Today we look at three rumors revolving around Mitt Romney in the 2012 election, including a Romney-Ryan baseball cap with “Made in China” tags that made the rounds during the election.
Rumor 1: Romney-Ryan Caps Made in China
The caps in the photos appear real, but they weren’t official Romney-Ryan caps.
The Romney-Ryan website only offered two baseball caps – both of them in dark blue with lighter blue text. This would mean that the caps in the photos were likely produced independently. The caps on the campaign website were described as “American-made” and “made proudly in the USA” respectively.
Let’s take a look at the photos which circulated in late 2012. First we have a tan cap with a “Made in China” logo.
Next is a blue cap with “President 2012” in red letters.
Neither of the caps above are sold by the official Romney-Ryan store, both of which can be seen below.
There is a lot of unofficial merchandise out there for both campaigns, so it’s not fair to either candidate to blame him for unofficial “Made in China” products that he didn’t endorse.
Rumor 2: Did Mitt Romney Misspell His Name “RMoney” With Childrens’ Shirts?
A photo purportedly showed Mitt Romney arranging children wearing shirts on his behalf, and misspelling “Romney” into “RMoney.”
Some captions snidely called this a “Freudian Slip” eluding to Romney’s vast wealth. While it probably would make an entertaining story if it were true, in this case it is merely a quick photo manipulation. Someone merely switched the letters “R” and “O” on the shirts to alter the spelling.
It should be noted that those are not Mitt Romney’s children, as some have mistakenly claimed. He has five adult sons. This photo was published by the AP and taken on February 3, 2012 at a campaign stop in Elko, Nevada, as seen in this news report. The children are from the “Fisher Family” and apparently the shirts were their idea.
Below are the fake photo and the real photo.
Rumor 3: Romney Used a KKK Slogan
Rumors that Mitt Romney re-used the KKK slogan “Keep America American” circulated online around September 2012.
The controversy began when Mitt Romney used the phrase “Keep America America” which was misquoted in the press to be “Keep America American.” This is in fact a slogan associated with the KKK. In a campaign ad, Romney can be heard saying:
We will stop these power seekers where they stand. We will keep America America by retaining its character as the land of opportunity.
View this statement in the video below, at about the 15-second mark:
There is more than one side to this argument. Sites such as Americablog.com claimed that “Romney used the phrase at least twice, and it is an old Ku Klux Klan slogan.” It further argues that if the GOP can imply that President Obama is a socialist, then they can imply that Romney is a racist.
While there are two sides to every argument, what is interesting here is that both sides back up their claims by the same piece of information, that of Romney using the phrase “Keep America America” and not “Keep America American,” which was the KKK slogan in question. Detractors will claim that the sentiment is the same despite the small difference, and perhaps Romney actually used the exact KKK quote and merely denied it later. Those calling it a hoax will point out that Romney’s campaign slogan is not either version of the phrase in question, but “Believe in America.” They also point out that the phrases are in fact different, albeit slightly.
Alas, it comes down to interpretation. People will interpret this however they wish, and both sides will be able to argue their side with some facts. While it appears clear to this writer that Mitt Romney said, “Keep America America” it can be debated how close to the KKK theme the sentiment really is, and what that even means in either incarnation.
Nevertheless, it’s hard to fathom that Mitt Romney would have committed political suicide by knowingly quoting the KKK. That said, accusations of Mormonism being racist along with the fact that he faced an African-American president only highlighted racist overtones by some during the 2012 election cycle.
You may want to read this article from 2011 which discussed the issue, and took a look at other groups who used the “Keep America American” slogan.
“Keep America America”
The Mitt Romney version of “Keep America America” can be found in countless literature, such as the 1949 “New York Legislative Documents, Volume 4” in which it is written, “But today The American Legion is challenged as it has never been challenged before as a force in our own country to protect America, to protect the basic concepts of America, and to keep America America.” Another example is the Michigan Courthouse Review, volumes 14-15 (1951) in which we read, “As you can easily see, we must participate to keep America, America.”
“Keep America American”
This quote does appear in the KKK publication Why You Should Become a Klansman: Of Interest to White, Protestant, Native-born Americans who Want to Keep America American (1924). But we can go back further and find this in the religious text The Winchester centennial, 1803-1903 in which it is written, “But we who have studied the land of late years must have felt that we come to a greater, a more vital crisis, in these doubtful times in which it is still uncertain whether we can keep America American, true to the principles on which her life was begun, to which it was rededicated when the Union was preserved.”
We have included but a few instances of the above quotes in other literature to demonstrate that they are not exclusive to any individual or organization.
Neither of these slogans belongs solely to Mitt Romney or the KKK, and in fact both have been used by many people in many situations over many years. Mitt Romney did not use the exact KKK quote, although the meaning of the two slogans side by side are open to interpretation and debate. He used a quote similar to the KKK slogan. The similar KKK slogan “Keep America American” has been used in the past by other organizations, dating back to the 1800s.