Ann Romney, wife of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, says that despite once falling ill, the family dog Seamus "loved" trips strapped to the roof of the family's station wagon.
Ann told ABC's Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview that Seamus, an Irish Setter, loved his 1983 trip from Boston to a summer cottage in Ontario Canada inside a dog carrier strapped to the top of the family's Chevrolet.
The story of what most dog lovers consider an ordeal for the animal has been a constant source of embarrassment to Romney's campaign as critics point to it as evidence that he is uncaring.
According to ABC, Ann said: “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. It was to me a kinder thing to bring him along than to leave him in the kennel for two weeks.”
Mitt Romney, during the interview, admitted that the Seamus attacks have been the most damaging for his campaign so far, but his wife defended the decision to strap the dog atop the car by insisting that the dog actually enjoyed it. Seamus is now long deceased, and while the dog's treatment has inspired a campaign group called "Dog Lovers Against Romney," Romney's admirers, according to Daily Mail, have argued that the incident showed that he is a "pragmatic problem-solver willing to use unorthodox methods to get results."
An unpleasant aspect of the Seamus story that Ann confirmed is that during the 1983 trip, the dog became sick and defecated over the windshield of the car. Romney, according to his wife, hosed the dog and the car, and the family continued the trip to Canada. Ann Romney explained: “Once, he — we traveled all the time — and he ate the turkey on the counter. I mean, he had the runs."
NY Magazine, critical of Ann's assertion that Seamus "loved" being tied to the car roof on long trips, comments sarcastically: "Well why didn't Ann Romney just say so earlier? It turns out the outrage over the treatment of Seamus the Irish setter is misguided: The Romney family dog, who got strapped to the roof of the family car in an air-tight crate for a twelve hour road trip in 1983, during which he defecated all over himself and on the windshield, thoroughly enjoyed the experience!"
According to NY Magazine, when Sawyer asked Romney whether he would repeat what he did, he answered quickly, "Certainly not with the attention it's received."
NY Magazine comments critically that it seems that for Romney, the "attention" is all that makes the difference, and that were it not for his "political ambition" he would probably repeat it or perhaps tie and "drag the dog behind the car."
Daily Mail notes that a recent Washington/ABC News poll showed that just 35 percent of voters have a favorable impression of Romney, with 47 percent having an unfavorable impression of him. According to Daily Mail, this is a record low for a GOP presidential candidate at this early stage of the campaign.
Obama, on the other hand, has 56 percent of voters favoring him and 40 percent having an unfavorable view of him.