Santorum Team Doggedly Resurrects Romney’s Seamus Tale

Mar 19, 2012 2:43pm

Seamus the Irish setter may have died years ago, but the now-infamous story of his rooftop ride  has been more firmly cemented into the narrative of the 2012 campaign than his retaliatory excrement was plastered to the back window of the Romney family station wagon during that fateful trip 20 years ago.

The Santorum campaign has referenced Mitt Romney’s treatment of his dog Seamus four times over the past week as an anecdote that purportedly calls into question the former governor’s character.

“Well, you know, the family dog is one [that] resonates with some people,” Santorum spokeswoman Alice Stewart said on MSNBC today. “If you can’t be nice to your dog, who are you going to be nice to?”

The story of Romney exiling his family dog to a kennel strapped to the roof of his car during a 12-hour road trip was first reported by the Boston Globe during Romney’s first White House bid in 2007. But the tale has gained a new life this cycle, inspiring “Dogs Against Romney” protests, anti-Romney web ads and even New Yorker magazine cover art. 

While Stewart’s Seamus reference came in response to a direct question about Romney’s dog, another member of the Santorum campaign referenced Seamus on his own accord last week.

“I’m not sure I’m going to listen to a value judgment of a guy who strapped his own dog on the top of a car and went hurling down the highway,” Santorum adviser John Brabender said on CNN last week, responding to Romney’s recent comments that Santorum is “at the desperate end of his campaign.”

Brabender returned to the topic the following day during an interview on MSNBC.

“I sit there like every other American and say, ‘What the heck was he thinking, putting the dog on the top of the roof?’” Brabender said.

According to Santorum, the way Romney treated his dog should be an issue in the campaign.

“As far as Seamus the dog, look, all I would say is, you know, the issues of character are important in this election,” Santorum told ABC’s Jonathan Karl Sunday on “This Week.” “We need to look at all those issues and make a determination as to whether that’s the kind of person you want to be president of the United States.”

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