June 28, 2007

A Rooftop Doggycar to the White House

Justin Katz

There can't be any serious dispute that this is, well, odd:

Before beginning the [twelve-hour] drive, Mitt Romney put Seamus, the family's hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon's roof rack. He'd built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.

Then Romney put his boys on notice: He would be making predetermined stops for gas, and that was it.

The ride was largely what you'd expect with five brothers, ages 13 and under, packed into a wagon they called the ''white whale.''

As the oldest son, Tagg Romney commandeered the way-back of the wagon, keeping his eyes fixed out the rear window, where he glimpsed the first sign of trouble. ''Dad!'' he yelled. ''Gross!'' A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who'd been riding on the roof in the wind for hours.

As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management.

However, although one shouldn't presume to hold Ana Marie Cox to standards of fairness or, really, journalism, it's conspicuous that her mention of the incident fails to note for Time readers the custom-built doggy windshield or to clarify that the excrement release appears to have occurred only once during the entire trip. Whatever the case, any dog-owner with presidential ambitions would probably do well to ensure that his or her pet has prime seating on long car trips, preferably with access to a window through which to stick its head.

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Do you think we'll see Larry King interview Seamus in the near future?

Posted by: Andrew at June 28, 2007 11:25 PM

At least we'd have a break from the strip search questions ...

Posted by: SusanD at June 29, 2007 7:16 AM

You- you really don't think strapping an Irish setter to the roof of a car for a twelve-hour drive is cruel?

Posted by: mrh at June 29, 2007 8:50 AM

I consider it cruel and friggin STUPID. But there was no chance I was supporting Captain Flip-Flop anyways so it doesn't affect me.

Posted by: Greg at June 29, 2007 10:09 AM

What do Mitt Romney and a dog strapped to the roof of a fast-moving car for 12 hours have in common?
They're both full of ......

Posted by: Rhody at June 29, 2007 11:39 AM

Somehow I can't seem to shake the image from the movie vacation, with the mother-in-law's corpse strapped to the roof of the station wagon!

Posted by: Tom W at June 29, 2007 12:37 PM


The dog wasn't strapped to the car; the dog carrier was strapped to the car, with a custom windshield in front of it. It may be an irredeemable admission, but I don't have very strong feelings either way. At least without a more thorough description off the carrier.

Really, what do you find so self-evidently cruel? Being in a box at high speeds? What about a motorcycle sidecar; would that be cruel? Or maybe it's the length of time in the box. What about folks who bring their pets on airplanes?

I did say that it was odd, but then again, I also think it's odd to fixate on a single questionable incident with a family pet a quarter of a century ago.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 29, 2007 12:53 PM

if anything, shouldn't the media being talking about Jay Garrity, the campaign staffer of Romney who thinks he is a police officer.

Posted by: George at June 29, 2007 1:45 PM

ahh...yah....a little weird

Posted by: Anthony at June 29, 2007 2:56 PM

Willard certainly suffered a brain cramp that day, but I've seen worse: people who leave their dogs unleashed in the back of trucks, or sitting in the front street without any kind of strap or harness.These people truly have no regard for a dog's safety (or even their own). I usually strap mine in securely in the back seat - I don't need 100 pounds of golden retriever flying at me if I have to stop short.

Posted by: rhody at June 30, 2007 11:01 PM
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