Afternoon Open Thread: Did Mitt Romney Lie About His 1968 Car Crash?Posted: August 14, 2012 Filed under: Mitt Romney, U.S. Politics | Tags: Bernos-Beaulac, Bishop Jean Vilnet, Citroen DS, France, head-on collision, Mormon mission 28 Comments
Joseph Cannon has a fascinating piece up on the car crash that Mitt Romney was involved in when he was a Mormon missionary in France in the 1960s. (Thanks to RalphB for sending me over to Cannonfire this morning.) Here’s Cannon’s brief summary of the events in question:
In 1968, Romney was a Mormon missionary in France, zooming his Citroen through the small town of Bernos-Beaulac, when he slammed headlong into a car driven by a Bishop named Jean Vilnet.
Romney was in a coma for days afterwards, or so he says. (The point has been disputed.) One of his passengers died — and therein lies a scandal.
For many years, Mitt claimed that the accident killed a drunken priest named Albert Marie, who had caused the collision by swerving at high speed into Romney’s lane. That story was not true. The “priest” did not die, was not drunk, was not traveling at high speed, and was not at fault.
For what it’s worth, the “priest” was then, and is now, a bishop; his name is not Albert Marie. Although Mitt Romney spoke French well, he apparently didn’t understand how nomenclature works in France: The final part of a male first name may be a traditionally female name, attached with a hyphen — and in religious families, that name is usually Marie. As it happens, the full name of the man Romney hit is Jean-Félix-Albert-Marie Vilnet.
A woman died in the crash, Leola Anderson. She was the wife of Duane Anderson, Romney’s superior in the Paris mission. Romney had been tasked with driving his boss and the other passengers to another mission where Duane Anderson was needed to solve a crisis.
Please read the whole post at Cannonfire if you can. Cannon provides a number of links, which I followed. This one provides the most evidence for Romney lying about the accident. The author argues, based on photographic evidence, that the accident could not have occurred as Romney described it.
Details from Mr. Romney and his supporters are not consistent with photographic evidence and follow up interviews. A view of the impact site tells us the rest of the story:
— The cover story has the driver of the other car presented as a “drunk priest” identified by the various missionary sources with the name “Albert Marie, age 46” in 1968 and in 2007 said to be dead.
Contrary to the cover up tale he is Bishop Jean Vilnet. Full name: Bishop Jean-Félix-Albert-Marie Vilnet. Born in 1922. By American count that did make him 46.
[The photo above] was taken as he recovered from his injuries in the hospital at Bazas, up the road from Beaulac. He was driving the Mercedes Benz 180 in this accident. He is not dead, not yet anyway. He was not blamed by anyone in a responsible position for the accident. That blame was invented (as “woven from whole cloth” in legal parlance) by the missionary team.
— The cover story asserts further that this “drunk priest” was speeding at “120 kph” and swerved out of lane to hit the blameless Mr. Romney. This is the story that was told to the children of Mrs. Anderson all the way back in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
At this link, there is a photo of a Citroen DS just like the one Romney was driving. This one was actually in a high-speed, head-on collision.
The author of the post writes:
Romney was driving at normal highway speed. He has said repeatedly that he did not hit his brakes. If the Mercedes 180 had been going normal highway speed (much less the alleged “120 kph” claim), then Romney’s Citroën DS would have been annihilated — all six of the people in the Citroën would have been killed.
Given that we are analyzing a collision, the fact that Bishop Vilnet had slowed down entering the southbound Left Turn lane — from N524 into Rue de la Poste — that slowing down is what saved their lives. The accident described in Romney’s false-witness tale and now echoed in Wikipedia is physically impossible.
This article from Le Monde repeats the Romney version of the accident, but contains quotes from a couple who were in the car with Romney during the accident as saying they have been asked not to comment about the events that took place back in 1968.
More than 40 years later, André and Paulette Salarnier, French Mormons who often cooked “coq au vin” and mushroom-stuffed crepes for the young Romney, say they received several emails from the candidate’s entourage asking them to no longer speak to reporters about the 1968 accident.
They just remember “an open and charming young man speaking French almost without an accent.” André Salarnier also makes sure to prevent any backlash regarding his famous “coq au vin,” a dish that could be forbidden to water-drinking Mormons and shatter Romney’s image as a pious Mormon: “The wine being cooked, it no longer contains alcohol.” A way to stop anyone from thinking that “Young Mitt” may have been corrupted by the French and their famous Bordeaux vintages.
Many thanks to Joseph Cannon for digging up another great story about Mitt Romney. I’m not sure if there is any way to actually prove that Mitt lied about the accident, but it would certainly be in character with what we know about his incessant lying during the presidential campaign. So what do you think?
