Monday, at a press event in California before the GOP primary in that state, former Gov. Mitt Romney was asked about his support of United States military involvement overseas. He was pleased to answer the question, however after his response, his answer to a follow-up question regarding his four deferments from the Vietnam War did not please onlookers, especially veterans.
Romney responded to the question regarding US military involvement by stating, “We are the most powerful nation in the world, and it is our responsibility to make sure we protect all of our interests both here and abroad. This helps protect each and every freedom that has been fought for and won over the centuries of our nation’s existence. We will do what we have to in regard to strengthening our allied relationships, as well as letting our enemies know we do not intend to back down. We will stay the course of freedom at all costs. That is what our founders would have wanted.”
This very rehearsed answer to a scripted question was followed by a question that the former governor was not prepared to answer, or so it seemed by his response.
The next question asked went as follows, “Governor Romney, it is true, is it not that you had four deferments from the Vietnam War… You have said before that you support war and the efforts of US military involvement overseas at all costs, yet you made sure you would never go to war yourself. What makes you think that veterans and those currently serving in the military think that you have their best interests at heart when you yourself weren’t even interested in sacrificing your time, energy, or life for your nation at a time when it seemed most crucial?”
“That’s a good question, young man, and I would be happy to answer it. The Vietnam War came at a time in my life when I had other plans. I knew in my heart of hearts that I would one day serve my nation. That I would one day hold an office that would help not only our nation, but also the world. So I did what I could to make sure that I would be around to serve my nation, as well as serving God by teaching very important religious principles to a broader audience overseas. My father did not want me serving, and he convinced me that yes, I was too important to go to Vietnam. I had a greater purpose in life. I wasn’t neglecting my nation, but rather preparing myself for a future of service.”
An onlooker that seemingly was a Vietnam veteran shouted, “Fuck you, Romney! You wouldn’t know service if it bit you on your well manicured ass.” To which Romney responded, “Please don’t be testy, my friend. I did what I did for you, and I thank you for your service as well.” That same veteran responded, “You only served yourself, you jackass. You could’ve served your nation even if your draft number wasn’t called… but you didn’t… you chose to serve yourself instead. Thanks for revealing your true colors.”
The questioning was quickly ushered to the next topics of education and the environment. This apparent gaffe was too honest to appear to be a mistaken answer. We will have to wait and see if this topic gets brought up again in future interviews and possibly the presidential debates this fall.