Romney rejects Noem comparison: 'I didn't shoot my dog'

Mitt Romney Kristi Noem

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) pushed back on comparisons between the politically damaging dog stories that plagued both his and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s (R) potential bids for the White House.

During Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, a decades-old story about him tying his dog Seamus to the roof of his car on a family road trip became a political headache for the then-Republican candidate for the White House.

Now, more than a decade later, Noem faces a similar political firestorm that could doom her chances of being selected as former President Trump’s running mate in 2024. But Romney rejected the correlation.

“I didn’t eat my dog. I didn’t shoot my dog,” Romney said Tuesday in an interview with HuffPost. “I loved my dog, and my dog loved me,”

During his presidential campaign, the outgoing senator defended his decision in 1983 to strap his dog’s kennel to the roof of his car during a 12-hour road trip to Canada, despite the Irish setter suffering from diarrhea.

“This is a completely air-tight kennel and mounted on the top of our car,” Romney told Fox News at the time. “He climbed up there regularly, enjoyed himself. He was in a kennel at home, a great deal of time as well. We loved the dog. It was where he was comfortable and we had five kids inside the car.”

“My guess is he liked it a lot better in his kennel than he would have liked it inside,” Romney added.

Noem has faced a wave of criticism and mockery in political circles after reports surfaced about a story in her forthcoming book about how roughly 20 years ago, she shot and killed her 14-month-old German wirehaired pointer, Cricket, because of poor behavior and lack of hunting skills.

Following the news, Democratic governors began poking fun at the South Dakota governor, posting photos with their pups along with the caption: “Post a picture with your dog that doesn’t involve shooting them and throwing them in a gravel pit.”

Noem elaborated on the story in a social media post Sunday and has since tried to characterize the anecdote and her willingness to share it as a sign of her authenticity and willingness to make difficult choices.

Some have suggested that the reports have tanked her prospects of being Trump’s pick for vice president. Noem, a former congresswoman who won a second term as governor in 2022, had for months been considered among the top contenders.

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