WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney pushed back against a report that he had bullied a closeted gay classmate in prep school by insisting that the student's sexuality wasn't a factor because Romney couldn't have known or suspected it.
"First of all, I had no idea what that individual's sexual orientation might be," Romney told Fox News' Neil Cavuto Thursday afternoon, in response to a Washington Post story about his prankster days at the prestigious Cranbrook School. "Going back to the 1960s, that wasn't something we all discussed or considered. So that's simply just not accurate."
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"That was the furthest thing from my mind back in the 1960s," he said of the student's sexual orientation, during a sit-down on Fox host Brian Kilmeade's radio show.
Homosexuality was discussed less openly a half-century ago. Certainly it didn't engender the type of political debate it would in later decades. But the idea that it wasn't on people's minds in the 60s isn't true. The Huffington Post conducted a rudimentary search of newspaper archives from the era and came away with thousands of results, a sampling of which are below.
A March 14, 1961, letter to Ann Landers from a Detroit resident, asserting that he had stopped being gay with psychiatric treatment:
At 16 I realized something was "wrong" with me. Our family doctor, a wonderfully understanding man, persuaded my parents that I should have intensive psychiatric treatment. Today I am happily married and content. I was never the effeminate type so I was able to discuss the subject freely with other males. I learned that the men whose condemnation is most violent, the ones who are least tolerant of homosexuals, are not quite sure of their own masculinity.