Mitt Romney doesn't like to apologize. He even named his book No Apologies! But even the most dogged apology-haters are forced by the laws of polite society and the gaffe police to say they're sorry every once in a while. Romney went through the horrible torture of apologizing to a woman last week, after her restaurant hosted an event for Romney but Romney didn't take time to meet her. But his apology technique was flawed, delivered in the "make fun of the person you're apologizing to" style, which you can really only get away with until about 5th grade, even then only with the most indulgent parents.
Romney held a roundtable with Iowa voters in the Main Street Cafe of Council Bluffs Friday. After the Des Moines Register reported Bauer said some of her stuff was broken and she didn't even get to meet the candidate, Romney personally called from his plane. Crisis averted. But in a follow-up interview with KPTM's Nicole Ebat, Bauer said the apology wasn't very nice.
"Stuff got broke. My table cloths they just got ripped off, wadded up and thrown in the back room," [Bauer says]...
That's when Romney called Bauer himself. She says he explained that it was just a misunderstanding that she did not get to meet him, but the phone call didn't smooth things over for her.
"He responded 'well, I'm sorry your table cloths got ripped off, wadded up and thrown in the back room' and I took it as mocking," she said. "We're the ones he's wanting to get the votes from, you'd think we would have been treated better."
Despite the title of his book, Romney does apologize sometimes. But going through his track record on apologies, it's clear there are some things Romney is more likely to apologize for: breaks in social decorum. The things he won't apologize for? Anything related to his social status -- or civil liberties.
Apologies Romney Has Made
For saying 'tar baby.' In July 2006, Romney used the racist term -- and in fairness, a lot of northerners don't know it's racist -- to describe an infrastructure project. "The best thing for me to do politically is stay away from the Big Dig -- just get as far away from that tar baby as I possibly can," Romney said. Eric Fehrnstrom, who's still his aide, told reporters, The governor was describing a sticky situation. He was unaware that some people find the term objectionable, and he's sorry if anyone was offended."
For cussing at a teenager. An 18-year-old volunteer at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, which Romney managed, said that Romney f-bombed him during a traffic jam in February 2002. Romney claimed he only said "H-E-double-hockey-sticks," but he apologized to the kid. A witness said Romney said, "I feel bad that I lost my temper."
For being mean in high school. When the Washington Post reported that Romney had held down a weird kid and cut off his weird hair in high school, Romney's campaign quickly set up an interview with Fox News. Romney explained, "I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school, and some might have gone too far, and for that I apologize."
For a sex joke about Ted Kennedy. In 2003, reported asked Romney's aide about sexual harassment charges against Arnold Schwarzenegger, the aide responded, "The governor heard rumors similar to these about his opponent during his first campaign and never once sought to make an issue of them." Romney, who ran against Kennedy in 1994, called the senator, telling reporters, "I think it was a mistake to [in] any way associate Senator Kennedy with the allegations relating to the Schwarzenegger campaign in California and expressed my real concern and my belief that this was a real mistake… I apologize."
For not wearing a seat belt. In May 2007, the Today show's Matt Lauer interviewed Romney in a car while they rode around New Hampshire. Neither wore seat belts. Jon Corzine had recently been in a terrible car accident and wasn't wearing his seat belt. "Sometimes I forget to wear my seat belt. For my own safety, I need to keep reminding myself to buckle up," Romney said in a statement.
Apologies Romney Demands
For calling Bush's foreign policy arrogant. In December 2007, Romney demanded his Republican primary opponent Mike Huckabee apologize for saying the then-president had an "arrogant" foreign policy. "That's an insult to the president, and Mike Huckabee should apologize to the president," Romney said on Meet the Press. Huckabee did not apologize.
For energy policy. Obama "should have apologized for his policies" on energy, Romney said in March.
For calling Romney anti-immigrant. At a January debate, Romney demanded an apology from Newt Gingrich for an ad calling Romney anti-immigrant. "I think you should apologize for it, and I think you should recognize that having differences of opinions on issues does not justify labeling people with highly-charged epithets," Romney said.
Apologies Romney Refused to Make
For all his money. "Guess what? I made a lot of money. I’ve been very successful. I’m not going to apologize for that," Romney told Fox in March.
For all his dad's money. "I'm certainly not going to apologize for my dad and his success in life," Romney said in April. President Obama had commented that he "wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth."
For saying mosques should be wiretapped. In September 2005, a Muslim organization demanded Romney apologize for saying, "How many individuals are coming to our state and going to those institutions who've come from terrorist-sponsored states?… How about people in settings, mosques for instance, that may be teaching doctrines of hate and terror? Are we monitoring that? Are we wiretapping?" Romney did not apologize, saying, "When it comes to protecting our citizens, there is no place for political correctness."
Apologies Romney Does Not Approve of
For American foreign policy. "I take issue with President Obama's recent tour of apology," Romney said in June 2009. "It's not because America hasn't made mistakes — we have — but because America's mistakes are overwhelmed by what America has meant to the hopes and aspirations of people throughout the world."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.