Mitt Romney at Stanford in 1966

by Kyle Huwa on January 5, 2012

Let’s not forget, that Mitt Romney actually attended Stanford University for his freshman year of college. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is enough to motivate Stanford students to support him in the general election.

In 1966, Romney and some other students held a protest on campus, not in opposition to the Vietnam War, but in support of the draft. Though they’re probably being used against him today, the photos below show a conservative willing to go against the mainstream in an era when such a position was very unpopular, an admirable act in my mind:

(politico/buzzfeed)

 

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Adam January 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Is it admirable to support anti-protest the protestors? Is it admirable to do so if you are exempt from being drafted because of your religion? Is it OK to advocate for your peers to be sent to war when you can decline on religious grounds? Is it OK to advocate for your peers to be sent to war when you can be exempt due to your family’s political connections or wealth? Is it admirable, is it OK, is it right?

2 max January 10, 2012 at 1:54 pm

That’s a lot of rhetorical questions there Adam. The answer is Yes by the way; it is okay, admirable, and right to advocate the right message even if you don’t follow it. Is it OK for a racist to support giving black people equal treatment?

3 Jacob January 11, 2012 at 8:27 am

And I think it’s useful to know that Mormons aren’t exempt from the draft because of their religion, nor can they decline on religious grounds. However, this draft exempted ALL currently enrolled college students, so you could have made a better argument that way. Many Mormon leaders actually encouraged their youth to enlist or commission to fight the “evil of communism” and what not.

4 Ryan January 11, 2012 at 11:35 am

An admirable act would have been enlisting. He is just saying that he supports other people being killed while he himself is safe in college. What a scumbag, he just lost my vote.

5 Twist January 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm

What the hell guys HE USED HIS MORMON FAITH TO DEFER from this war. How can you support this Hypocritical stance

6 Twist January 14, 2012 at 6:29 pm

and yes it WAS HIS FAITH that got him defere through the church of latter day saints so Jacob you are wrong here sir

7 joe January 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm

According to the 1966 Gallup poll, people Romney’s presumed age were between 66% or 71% in favor of the Vietnam War. So, Mitt was not an outlier as was implied in this webpage.

quote:
” show a conservative willing to go against the mainstream in an era when such a position was very unpopular”

info from http://www.seanet.com/~jimxc/Politics/Mistakes/Vietnam_support.html

8 Mike January 23, 2012 at 7:32 am

Why does the headline say “1968″ but the article says “1966?” If he only attended Stanford for his freshman year, that seems a bit odd.

9 The Intermediary January 24, 2012 at 9:09 am

I’m not sure how protesting the tactics of sit in demonstrators can be equated with being “in support of the draft.” That’s what a liberal would say.

10 Lilian Rogers January 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm

The headline should say ’66, no? Because I don’t think he was still at Stanford in ’68.

11 J. Wrsk January 30, 2012 at 9:30 am

Did Mitt flunk out of Stanford?

12 J. Wrsk January 30, 2012 at 9:30 am

Did Mitt flunk out of Stanford?

13 Tim March 1, 2012 at 10:22 am

No he left for his 2.5 years Mormon missionary in France after his Freshman year at Stanford. After he came back he transferred to BYU to be with his wife Ann.

14 Scott May 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm

I noticed some of you claiming he used his religion – Mormonism – to claim exemption from the draft. This is not true. My dad was in college during the Vietnam war era, he was Mormon. Had he dropped out of college, my Dad could have been drafted. The same is probably true of Mitt Romney.

The things keeping Mitt out of Vietnam could include: college, money, political connections. NOT his religion.

15 Former Farmer May 10, 2012 at 10:50 am

My recollection, as a fellow member of Mitt’s 1965-66 freshman year at Stanford, is that, by the end of the school year, he had morphed into a long-haired freak and was dating the daughter of a professor. I believe his parents yanked him out of Stanford and sent him on his mission in order to straighten him out. Any others of same Stanford vintage who also have this recollection?

16 guy May 11, 2012 at 12:25 am

To do what daddy and mommy tell you to do when you are grown up is not going against the mainstream.

17 Timothy Unrine June 20, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Jacob – Here are the facts of 4-D Minister of Religion Deferments used by Mormons, like Mitty after he abandoned Stanford:

1. The Church determines who to submit for a 4-D Minister of Deferment to the draft board. At the start of the Vietnam Conflict – not war – 4-D were automatically granted to recognized/organized religions – Catholic, Lutherans, Baptists, Mormons, etc…..the smaller local churches the applications were reviewed before approval.

