The Romney campaign has vowed not to tell the story of Romney’s chance meeting with the late Glen Doherty anymore, as Doherty’s mother objected to it publicly. Romney related a tale of meeting the “impressive” young man at a Christmas party, on the trail Tuesday. Doherty was killed in the attacks on the Benghazi consulate in Libya last month.
Mitt Romney’s campaign said today he will stop citing his meeting with a former Navy Seal killed in last month’s terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya after the victim’s mother protested his use of her son’s death.
“He shouldn’t make my son’s death part of his political agenda. It’s wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama,” said Barbara Doherty, the mother of the slain Navy Seal Glen Doherty.
She added, “I don’t trust Romney.”
You can watch the clip, in which Romney doesn’t use Doherty’s name, and decide if that’s what he was doing, but the campaign is of course right to respect her wishes. I know it’s impossible for me to post a moment from a presidential candidate without political implications, but truly, what’s striking about this story is the remarkable coincidence that led Mitt Romney to have had a personal encounter with Doherty, who ended up at the tragic center of this story this month. From a pure human interest angle, it’s fascinating, and clearly told with respect and in good faith by Romney:
For what it’s worth, I hope Romney’s short-lived mention of the circumstances of Doherty’s death, in which he was going above and beyond to serve and save others, leads to a wider understanding of his heroism.
In comments that have gotten far less coverage, the mother of former SEAL Tyrone Woods, also killed that day in Benghazi, took to her Facebook page to object to the administration’s handling of the investigation of the attack:
Don’t want to ever politicize the loss of my son in Libya, but it has been 16 days and the FBI has yet to get to Benghazi to begin their investigation. Apparently they have made it to Tripoli but haven’t been allowed to enter Benghazi. Meanwhile, the diplomatic outpost where Tyrone and Glen died, was not and is not secured. Absolutely unacceptable.
Jane Horton began crying on the other end of the phone when she learned that Mitt Romney had been using the story of her husband, Chris Horton, who was killed in Afghanistan, as a part of his stump speech.
“Wow,” the 26-year-old said. “I had no idea.
“To be honest, I’ve been through a lot and I’m not a super emotional person but it brings me to tears,” Horton said in an interview with ABC News, after being informed of her husband’s newfound spot on the national stage. “Not that he’s telling my story, but that he’s telling my husband’s story, it means the world to me.
And, the quote Romney should put on his bathroom mirror for inspiration:
“One of the last things my husband said to me before he was killed, when I would ask him, ‘Chris, what do you need over there? What can I send you?’ he said, ‘I need a new president,'” Horton recalled.
Her husband had done some work in the Oklahoma Romney office in 2008, and Romney tracked Jane down in 2011 after he heard of his death, sending her a hand-written note. The two wrote back and forth several times:
They first spoke when Romney wrote her a handwritten letter after Chris was killed. It was Oct. 1, 2011, Horton said, re-reading the letter as she spoke, remembering that she was shocked Romney had put two and two together — that one of his many staffers had been killed and he’d figured out a way to find his wife.
A few months later, Horton still touched by Romney’s outreach and thinking about her husband’s support of the candidate, decided to send the candidate his name tape — the part of a soldier’s uniform that displays his last name.
Jane, who I had the privilege of meeting at the Republican National Convention when she was serving as an Oklahoma delegate, calls it the “greatest honor” that Romney is getting out the story of her husband, which is exactly what he would have wanted.