THE PLANK AUGUST 21, 2007
Over at Swampland, Karen Tumulty notes that although Cambridge, MA, was one of the first "sanctuary cities," Mitt Romney fails to mention it along with Newark, New York, and San Francisco in his new immigration radio ad. Tumulty's implication is that Romney's being hypocritical by not mentioning a sanctuary city in his own backyard. But, in Romney's semi-defense, he's more than willing to talk smack about Cambridge--even when the smack talk is undeserved.
On more than one occasion, I've heard Romney on the stump in New Hampshire talk about a tragicomic experience one of his gubernatorial aides once had at a Babies R Us. As Romney told the story at an event in Dover a couple months ago:
I was dismayed when my deputy chief of staff when I was governor said that he'd gone to the Babies R Us to register his wife for a baby shower, this was in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the clerk behind the counter said, "Okay, I'm filling out the form here, what's your name sir?" And he said, "My name's Peter Flaherty." And then she said, "And what's your girlfriend's name?" And he said, "I don't have a girlfriend." And she said, "Well, who's having the baby then?" And he said, "My wife!" "Oh, your wife?!"
The story always seems to draw some laughs and some tut-tutting from social conservatives in New Hampshire--in part, no doubt, because the story is set in the liberal enclave of Cambridge (or the People's Republic of Cambridge, as some folks call it). But, while I don't doubt Romney's story is broadly true, there is one problem with it: according to the Babies R Us website, there is no Babies R Us in Cambridge. I guess setting the story in Braintree doesn't pack the same culturally conservative punch.
Update: Romney press secretary Eric Fehrnstrom emails me to say:
The store absolutely was in Cambridge on Alewife Brook Parkway in the Fresh Pond Shopping Center.
It is now closed down.
This happened several years ago.
It might have been a Babies R Us registry within the Toys R Us store but that is where it happened.
According to this website, it does indeed appear that there once was a Toys R Us in the Fresh Pond Shopping Center. My apologies to Romney for the mistake.