June 29th, 2007
05:39 PM ET
12 years ago

Romney: Dog 'enjoyed' riding on car roof

Romney is taking heat for the way he transported his dog on family trips.

(CNN) - Under fire from a leading animal rights group, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney defended the family dog's mode of transportation to a 1983 summer vacation.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) criticized the Republican presidential hopeful after The Boston Globe reported that Romney transported his dog in a rooftop carrier when the family drove from Boston to Ontario.

"If you wouldn’t strap your child to the roof of your car, you have no business doing that to the family dog," Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA said in a statement. "I don’t know who would find that acceptable."

The article noted that Romney had built a wind shield carrier to make the ride more comfortable for the family's Irish Setter.

But on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania Thursday, Romney defended his chosen mode of transportation for the family dog.

"He scrambled up there every time we went on trips, got in all by himself and enjoyed it," Romney said of the Irish Setter.

Romney also conceded any endorsement of his candidacy by the group was unlikely.

"PETA has not been my fan over the years. PETA was after me for having a rodeo at the Olympics," he said in reference to his role as chief executive of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. "PETA was unhappy when I went quail hunting in Georgia, and they're not happy that my dog likes fresh air."

- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (357 Responses)
  1. meuphys rasbene, worcester ma

    CMB, your stupid comment makes me ashamed to say that I am from the Worcester area. You don't have to be weak or a tree-hugger to love dogs and be suspicious of someone who does not treat them well.
    And MW says (june 29, 12:35) "I just want to know what he’s done as Governor of Mass. Is the state worse or better off with him being Governor?"

    Well – after claiming to balance the budget without raising taxes (he slashed public edducation and raised fees, which are taxes by another name) he actually left Deval Patrick a $1.5 billion deficit.

    After running as a candidate who would accept the will of MA voters on abortion and same sex marriage, he turned on a dime as soon as he realized that in order to get the GOP nomination, he would have to be a social conservative.

    He vetoed the MA Legislature's universal health care, and then when the veto was overridden and it turned out to be popular, took credit for it and is now using it as a campaign issue.

    Finally, when he was head of the RNC, he basically left Massachusetts – the state he was elected to lead – and traveled around the country mocking it. He did return when a woman died tragically in an accident which had to do with a state highway project... he was back about a week, got his picture taken with a hard hat on, and then left again. (By then, he was bored being governor and wanted to play president.)

    He's a self-obsessed, dishonest man, and he would be a terrible president.

    btw, I hope about 70% do not own dogs, for the sake of dogs everywhere.

    June 30, 2007 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  2. Bobby Corcoran

    I would say Mitt really knows how to put a dog – mans best friend – in its place.

    June 30, 2007 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  3. Enrique,Tallahassee,Fl

    Wow, with all the millions of dollars, you treat your dogs like another stock to trade or company to make money from.

    June 30, 2007 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  4. Margarret Gottlieb Arlington, VA

    Mr. Rommey,

    Don't forget to buy eyeglasses for your dogn next time!


    June 30, 2007 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  5. Aaron E. Hinkley Houston, TX

    I'm no great fan of PETA and I don't even like dogs. However, it does strike me as an incredibly cruel thing to do to a dog to put its carrier on the roof of the car and let it urinate and defecate all over itself. Whether that is a relevant political issue depends on what it may or may not reveal about Mitt Romney's character. However, at the very least it strikes me as an incredibly callous way to treat one of God's creatures. I wouldn't treat an animal I was going to eat that way let alone an animal that was supposedly a part of the family. In the end unfortunately it doesn't really surprise me that a politician could be so, at the very least, insensitive.

    July 1, 2007 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  6. RS, Mililani, HI

    Listen, I'm a dog person and love animals in general. This was not cruel. Imagine wanting to take a beloved pet with you from say, LA to London. How would your pet travel? Probably in a cramped carrier in the luggage compartment of an airplane for over 12 hours...(yes, I'm sure there would be poop there too)

    What is the difference? Additionally, I'm sure the Romney Family stopped more than a few times on their trip. This wasn't cruel, the dog enjoyed it. And for those upset about poop, here's a newsflash... Dogs (and kids) poop; and not only when they are quote-unquote "scared." I think people are getting too worked up over nothing.

    Can we get back to real issues now?

    July 1, 2007 04:10 am at 4:10 am |
  7. rvkennedy

    The big takeaway from this story: Mitt Romney is a major-league WEIRDO.

    July 1, 2007 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  8. S Whatley Bayou Vista, Texas

    Don't know much about this guy. I am not a PETA or do I support them. We as a society can be judged by the way we treat our animals and he should be judged by the same standard. Even though he putting on a front of a caring person all it is a front nothing else. I would not even vote for him even if he was running for Dog Catcher of a one dog town.

    July 1, 2007 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  9. K. Black

    Here are two points that have not been raised. What if the dog carrier fell off the top of the car and CAUSED A WRECK ? ( So not only would the dog be in jeopardy, so would the safety of people.)

    Also, if the Romneys hadn't bred like rabbits and had 5 children, there would have been room in the car for a dog. There are too many people on this planet for anyone to have 5 kids. Have two-one each to replace you and your spouse. Anymore is egotistical and irresponsible.

