Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mitt Romney lied to the family of the woman he killed (Updated)

Did you know that Mitt Romney drove a car into a vehicle driven by a Catholic Bishop? Did you know that one of Romney's passengers died? And did you know that Romney has lied about the incident ever since?

This little-known scandal deserves far more attention than it has so far received.

In 1968, Romney was a Mormon missionary in France, zooming his Citroen through the small town of Bernos-Beaulac, when he slammed headlong into a car driven by a Bishop named Jean Vilnet.

Romney was in a coma for days afterwards, or so he says. (The point has been disputed.) One of his passengers died -- and therein lies a scandal.

For many years, Mitt claimed that the accident killed a drunken priest named Albert Marie, who had caused the collision by swerving at high speed into Romney's lane. That story was not true. The "priest" did not die, was not drunk, was not traveling at high speed, and was not at fault.

For what it's worth, the "priest" was then, and is now, a bishop; his name is not Albert Marie. Although Mitt Romney spoke French well, he apparently didn't understand how nomenclature works in France: The final part of a male first name may be a traditionally female name, attached with a hyphen -- and in religious families, that name is usually Marie. As it happens, the full name of the man Romney hit is Jean-Félix-Albert-Marie Vilnet.

Bishop Vilnet, who was at the Second Vatican Council, is still alive at the age of 90. The injuries he suffered in 1968 were not life threatening. (He drove a very sturdy Mercedes.)

So why would Romney later claim to have killed a priest? He knows full well that he did no such thing.

Moreover, the authorities established that Vilnet was not drunk at the time.
Bishop Vilnet, then 46 years old by American count, was not drunk, not speeding, and not out of his own lane.  He was driving along and Romney hit him.

That 1968 accident took place when Mitt Romney ignored painted roadway lines and went head-on into an on-coming left turn lane, opposite the post office at Beaulac, France. Concrete traffic separators were added later on.

Thanks to Google Earth, we can see the crime scene, which has not changed significantly since 1968. In the above "street view" photo, the truck happens to be in the spot where Romney made his unfathomably sharp turn. Even without the traffic separators, it's hard to imagine how a sober driver could go so severely off course.

Romney claimed that the "priest" was going 120 kilometers per hour on a "mountain road." In fact, the Bishop was either stopped or coming to a stop in a left-hand turn lane.The photo of Vilnet's Mercedes indicates a head-on collision; he was not turning.

As noted above, someone did die in that crash: A woman named Leola Anderson, a passenger in Romney's overcrowded vehicle. She wore no seat belt. Her family believed Romney's lie about the drunk priest who didn't live to take any questions.

Let that sink in: Romney lied to the children and the husband of a dead woman. (Duane Anderson was seriously injured in the crash. He may have had little idea as to how it happened.) In order to save his own ass, Romney told a whopper to grieving survivors.
Investigation finds an astonishing cover up story. NY Times, Wash Post, Guardian, Boston Globe -- all present closely fit versions of this tale in their archives. Photographs there are mislabeled. Names are incorrect. The initial description of the roadway and the impact are inaccurate. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney asserted in 2007 that the other driver, whom we now know was Bishop Vilnet, was prosecuted.

None of it holds up.
It should be noted that in 1968, Mitt Romney's father, George Romney, had presidential aspirations. True, Nixon had sewn up the nomination by the summer of 1968; however, if the Democrat had prevailed in that year's general election, George Romney would have been considered the likeliest Republican nominee in 1972. (Back then, Reagan seemed too far to the right. Different times!)

Forty years later, other survivors in the car were told by the 2008 Romney campaign not to speak to reporters about what they saw that day. For a full (but somewhat confusing) account of the continuing cover up, see here.

Right-wing apologists attempting to explain away this incident ("Hey, at this late date, who knows what really happened...?") cannot escape one key fact: Bishop Vilnet is still alive, even though Romney said that the man died. There is no possible way Romney could ever have been mistaken on that point. The only possible reason for telling such a lie would be to escape blame for the death of Leola Anderson. Romney hoped to pin the blame on a dead man, even though the man wasn't really dead.

The obvious comparison goes to Chappaquiddick. How many books have been written about Ted Kennedy's accident? Most of those books were filled with lies and half-truths. The worst of the lot is Leo Damore's obnoxious concoction, published (but of course!) by Regnery -- with help from the despicable Lucianne Goldberg

Yet Kennedy always took full responsibility for the events of that night.

