Do a Google search on "Romney" -- as in Mitt Romney, Republican presidential
robot candidate -- and see what you get. I'll wait here.
OK, all set? What do you see? I'll tell you what I see from my search. The top two returns are for the candidate's official web site, mittromney.com.
But things quickly unravel from there. Google search return No. 3 (which would be far more appropriate as No. 2, as you'll soon find out), offers readers this:
Romney 1. To defecate in terror. 2. Former Governor Mitt Romney.1,218 people +1'd this
What the hell is that all about? (Or, as Mitt would say, "Gee whiz, what the heck is that about?") Does Mitt "lose it" under pressure?
Not quite. The reference is to a years-old story in which Romney and his family were embarking on a 12-hour drive for a vacation in 1983. Romney put the family dog in a crate and then strapped the crate to the roof of his vehicle!
The poor dog, Seamus, was terrified, despite the awesome "windscreen" that Romney devised to make the animal feel safe and comfy on top of the car going 60 MPH or more on highways from Boston to Canada. The Irish setter communicated its distress by pooping so much that one of Romney's sons noticed the fecal matter dripping down the back window.
Mitt solved the problem by pulling into a gas station, hosing down the poor dog, and then putting him back in the crate on top of the car! What a guy.
SpreadingRomney.com was launched by a guy named Jack Shepler about five weeks ago. It's a low-information site, containing only the "to defecate in terror" definition for the verb "Romney."
The site has generated 7,500 Facebook "likes," 1,200 Google+ "1s" and 2,071 tweets.
Shepler, a 28-year-old resident of Indianapolis, tells Rolling Stone:
"You can tell a lot about a person by how they treat animals. The man doesn't seem to have any empathy. The last person we want as president is a multi-millionaire with no empathy for his own dog, let alone people."
No argument here.
Romney's Google problem is similar to that of GOP presidential rival Rick Santorum. Google "Santorum" and you'll get as the third result ... well, feel free to check it out.
It doesn't end there for Mitt. When you type "Romney" into the Google search box, the top default phrase is "Romney dog". Click on that and the third return is "Dogs Against Romney."
The guy who first reported the Seamus story back in 2007 -- Neil Swidey of the Boston Globe (a former colleague of mine in a long-ago life) -- recently recounted how he got the story (from a close Romney family friend) and reflects on why the anecdote won't go away.