If Mitt Romney was a jerk as a kid, should voters care?

A story that casts a young Romney as intolerant and without basic empathy for someone who may have been gay is unfortunate the day after Barack Obama made the most empathetic statement in support of gay rights ever made by a sitting president. Right now Romney is the bully who gangs up on another student in an unfair fight. He is Biff, and as parents we teach our kids to root for McFly.

But Romney could take back his origins. A transformative moment in a person’s life or personal history can clean one’s slate and let one emerge as a different person. And Romney may have one. A year later, at 19, Romney was a missionary in France. He was involved in a searing car crash that by his own admission deepened his faith and changed his outlook on life. A near-death experience and a coma will do that to you. It would explain why there is no analog for the behavior described in the Post story. Romney and his team might consider having him tell that story again soon.