"But that's different!" I can hear some of you saying. "Kennedy was drunk!"

No, he wasn't. No-one who saw him that night claimed that he was inebriated. You've been brainwashed by decades of right-wing propaganda. Unlike Romney, Kennedy drove at night on an unlit road and did not see a turn (unmarked by reflectors or barriers). Everyone on the island knew the turn onto the bridge to be dangerous; residents thought that an accident was just a matter of time.

Romney's accident, by contrast, was just bizarre. Was he drunk when he drove headlong into Bishop Vilnet's Mercedes? I don't know. Given Romney's Mormon heritage, alcohol use seems an unlikely explanation -- but the accident itself remains very strange.

Ted Kennedy manned up: He took full responsibility. He never told a single lie about the tragedy. Mitt Romney, too cowardly to take responsibility, falsely blamed a "dead" cleric.

Kennedy was haunted for the rest of his political life by the ghost of Mary Jo Kopechne. Yet I doubt that anyone will ever ask Mitt Romney why he lied to the family of Leola Anderson. No-one will ask him why he tried to blame a "drunk" priest, who was not drunk and who did not die. If any journalist ever does dare to question Romney about this matter, you know damned well that Fox News and Rush Limbaugh will go into fits of apoplexy. Reporters are allowed to ask such questions only of Democrats.

Conservatives may remake the past; liberals have no such privilege.

For decades, political hit man have screamed about a cover up at Chappaquiddick. There was none. (And please don't think you can take me to school about that incident.) Mitt Romney, however, provably lied about his culpability in the vehicular death of Leola Anderson.

He lied.

Update: A reader has passed along a link to a NYT story from 2007 that would seem to confirm Romney's version. The writer, Michael Paulson, did the kind of digging I didn't expect, although he is imprecise about sourcing.
The driver of the car that hit Romney, according to an account in a local newspaper at the time, was a 46-year-old man, Albert Marie, from Sireuil. Marie, according to French Mormons who responded to the accident, was a Catholic priest; in an interview this spring, a priest at the parish in Sireuil confirmed that the church's former pastor, now deceased, was Albert Marie. Many of the Mormons familiar with the accident say they believe that the priest was inebriated at the time of the crash but that assertion could not be confirmed.

The priest was traveling with his mother, Marie-Antoinette Marie, and a 48-year-old woman, Marguerite Longué, neither of whom could be located.
Normally, the NYT would cite a specific publication and date, so that's a bit of a red flag right there. Still, I'm impressed by the level of detail. On the other hand, we have an actual photo of the injured Bishop recovering in the hospital, taken around the same time.

Someone is telling a very, very elaborate lie. I'm going to get to the bottom of this. I hope.


  1. Anonymous4:01 AM

    The 9/11 Widows called Condi "KindaLiesaLot Rice".

  2. He lies! A lot!
    He's electable!

  3. Anonymous11:33 AM

    Nixon was a liar, but an accomplished liar. His Mother used to call him on his bullshit, making it necessary for him to improve the quality of his prevarication.

    Mitt is a bad liar, because he's been surrounded by tacit enablers from day One. In fact, he's never had to improve on any of his virtues. He's perfect; as is.


  4. Anonymous12:32 PM

    Have you seen this Joe?


  5. FYI, on the chance you don't already know, Daniel Hopsicker posted a link to this story on Facebook.

  6. Mr. Mike1:01 PM

    There has to be records somewhere. The French police wouldn't take a fatality caused by an American lightly.

  7. Anonymous1:49 PM

    I doubt it will have any impact. I will bet that the biggest bang for buck would be had running adverts publicising the story about him tieing his dog to the roof of the car.

    The dog lovers will all become Dems for this election.


  8. amspirnational2:13 PM

    Mitt Romney is no knd of conservative.

    Eric Holder distracts with cries of "hate crime against Sikhs" while
    ensuring that Goldman Sachs goes GS makes big donation to O!

    Equal opportunity corruption, that's what the Demopub Elite represents.

  9. Anonymous3:18 PM

    Actually, the statement that Kennedy gave to police the next day is chock full of lies and cover up. He claimed that that he was on an unfamiliar road, but this was on Martha's Vineyard where the family spent lots of time. In the very same sentence about an"unfamiliar road" he gives specifics about the road (i.e. names, distances, directions) It is only half way through his statement does he even mention that a female passenger was in the car with him.

