November 24th, 2007
12:45 PM ET
13 years ago

Romney: Refrain from discussing 'indiscretions'

Romney campaigned through New Hampshire on Saturday.

DERRY, New Hampshire (CNN) – Following his "Ask Mitt Anything" event in Amherst, Mitt Romney told voters and reporters that presidential candidates should refrain from discussing with young people their early life "indiscretions."

The former Massachusetts Governor's statements were a response to Sen. Barack Obama's visit to a Manchester high school Tuesday where he told students he was a "goof off" in high school and had experimented with drugs and alcohol.

"I agree with the sentiment that nobody's perfect and most of us, if not all of us, in our youthful years have engaged in various indiscretions we wouldn't want to have paraded in the front of a newspaper," Romney said. "On the other hand if we're running for president, I think it's important for us not to go into details about the weaknesses and our own failings as young people for the concern that we open kids thinking that it's ok for them."

Romney told the crowd that he would subscribe to President Bush's strategy of handling matters of poor judgment from one's youth.

"He said when he was young and irresponsible, he was young and irresponsible, and he left it at that," Romney said of the President, "And I think that in order to leave the best possible example for our kids, we're probably wisest not to talk about our own indiscretions in great detail."

Following the event, Romney participated in the Derry parade, where he greeted locals, one by one for a one and half mile stretch.

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–CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla

Filed under: Mitt Romney • New Hampshire • Race to '08
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Rocco, Wellington, FL

    If a Presidential candidate thinks keeping their youthful indiscretions secret or private may answer the question as to why the Bush administration has keep everything secret. Perhaps if the public new more of the secret energy policy meetings with Cheney and Enron we might not have $ 3.50 gasoline, or perhaps we would not have been told of weapons of mass destruction if there were none, and thus no Iraq war sucking the life from our military and our economy. Maybe this world would be a better place if the President did not hide the truth. What is this nation becoming?

    November 25, 2007 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  2. E. Elliott, Orlando, FL

    While the war on drugs was a joke back in Nixon's day, the point is missed by the plastic man entirely. Once dishonesty sets root it is a hard habit to break. Any the first step of curing any addiction, such as Bush's to lies, is to admit the problem. Bush never got over his youthful lack of judgement or moral failing. It led to a war of choice for his owners in the oil lobby. If some one else comes foreward and is open and honest, admits being wrong and shows that they have grown from the error, then the error is of lesser importance than the growth. That is why Bush remains a juvenile. He never grew up. Has Romney? Maybe the law should lighten up on this bogus war on drugs some what too. Regulate the DUI and such, just like with drinking, tax the product, pay off the Bush war and may be save a few livers along the way.

    November 25, 2007 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  3. ANDROLOMA, Commerce City, Colorado

    To refrain from discussing indiscretions?? More secrecy?! Just another politician seeking to steal more freedom as they celebrate patriotism. What a phony! A conservative who wants nothing conserved; rather a reformer who wants to change everything into his christian image. What's next? Mandatory prayers before dinner with the family?

    Elect this man at your own peril, America!

    November 25, 2007 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  4. newz4i tucson az

    This Romney guy is a Bush look-a-like.

    This nation doesn't need four more years of stay the course.

    November 25, 2007 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  5. Cheryl Fontaine - Lake Stevens, WA

    Yeah, let's be sure to keep lying to our kids, Romney, you Republicans are good at that. They're too stupid to know when they're being lied to anyway aren't they big fella?

    Say, what are you guys telling the kids about all the graft, corruption, sexual dalliances, and just plain lying your party is so bad at hiding? And how about those war *facts* – keep the glamor coming big guy, those stupid kids really buy into that.

    November 25, 2007 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  6. T. Tim, Lodi, WI

    Beware of those Jim Baker smarmy-smile types!!!

    November 25, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. Fred, North Ridgeville, Ohio

    Mitt Romney, you are such a tool. You want to have it both ways, but wake up! The country you claim you want to lead IS, in fact, a nation full of goof offs who do drugs and alcohol. At least many of them are. So shut up and lighten up, man! Presidents don't resolve family life, and they never will.