    July 1, 2007 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  10. JimStag

    Actually, I find the story at last somewhat interesting – since it provides some (admittedly negative) insight into the candidates values.

    The litmus test: if there were a story about Romney's exceptional compassion demonstrated to an animal 20 years ago – would those who object to this story feel that it too was equally irrelevant?

    I think not.

    Given that the US finds itself in a defensive posture on the international diplomacy stage, and that we are perceived to embrace and evangelize a rather unbalanced, arbitrary and inhumane world view of human suffering through our strained foreign policy priorities – evidence of strained / damaged humanitarian values in a presidential candidate IS relevant to me.

    July 1, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. Amy, NJ

    I don't like PETA, but it was horrible that he strapped his dog to the roof! Dogs aren't luggage. They are a member of the family, not objects. I doubt the dog liked it if he crapped everywhere during the ride. Romney should be in jail for animal cruelty. It's too dangerous for a dog to be on the roof; that's common sense! What if the cage slipped off? Romney's a terrible person.

    July 1, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. Steve Charlotte, NC

    Well the guy has like 5 kids there was probably no room for the dog. and besides people have their dogs tranquilized and riding it luggage compartments of airplanes for transportation all the time and none of those people are under fire. This is just another pathetic example of the liberal media trying to get their hands on any dirt the can get on this guy. LETS FACE IT AMERICA he is pretty clean i think we got about all we can get.

    July 1, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. Laura, Boston

    I am disgusted. I don't care what PETA thinks. I don't care if the dog "liked it". I am just disgusted that such an inhumane individual is even possibly our president. This is just revolting. Obviously this man actually has no forethought, no conscience, and for having retold the story to a reporter, also lacks afterthought.

    July 1, 2007 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  14. Bill, Pittsburgh, PA

    People who would do this are gutless. Nothing wrong with PETA, you might find them extreme, but at least their motives are explicit and pure. Romney has no such noble intentions. He's wants the position to make money so he can marry more wives, you dopes. Oh, and since he's republican, he probably wants to recruit boys to be his "assistants."


    July 1, 2007 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  15. Alex Foy, Ponca City, OK

    Keep in mind that this was the 80s...my parents used to throw me and my little brother in the back of the covered pickup while driving on the highway so they could get some peace and quiet... If my parents (who are salt of the earth people by the way) can do that with their CHILDREN then surely Romney can do it with a dog...c'mon people, it's PETA for cryin' out loud.

    July 1, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  16. Chase Faldmo, Norway

    Not to be critical, but you people who criticize Romney are being inhumane. Why do you call him sick and attack him? Romney is probablly the nicest of the 2008 candidates. He is very professional and seems like a perfect candidate for 2008. The world needs a good American President like Romney.

    July 1, 2007 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  17. Monica, Spokane WA

    I do not like PETA–they're a nutty organization–but in this case they're right. Packing a dog on top of the roof is ridiculous and dangerous. Who cares if it was the 80s? If he'd strapped one of his kids up there in the 80s would that be okay because " LOLZ, it wuz a long tim ago!!!"?

    July 2, 2007 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  18. debra

    Makes me question his intellect, not that intellect is a requirement for u.s. presidency infact that would be a negative. What bothers me even more so is that fact that he shoots quail for game, now thats a sick state of mind & poor excuse for a human. I say we romney & cheney hunt.

    July 3, 2007 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  19. Dale Burden, Central City, Ky

    Anyone that would carry a pet on top of a car is stupid. Far to stupid to make choices for me. Don't judge him based on your dislike for PETA. Judge him on his lack of care for a family pet. A living creature that you claim to love should never be put in a situation that is more unsafe then you would pt yourself or a child in. They trust you to take care of them and are not smart enough to judge when WE put them in danger. Whether they like being on top of a car or not is not the point. The point is would you put your own child up there?

    July 3, 2007 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  20. Shawn Bodily, San Clemente CA

    That comment makes me like him more.

    July 3, 2007 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  21. Maria Ortiz, Boston, MA

    I'm from Massachusetts and have met Mr. Romney a couple of times. He is super nice and super cute. He can dog sit my dogs anytime.

    P.S. i wish these people who are all about animal protection would feel the same for unborn children.... YOU BUNCH OF HYPOCRITES!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 6, 2007 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |


    July 7, 2007 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  23. Paul, Boston, Massachusetts

    Official Romney photo shows dog enjoying being strapped for 12 hours on the roof and having diarrhea.

    July 9, 2007 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  24. Jason, L.A., CA

    People are blaming this on PETA – they did not bring this up, Romney did, as he was bragging about his ability to problem solve. Boy, I'm sure impressed! He is a bigger idiot than I thought . . .

    July 11, 2007 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  25. MissouriMule

    That's no way to treat a dog. Sure, my dog loves to smoke, but do I let him? Heck no, it isn't good for him and frankly I do not care one bit for the smell on his coat. A side note: can you imagine the constant 'roar' from the wind at highway speed from a ventilated pet carrier in the slipstream? "Hereeeeeeeeee doggy! Heeeeeeeeeere buddy!" dog: "huh? you say somethin'?"

    July 21, 2007 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
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