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Joe Conason
Joe Conason
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Did Young Romney Impersonate a Police Officer? Another Witness Says Yes


When Mitt Romney was a college freshman, he told fellow residents of his Stanford University dormitory that he sometimes disguised himself as a police officer — a crime in many states, including Michigan and California, where he then lived. And he had the uniform on display as proof.

So recalls Robin Madden, who had also just arrived as a freshman, the startling incident began when Romney called him and two or three other residents into his room, saying, "Come up, I want to show you something." When they entered Romney's room, "and laid out on his bed was a Michigan State Trooper's uniform."

Madden, a native Texan who graduated from Stanford in 1970 and went on to become a successful television producer and writer, has never forgotten that strange moment, which he has recounted to friends over the years as he observed his former classmate's political ascent. The National Memo learned of the incident from a longtime Madden friend to whom he had mentioned it years ago.

Said Madden in a recent interview, "He told us that he had gotten the uniform from his father," George Romney, then the governor of Michigan, whose security detail was staffed by uniformed troopers. "He told us that he was using it to pull over drivers on the road. He also had a red flashing light that he would attach to the top of his white Rambler."

In Madden's recollection, confirmed by his wife Susan, who also attended Stanford during those years, "we thought it was all pretty weird. We all thought, 'Wow, that's pretty creepy.' And after that, we didn't have much interaction with him," although both Madden and Romney were prep school boys living in the same dorm, called Rinconada.

Other eyewitnesses have previously recalled Romney's alleged use of a police or trooper uniform in pranks during his high school years at the exclusive Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Phillip Maxwell, a prep school buddy, told the New Republic in 2008 that Romney had pulled over students from a girls school next door to Cranbrook while wearing a police uniform as a prank. Other former classmates described Mitt as a "happy-go-lucky guy known less for his achievements and more for his pranks."

In "The Real Romney," a biography published by Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman this year, another former friend recalled how Romney had "put a siren on top of his car and chased two of his friends who were driving around with their dates." The two friends were in on the scheme, but the girls were not. There was beer in the car trunk, according to a prearranged plan. Mitt told his two counterparts to get out of their vehicle and into his car. Then they drove off, leaving the girls behind.

"It was a terrible thing to do," said one of his accomplices, a Cranbrook classmate named Graham McDonald.

To some observers, Romney's alleged masquerading as a cop to intimidate innocent drivers shows a character defect that is also revealed by other bullying incidents during his youth. When those incidents were disclosed in The Washington Post earlier this year, Romney issued an apology of sorts, stating that he had done "stupid" things and was sorry if he had harmed anyone.

While he may have believed that his cop antics were harmless, Romney may well have been breaking the law merely by donning a police uniform, committing a crime if he pretended to be a cop and a felony if he did so more than once. In both California and Michigan, any person convicted of fraudulently impersonating a police officer may be sentenced to up to one year in prison.

The Romney campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Following his sophomore year at Stanford, young Mitt left and never went back. For more than two years, he served as a Mormon missionary in France — thus avoiding the obligation to wear a very different uniform in Vietnam.

With reporting by Kyle Roerink.

Joe Conason is the editor in chief of To find out more about Joe Conason, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



4 Comments | Post Comment
Conason was born in '54, making him eligible to serve in the Vietnam war's last year. Did he serve, or avoid that "obligation"? Funny, I recall more young people at that time calling it an "obligation" to protest, not serve in the war. Show us those medals, Joe.

What a vile and disgusting little man Conason is, spending time investigating the little incidents of youth and drawing permanent conclusion from them. Well, Joe, why don't you complete your Gomer Pyle imitation by arresting Romney for impersonating an officer back in, what, 1969? You can scream "Citizen's arrest! Citizen's arrest!" Do it in both Michigan and California. Go on, do it! You can't look sillier than you already appear. C'mon!

Too bad there is no statute of limitations on stupid, we could lock Conason away and toss the key.

Character assassination is a personality defect not so obvious to this vile little man.

Find something real, or shut up.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Tom
Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:13 AM
Given the choice between a candidate who may have impersonated a police officer 45 years ago and one who's currently impersonating a president, I think the choice is pretty clear.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Jeff Gunn
Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:28 PM
In President Obamas book ,he states he spent the the last 2 years of high school getting high with the boys at the beach and dealt some too! as far as I can tell he never served in any military! your beating up on Romney for some pranks and missionary work!! What a hypocrite.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Jan vitanza
Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:00 PM
I get the feeling that David Axelrod dictates everything that this pathetic, partisan hack Conason writes. Conason should go to jail for impersonating a writer.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Thetruth
Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:43 AM
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