    November 25, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. Brahm, Miami, FL

    It's only "underage drinking" because the state says so. Are you all just a bunch of tools because you're scared of the big bad arbitrary law? Kids should get wasted at 17 and ride the bus home! Scared yet?

    November 25, 2007 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. Jaik , chicago, IL

    In other words Romney also used drugs as a kid, but he wants to lie about it. Great. Typical GOP

    November 25, 2007 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. Bill Fitzgerald

    Obama becomes the victim here? Am I missing something. We are talking about the future president of the United States of America. Here is a candidate who never smoked anything or drank alcohol or tried harmful drugs and somehow we have sympathy for one who did and think it is something good that he is honest about it. I'll take the one who refrained from and had self control and still does. His countenance radiates clean living. But in the last days people will call good evil and evil good.

    November 25, 2007 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  11. Kenster, San Diego, CA

    What purpose does it serve to go into excessive detail about past alcohol or drug abuse when you are a Presidential candidate???!!!

    How many kids NEVER made it past drug or alcohol abuse and are now adults stuck with habits they can't shed?? Stating in detail an persons youthfull exesses gives the firm impression that "I can do it and beat it like him!."

    Admitting to the mistakes and firmly stating the dangers associated with such abuse should be sufficeint in itself.

    And what does it matter if Mitt was raidsed Mormon or Baptist anyway? We all come from differing upbringing, rich and, values and morality isn't OWNED by any of the candidates, and I don't hear Mitt professing to have the corner on the market in that regard.

    Why aren't we judging our candidates for what kind of lives they lead, not what they have done as kids.

    While not Mormon, I HATE reading from uninformed bloggers who demonstrate that they are way beyong stupid – to the point of blind IGNORANCE when using faith, mistakes 20 years ago, or family values as weapons.

    Stick to the facts, remove blind emotion or bias from your comments and let's discuss ISSUES which will impact our future as the greatest country in the world.

    November 26, 2007 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  12. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    Amen to that Bill Fitzgerald. Well said!

    November 26, 2007 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  13. Allen, Harrisburg PA

    I agree with Mitt. It is very easy for a kid to think when pressured to try drugs or alcohol, well Pres. Clinton or Sen. Obama did it, and look how they turned out, so it probably won't hurt to just try it once. It sends the wrong message, because of the potential for substance abuse or addiction.
    I want a President who not only leads, but sets an example for our youth.
    Mitt is the only candidate that I think will set a good example for our yout.

    November 26, 2007 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  14. Tevin, Raleigh, NC

    I only have one thing to say. Romney's full of it! I resent his assumption that us youth are stupid, as if being completely truthful is a bad thing. It does wonders to know that Obama's human. Obama did not encourage drug use, in fact he refered to that time in his life as "wasted time". And it's good for those youth who are experimenting and goofing off to know that it's not too late to turn it around! Would you prefer they had no source of hope, Rom? What are you hiding Romney!

    November 26, 2007 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  15. Linda - Albany, NY

    Isn't it better to admit an indiscretion yourself, rather than have the media take you by surprise and use it as a smear tactic, thus making you look like you were hiding something?

    The old "don't tell" line is quite outdated, Mr. Romney.

    November 26, 2007 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. CD, Burke, VA

    I just really hate this man, and I can't explain why. Add me to the unreasonable, can't discuss issues, left-wing, religious bigots list. - LOL.

    November 26, 2007 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  17. kate lee, scottsbluff, NE

    As a teacher, I must applaud Mr. Obama's honesty as I must abhor Mr. Romney's lack thereof. If Mr. Romney is willing to keep silent on this issue, then I must agree with those who wonder what is in his past that he hopes to hide and what things are in the present that he will not address?

    My students are not going to be led into drug use by ANY adult. They are pressured by their peers and, often, by the sadness of lives they wish to escape. Those who come through the horror of addiction emphasize the importance of honesty and are often willing to address their peers and younger youth about the path they followed down into darkness and back into light.

    To refrain from discussing one's past is like a country's refusing to acknowledge its history. I'm not talking about the idea of history's repeating itself but about the idea that if we, individually and as a country, don't know and cannot state where we've been, we can't really know where we're going.

    November 27, 2007 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
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