Revelations of high school pranks and possible bullying had presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney apologizing Thursday.
(Image source: ABC/Yearbook Library ) BY CHRISTINA HARTMAN Revelations of high school pranks and possible bullying had presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney apologizing Thursday. It started with this Washington Post story . The paper talked with former boarding school classmates of the candidate — who said he bullied a student presumed to be gay. “John Lauber … was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.” The story goes on to say Romney’s friend helped pin Lauber down as the candidate, then a teenager, forcibly cut Lauber’s hair with a pair of scissors. Questioned about the story — Romney says he remembers Lauber, but he doesn’t remember the particular incident. Still — he apologized quote “if anybody was hurt by that or offended.” He also said he’s a very different person now than he was in high school. That wasn’t enough for critics. Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse tweeted ... "One of the biggest conversations we're having in this country is about the bullying of kids in school. Romney was a bully as an 18 year old.” But in a visit to MSNBC , senior Romney campaign adviser Ed Gillespie says, the story doesn’t sound like the Romney he knows. “Governor Romney doesn't remember that incident at all. It's understandable. It was high school. People who know Governor Romney and know him and his family know that he is a caring, compassionate person.” Anchors for KTTV are divided — with one saying she’s not buying it when Romney says he doesn’t remember it. WOMAN: “He could have done it then. Because usually you’d say, absolutely not true. I wouldn’t have done that.” MAN: “This is such a stupid thing to come up 40 years later, I mean geez.” Speaking of timing — The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein suggests there’s a reason the candidate had to address the story. “...with the story suggesting latent homophobia in an adolescent Romney ... the piece reverberated. … Clearly, social issues are posing a problem for Romney.” Stein points out — it was just Wednesday President Obama announced a personal endorsement of gay marriage in an interview with ABC . Romney told Fox News Radio he never thought Lauber was gay. Romney’s campaign called the stories “exaggerated and off base.”