Again, this is an open thread.
A Daily Kos diary that Cannon links to–very complicated but interesting info.
That was really hard to follow. What did you get out of the Kos link?
It’s a little weird. The guy is claiming that the Romney people have scrubbed things from the internet and trying to back that up by giving examples of dishonesty by Romney about his place of residence when he wanted to run for Governor of MA. It was obvious that his official residence was in Utah, but he claimed he spent lots of time in MA because he was still CEO of Bain. Then when it became inconvenient, he changed his story and claimed he quit Bain in 1999.
It’s not really evidence of dishonesty when he was 21, but I can believe that George Romney would have wanted to cover up his son causing a fatal accident. The best evidence is the fact that the other driver is still alive and the photos that show the accident happened at slow speeds. IMO, scrubbing things from the internet is common though. Obama certainly did it in 2008.
None of this will ever make it into the mainstream–even if it did, no one would believe it. It’s just an interesting story about Romney’s past and the ways he alters it.
Thanks, I just got off work, and had had a glass of wine. I thought I was losing my mind.
LOL! It took me awhile to figure out Joseph Cannon’s post.
Lying for the Lord in Mormonism
Lying and dishonesty seem to be a hallmark of politicians and Presidents in particular. The Mormons have a lot more secrets than that secret handshake to enter the temple and all the other cult rules. It isn’t surprising that the Mormons are taught to lie — by sidestepping or flat out denying something that should be obvious. There are enough honest exMormons who are willing to endure all manner of harsh treatment from family and friends to expose the dark underbelly of the LDS — that we know that Romney will do whatever it takes to elevate himself into the White House. He already has the lying and flip flopping down to an art form.
BUT — 40% of voters do not know Romney is a Mormon. Most people believe Mormons are Christians — which Mormons can’t be in truth because they have a completely alternative mythology. If Mormons are Christians than the Native Hawaiian (pre Captain Cook) are Christians.
Sure on the surface Mormons are really nice people (they want more converts) but there is that dark side — the cult mentality.
In Utah the LDS churches are very distinctive — even without huge signs the cookie cutter same same design is evident. It is through these churches that the cult controls the members. Knowledge is control and the leadership has knowledge of everyone of its members. (This bit of information was from Mormon friends — anyone who acts differently is given “special” attention.)
What a creepy sect. I had no idea about lying for the lord – one of many looney Mormon beliefs. The “lying is OK” dovetails nicely with Republican “ends justify the means” modus operandi.
It is creepy–it’s more like Scientology than any other religion I can think of.
The video is funny. Obama does not sound like a worried man to me.
Obama hits Romney on Seamus
Romney campaign accuses Biden of using racial code words. Talk about projection!
Love me some Sam Cook…………….that’s the sound of the man working on a chain gang……..
Oh no BB, leave
Sarah PalinMitt Romney and Paul Ryan alone.
You may be hunted by a bunch of stalker who have nothing better to do with their lives than to throw bile toward anyone who doesn’t have irrational hatred for Obama.
I take it you checked the trash? It’s filled with nastiness.
Actually I haven’t. I can only imagine.
You know how the Intertubz are: You follow a link and you land in some sewer.
First we were reviled for choosing Hillary over Obama, now we’re reviled for facing the reality that Obama isn’t as bad as what the Republicans have in store for us.
“First we were reviled for choosing Hillary over Obama, now we’re reviled for facing the reality that Obama isn’t as bad as what the Republicans have in store for us.”
I think we’re being reviled for not being Obama hate zombies and for having the courage to say we’re not going to be ratfucked by them again. In 2008 I could, with a clear conscience, cast my protest vote against Obama,because I knew that John McCain and/or most 3rd party candidates weren’t going to take our country over the wing-nut cliff, But those days are gone, forever.
Romney is a weirdo who gives me the creeps and Ryan is scarey AynRandoid kook. There is only one sane choice if you don’t want these guys to win, Obama/Biden.
David A. Stockman / New York Times:
Paul Ryan’s Fairy-Tale Budget Plan
Just for the heck of it. The young people in this ad are a very nice touch.
Talk about your “lily white ass”.
It’s not really that uncommon in the Southwest and Mountain West for Republicans to run a second Democrat or, more often a Green, as a stalking horse to split the vote. It’s pretty obvious that’s what is happening with this Sternad guy.
No one would have done this only a year or so ago.
LGF: Racist freak objects to black grocery sacker, gets thrown out, files suit.
This fat douche nozzle still amazes me.
Imani Gandy: Rush Limbaugh Goes So Godwin that ‘Going Godwin’ Now to Be Called ‘Going Limbaugh’