5 Classmates Of Romney In H.S. Recall Bullying Incident

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(CNN) - One day after President Obama came out in favor of same-sex marriage; it wasn't Mr. Obama doing the most damage control Friday.  Instead it was Mitt Romney, after an account from his high school days forced him to offer an apology.

Jim Acosta has the story.

Five of Mitt Romney’s former high school classmates all told the Washington Post the same story.  

In 1965 at the elite Cranbrook Prep School in Michigan those classmates say Romney and a group of his friends tackled and cut the hair of a fellow student who was rumored to be gay. The alleged victim of the bullying incident according to the post's account cried and screamed for help.

Within minutes of going up on the newspaper's web site, the story blew up on twitter.

The Democratic Party tweeted out a quote from one of the classmates mentioned in the article who said "it was vicious."

"I played a lot of pranks in high school and they described some that and well you say to yourself back in high school. I did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, well obviously I apologize."  

In a radio interview, Romney said he didn't recall the incident but he did remember the classmate who was allegedly bullied.  

"I certainly don't believe that I, or I can't speak for other people of course, thought the fellow was homosexual. That, that was the furthest thing from our minds back in the 1960s."  

The story from Romney’s past emerged less than a day after the president announced his support for same sex marriage when the GOP contender seemed reluctant to pounce on the controversy.

"This is a very tender and sensitive topic, as are many social issues."

In an interview with a Denver TV station, Romney got testy with a reporter who had pressed him on the same sex marriage issue.

"Aren't there issues of significance that you'd like to talk about?  The economy? The growth of jobs? "

That may be because it's not 2004, when many pundits say John Kerry lost the presidency in the state of Ohio where a same-sex marriage amendment drew scores of Christian conservatives to the polls, handing George W. Bush a second term.

Ohio put its amendment on the ballot after the Massachusetts Supreme Court that ruled in favor of gay marriage.

Ironically, when Romney was governor.

But attitudes have changed.

Back then 55 percent of Americans said same-sex marriage should not be legal.  

The public is more split today.

While President Obama’s comments may cost him support among independents.

"He is going to lose, I think, a few Reagan democrats in Ohio and Pennsylvania and Michigan and North Carolina, working class white males.

But consider how quickly house speaker John Boehner changed the subject back to the economy, 14 seconds.

"I believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and the President and the Democrats can talk about all this all they want but the fact is that the American people are focused on our economy and they're asking the question, 'Where are the jobs?'"

Both campaigns appear ready to move on. The Obama campaign put out a rash of new ads today that focus on the economy.  The Romney campaign is talking up Mrs. Romney who's got an op-ed out on the virtues of motherhood. Jim Acosta CNN Washington

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