And with this, a silly snafu turns officially stupid. There’s no question George Romney was sympathetic to King and the civil-rights movement; there’s also no question that Mitt never literally saw them marching together, or that he himself never marched alongside MLK notwithstanding what he said in 1978. So what does this prove either way except that the two men may once in fact have been at the same rally at the same time? Nothing. Welcome to Election ’08.

Shirley Basore, 72, says she was sitting in the hairdresser’s chair in wealthy Grosse Pointe, Mich., back in 1963 when a rumpus started and she discovered that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and her governor, George Romney, were marching for civil rights — right past the window.

With the cape still around her neck, Basore went outside and joined the parade.

“They were hand in hand,” recalled Basore, a former high-school English teacher. “They led the march. We all swung our hands, and they held their hands up above everybody else’s.”…

Another witness, Ashby Richardson, 64, of Massachusetts gave the campaign a similar account.

“I’m just appalled that the news picks this stuff up and say it didn’t happen,” Richardson, now a data-collection consultant, said by phone. “The press is being disingenuous in terms of reporting what actually happened. I remember it vividly. I was only 15 or 20 feet from where both of them were.”

Note to Mitt: How about we forget all about this little mishap in exchange for you keeping those obscenity laws on ice if you’re elected, hm?

Update: Heh. Indeed.

Romney seems to have suffered from politicians’ disease, where it’s not enough to report that something happened, you have to report it in a way that puts you in the story. Trouble is, he wasn’t in the story. Is that a big deal? Not really, I guess. But it was an unforced error at a crucial time and it underscores the feeling a lot of people have that Romney’s just a bit too airbrushed to be true.