However, a lawsuit was filed which pointed out the Minister of Religions Deferments for almost all other religions were Seminary trained individuals, serving in a career position, versus 2 years for Mormon missionaries, and it usually was a small number in each state.

Mormons, it was pointed out, were submitted an over abundance of all their WHITE boys, of prime military age, for 4-D deferments. The result was a quota system that allowed only one deferment every six months per ward, per two deferments per year.

Mormons used these quotas only for WHITE MORMON MEN – black men were prohibited from being Ministers of Religion.

Romney enjoyed this WHITE ONLY policy to tour France as a Missionary, with visits from Daddy, and Ann signed up for a semester in a French University, and seen the Mormon Missionary Romney – working hard knocking whose door? Apparently Ann’s. door.

Just to correct your statement:

Jacob January 11, 2012 at 8:27 am

“And I think it’s useful to know that Mormons aren’t exempt from the draft because of their religion, nor can they decline on religious grounds. However, this draft exempted ALL currently enrolled college students, so you could have made a better argument that way. Many Mormon leaders actually encouraged their youth to enlist or commission to fight the “evil of communism” and what not.”

As to the statement that “Mormon leaders actually encouraged their youth to enlist, “in the court case, it was shown the Mormons were even approving Minister of Religion deferments for WHITE male youths who rarely attending church; but had a low draft number.

There were running jokes of “Mommy who was that going on mission, I never seen him?” “Shhhh, he had a low draft number, so he came back to church.”

WHITE MORMONS like Mitt could dodge the draft via Missionary work.

Black Mormons could pass out Books of Mormons to the VC – in English, the Vietnamese translations wasn’t done yet.

18 Timothy Unrine June 20, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Scott – you too are misinformed.

Your Dad would have had a college deferment.

Then, if he took a turn in life like Mitt, and left after one year, the college deferment ends, and he would have the option:

1. Wait out and play the Lottery you hope to lose.

2. Be a missionary with a 4-D Minister for Religion Deferment – one per ward per White Mormon boy, every six months.

**

19 Greg Beale July 2, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Mitt did not flunk out…he left. Mitt did not like Stanford…I spent many hours visiting with him in his Wilbur Hall Dorm Room…we all met there because he had a great stereo system. He talked about how homesick he was, we all did. He also talked about his worries about the draft if he left Stanford (in those days if you left a college for another one, you usually lost your deferment). That always bothered me, especially when he protest FOR the war. In fact, we argued about it. He explained that his Dad was running for President, so he had to support the war (remember it was 1965/66). What bothers me about Mitt, is his “I pinned to be with the guys in Vietnam” statement during one of his campaigns. Believe me, he did not pine to go to Vietnam, he used his Mormon Mission to avoid the draft (no problem with me on that one), but he is being disingenuous when he says otherwise. He never served, I ultimately did, in the reserves, because I got a low draft lottery number. I am a Stanford grad, class of 1969…yes that would be the class Mitt was in, the frosh class of 1965.

20 Patrick August 25, 2012 at 8:28 pm

So Mitt attened Stanford for a year knowing that he was go to do his normal 2 years of Missionary Work before he could attain a degree? Kinda Curious

21 Valerie September 16, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Ironic, considering his willingness now to criticize the actions of the American government in the midst of the crisis in the mid-east, asap, before even honoring the dead who fell there and well before those remaining have been fully brought to safety.

22 Steve October 20, 2012 at 2:13 am

I would correct one perspective from the story.
Mitt’s stance may have gone against the grain of some of his fellow students at the time, but this was not going against the mainstream.
In 1966, the conflict was still backed by most of the general public, so Romney wasn’t really going against the mainstream.
It was over the next two years, that the anti-war sentiment grew. By 1968, LBJ famously declared he may be losing the American public because Walter Cronkite was now out against it.
It makes sense the anti-war movement grew out of college and university campuses because it entailed an educated group of people who were affected by the unfair way the draft was being conducted.
Disproportionate numbers of the poor and minorities served in Vietnam, because they didn’t have the same educational opportunities, money, and/or political connections Mitt did to obtain deferments and exemptions.
One of the main tools university and college presidents often used to quell campus unrest was the threat of pulling such deferments and exemptions from students who caused trouble.
The sport-coated Romney would have represented students who never had to worry about such things.

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