Mitt Romney: A Law and Order Prankster

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We know Mitt Romney loves to play pranks, and in yet another fun story about the candidate's teen years, The Daily Caller's Hal Libby tells us learn that he once impersonated a fireman, a story solidifies our sense that even as a mischief-maker, Romney is a square. Libby talked to Ben Shaw, a shop owner in Birmingham, Michigan, who recalled Romney's hijinks, including the time he heard a "loud banging" on his delivery door one Friday night as he prepared to close in 1962 or 1963. He opened it to find Romney (then 15 or 16) "in full Bloomfield Township fireman's regalia":

"He had on the waterproof cape, the fire helmet, and he was carrying a bona fide fire ax," Shaw told TheDC, and barged into the store screaming, "Where's the fire?  Where's the fire?"

The costumed Romney paraded through the store — all the while yelling about a nonexistent fire while swinging the ax over his head — and walked out the unlocked front door. And as quickly as he had barged in, he vanished.

Fun! Just your typical Friday night in Birmingham, Michigan! As the store owner in the Daily Caller story remembers one of his employees remarking after a Romney stunt, "What a crazy goofball"! It reminds us of news reported this month that Romney kept a Michigan state trooper's uniform on hand through high school and college. He once staged a prank with his two friends in which he put flashing lights on his car, pulled them over with their two dates, and found beer in their trunks. He then asked his friends to get in his car and drove away, leaving the dates alone.

Romney's spokesperson goes to minor, funny lengths to question certain facts in The Daily Caller story: Romney carried a fire hose, not an ax according to the spokesperson but the story doesn't exactly pivot on the specific props Romney wielded. What unites both of these stories is that Romney's pranks seem focused on actually upholding order -- putting out fires, arresting kids with beer -- not undermining it. Even Romney's most notably harmful prank -- the incident during which he reportedly pinned down and cut the long hair off one of his classmates -- was motivated by maintaining his sense of order. "He can't look like that. That's wrong. Just look at him!" Romney reportedly told a friend according to The Washington Post's Jason Horowitz. Even at his alleged naughtiest, Romney was apparently supporting the status quo.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.