Seeking to quell ongoing criticism over the presumptive GOP nominee’s decision to make the family pooch ride in a dog kennel strapped to the roof of the family station wagon during a 12-hour trip, Ann Romney said Monday that “the dog loved it.”
“He would see that crate and, you know, he would, like, go crazy because he was going with us on vacation,” Mrs. Romney told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview. “It was to me a kinder thing to bring him along than to leave him in the kennel for two weeks.”
While Mitt Romney has brushed off his treatment of Seamus before, Scott Crider, the founder of Dogs Against Romney, said Ann Romney’s defense of the dog-on-the-roof story was even more of a “disappointment.”
Crider said Mrs. Romney “failed” at humanizing her husband and instead “sided on the side of transporting a dog on the roof of a car.”
“What they did was inhumane,” Crider said. “It’s irresponsible pet ownership.”
When asked on Monday if they would do it again, the Romneys chuckled before Mitt said “certainly not with the attention it’s received.”
Seamus was the second most asked question by online Yahoo users leading up to the interview, Sawyer pointed out.
Mrs. Romney said it was “crazy” how much attention the story got during both Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign, when the Boston Globe first reported it, and again during his current White House bid.
The day after the ABC interview with the Romneys, the “Dogs Against Romney” Facebook group, which Crider started in 2007, added its 48,000th fan.
“I think it matters to people,” said Crider. “Everyone understands that how someone treats their pet and what they do when nobody’s watching speaks to their character.”
“How is this guy going to solve our economic problems when he possibly has a total lack of empathy?” Crider added.
While the Seamus incident happened more than 20 years ago and the Irish setter is now dead, Bob Bannon, a senior advisor for the “Mitt is Mean” political action committee, said the story is still relevant today because, he said, “It’s a metaphor for how he treats public policy problems.”
“He’s indifferent, he’s insensitive, he doesn’t care,” Bannon said. “He comes across as a cold-blooded corporate CEO.”
Bannon said his group expects to raise $1 million to put up web ads portraying the Seamus scandal as a Romney character flaw, a flaw that he says will continue to be highlighted throughout the general election.
“It’s an issue with legs,” Bannon said. “In this case four legs.”