Image via AP

Mitt Romney, a six-foot-two oil slick with teeth, is back on the political scene, running for Orrin Hatch’s Senate seat in Utah. But in my mind, no matter what he does, I will always be thinking of Romney in the context of the 2008 presidential election, when we found out about his dog Seamus.

In the summer of 2007, The Boston Globe published “Journeys of a shared life,” by Neil Swidey and Stephanie Ebbert, the kind of “humanizing” profile we always see when a new election cycle kicks into full-gear. The story included what must have initially seemed like an anecdote that spoke to Romney’s character, but would actually come to dog his political career and invade the deepest recesses of America’s consciousness for all eternity:

Before beginning the 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.

You are certainly free to think that the takeaway from Romney’s handling of this little bout of canine gastric imbalance is his “emotion-free crisis management,” but it does not change the fact that Mitt Romney put his dog on the roof of his car and then the dog shit so much that it rained down like hellfire around the Romney children. Ethics of making your dog riding on the roof of your car aside, it is funny, to me at least, to hear about this shit.

That is what most people remember about the Seamus story, including myself—until recently. Knowing that our man Mitt was back in the news, and being the dedicated journalist and editor that I am, I sought to refresh myself on the details and contours of this story. This lead me to the Wikipedia entry for “Mitt Romney dog incident,” a truly incredible document of depravity, political myopia, and rudeness.

One consequence of a resource like Wikipedia is, that in attempting to write in affectless prose, the internet’s encyclopedia can come across as more sardonic and deadpan than anyone probably intends. I don’t know if it’s just because my mind has been raided of its sanity by our president’s tweets, but I find Wikipedia’s clinical rendering of this story extremely funny:

In June 1983, the Romney family left their Belmont, Massachusetts home on their way to Romney’s parents’ cottage in Beach O’Pines, Ontario for an annual vacation along the shore of Lake Huron. Seamus rode in a carrier on the roof of the family’s Chevrolet Caprice station wagon for the 12 hour trip. Romney had built a windshield for the carrier to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.[1] During the 650-mile (1,050 km) trip, Seamus got diarrhea. Romney stopped at a gas station to wash the dog, the carrier and the car. With Seamus back in the carrier, the family continued on their way.[1][2]

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“During the 650-mile (1,050 km) trip, Seamus got diarrhea.” Did he!

Now I will draw your attention to the “Family response” section of this entry, in which we are reminded of Diane Sawyer, in 2012, five years after The Boston Globe first published their story revealing something that had happened 24 years prior, asking Mitt and Ann Romney, again, if they regretted the time their dog shit all over their car:

When interviewed by Chris Wallace of Fox News, Romney stated that Seamus enjoyed being in the dog carrier, an “air-tight kennel”, and that he was not aware of any violations of Massachusetts law;[8] the state’s animal cruelty laws prohibit anyone from carrying an animal “in or upon a vehicle, or otherwise, in an unnecessarily cruel or inhuman manner.”[9] Ann Romney, Mitt Romney’s wife, has stated that the news media exaggerated the severity of the incident, and compared traveling in the roof-top dog carrier to riding a motorcycle or riding in the bed of a pickup truck.[5] During an April 2012 interview with ABC News, Diane Sawyer asked Mitt Romney about the Seamus story and if he would ever do it again. Romney replied, “Certainly not with the attention it’s received”, after which Sawyer stated, “You said it was the most wounding thing in the campaign so far”, although it’s ambiguous whether Romney agreed with this statement. During the same interview, Ann Romney stated that Seamus got diarrhea from eating turkey off the table before the trip and that the dog loved the crate.[10][11] Romney stated that he loved his dog.[12]

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Romney stated that he loved his dog.[12]

Romney stated that he loved his dog.[12]

Romney stated that he loved his dog.[12]

Romney stated that he loved his dog.[12]

Romney stated that he loved his dog.[12]

Romney stated that he loved his dog.[12]

Romney stated that he loved his dog.[12]

Romney stated that he loved his dog.[12]

Romney stated that he loved his dog.[12]

Romney stated that he loved his dog.[12]

That this sentence exists—and is cited!is objectively funny and legitimately stupid. Anyway, best of luck to Mitt, I can’t wait for someone to ask him about this again.