' "
As the Post reported today, in one incident, "recalled similarly by five students, who gave their accounts independently of one another," Romney ambushed and forcibly clipped the hair of a younger student who was "perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality":
John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn't having it.
"He can't look like that. That's wrong. Just look at him!" an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann's recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber's look, Friedemann recalled.
A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school's collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber's hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.
Questioned about the incident on the radio show of Fox News host Brian Kilmeade, Romney said "he didn't remember the incidents in question but apologized to anyone his pranks may have hurt":
"I had no idea that this person might have been gay and as the article points out, I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks in high school," he said. "Some may have gone too far and for that I apologize."
"That was a long time ago, for me was 48 years ago," he said. "But if there was anything I said to anyone that was offensive I'm deeply sorry for that."