ABC News’ Emily Friedman, Emily Stanitz and Steven Portnoy report:
One of Mitt Romney’s closest friends and a high school classmate has been asked by the Romney campaign to come out and offer “supporting remarks” in defense of the candidate following a Washington Post article that described pranks at the Cranbrook School in the 1960s that focused on a student who was “presumed” to be gay. Romney has denied that the pranks were targeted.
Romney’s older brother Scott called White, asking him to act as a surrogate for Romney on their high school years.
White, in an interview with ABC News, said that he is “still debating” whether he will help the campaign, remarking, “It’s been a long time since we’ve been pals.” While the Post reports White as having “long been bothered” by the haircutting incident,” he told ABC News he was not present for the prank, in which Romney is said to have forcefully cut a student’s long hair and was not aware of it until this year when he was contacted by the Washington Post.
According to White, he knows of several other classmates that have also been approached by the campaign to counter the article. White declined to name the fellow classmates.
Romney often mentions White on the campaign trail as the friend who threw the party where Romney met his wife Ann, whom he has now been married to for more than 43 years.
One former classmate and old friend of Romney’s – who refused to be identified by name – said there are “a lot of guys” who went to Cranbrook who have “really negative memories” of Romney’s behavior in the dorms, behavior this classmate describes as “like Lord of the Flies.”
The classmate believes Romney is lying when he claims to not remember it.
“It makes these fellows [who have owned up to it] very remorseful. For [Romney] not to remember it? It doesn’t ring true. How could the fellow with the scissors forget it?” the former classmate said.
In a radio interview Thursday morning, Romney offered an apology for the pranks, but said that “homosexuality” was never on his mind.
“I’m not going to be too concerned about their piece they talk about the fact that I played a lot of pranks in high school and they describe some that well you just say to yourself, back in high school well I did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended obviously I apologize but overall high school years were a long time ago,” said Romney in the radio interview Thursday.
This post has been updated numerous times to add context and quotes.