Romney stands by MLK claim

Dec. 21, 2007 at 9:57 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney conceded he never saw his father march with Martin Luther King Jr., as he claimed in a debate this month.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney said his father, Michigan Gov. George Romney, had told him he had marched with the civil rights leader and that he had been using the word "saw" in a "figurative sense," The Boston Globe reported Friday.

"If you look at the literature, if you look at the dictionary, the term 'saw' includes being aware of in the sense I've described," Romney told reporters in Iowa. "I saw my dad march with Martin Luther King. I did not see it with my own eyes, but I saw him in the sense of being aware of his participation in that great effort."

Historical evidence, however, shows that George Romney never marched with King, though he supported King's civil rights agenda, the newspaper reported.

Susan Englander, assistant editor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project at Stanford University, told the newspaper: "I researched this question, and indeed it is untrue that George Romney marched with Martin Luther King."

In 1978, Mitt Romney told the Boston Herald, "My father and I marched with Martin Luther King Jr. through the streets of Detroit."

Romney's campaign spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom acknowledged that was not true.

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