  10. Anonymous3:58 PM

    Got anything more authoritative than a Dkos post?

    How was that POI determined? Where is the official police report? Statements of eyewitnesses?

    This is really weak.


  11. Some of you guys are hilarious, especially the Anonymous Coward who thinks he knows about Chappaquiddick. The right-wing propaganda never stops.

    Dexter, YOU'RE really weak. It's not difficult to find Mitt's official version online. He really did say that the accident killed a priest named Albert Marie. And the guy is still alive. He has long been a beloved figure in that part of France. The story is well-known. There are photos of him in the hospital.

    You just can't argue your way out of the fact that Romney and his team lied. HIS OWN PUFF PIECES prove the point.

    There is only one conceivable reason for him to lie about such a thing, and you know it.

  12. Mr. Mike11:26 PM

    The reason Willard lied about the priest?

    How about to gain creds with his Salt Lake City homies because he offed a Papist?

    A drunk one at that, because all Morons know Catholic Priests are drunken child molesters.

  13. Uh, Mike...I don't think that's it.

    An odd thought just popped into my skull. Suppose Mitt really believes (or believed) that he offed a priest?

    He was in a coma for a couple of days. Let's say he woke up with amnesia covering the accident (not unlikely). When he wakes up, he sees Dad, or someone who works for Dad. "Kid, the good news is you're gonna be okay. The bad news is, the guy in the other car died. It wasn't your fault. He swerved right into your lane..."

    Whaddaya think? Too Hollywood...?

  14. Anonymous12:44 AM

    Romney, who was seriously injured in the crash and was momentarily feared dead, has long said there was nothing he could have done to avoid the tragedy.

    Interviews with survivors and people who were directly involved in the accident's aftermath largely confirm his description. "Mitt was not in any way at fault," said Richard B. "Andy" Anderson, a son of Leola Anderson, who at the time of the accident was 27, attending graduate school at Harvard and living in Belmont. Anderson, who now lives in Kaysville, Utah, said he has gotten to know Romney in a variety of church roles over the years, and considers him to be a friend. "If I had any reason to think he was in the slightest degree at fault ..." The accident took place on a curving, two-lane highway in southern France in an area that, at the time, was rife with car crashes. In fact, Romney had passed another car accident on the same road, just before the collision. And France at the time was a notoriously dangerous place to drive.

    The driver of the car that hit Romney, according to an account in a local newspaper at the time, was a 46-year-old man, Albert Marie, from Sireuil. Marie, according to French Mormons who responded to the accident, was a Catholic priest; in an interview this spring, a priest at the parish in Sireuil confirmed that the church's former pastor, now deceased, was Albert Marie. Many of the Mormons familiar with the accident say they believe that the priest was inebriated at the time of the crash but that assertion could not be confirmed.


  15. This is pure horseshit, Dexter. Jean Vilnet was the victim; there is a photo of him healing in the hospital.

  16. prowlerzee2:34 AM

    Shades of Laura Bush...who ran a stop sign and killed her ex-boyfriend. This, like GW's drunk driving accidents, were simply not discussed...can you imagine if these incidents had involved the Clintons instead of the Bushes?

    Also shades of Morning Joe, who lied about his congressional aide, Lori Klausutis, who was murdered. He made up health problems Lori never suffered from...he made these pre-emptive calls to dampen speculation, and then got the family all riled up against the press who "made up" stuff. It never occurred to the family that having health problems is not salacious, so the media would have no motive to invent stories like that. Nor did it occur to them to check the source of these stories. I asked the journalists taken in by Congressman Scarborough's lies why that wasn't a story and they laughed and said congressmen fed them lies all the time.

    Incidentally, Joe Scar was so inept at lying, making up specific easily refuted "health problems" like diabetes, that his press secretary had to take over, keeping the purported problems more vague.

  17. Well, Dexter -- sorry for the outburst. I shouldn't be so hot tempered; you passed along an important article. I'll inquire. We'll see who is correct -- the photo of Vilnet or the NYT.

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Zee, that NYT account has me concerned. There's serious rat-play at work here: Either the Times was fed a seriously wrong story, with lots of convincing details, or a bunch of newer writers are promulgating a seriously wrong story with convincing details -- including photos.

    Right now, the photos back up the anti-Mitt story. But -- well, let's wait and let certain things play out.

  20. Mr. Mike8:17 AM

    Wow! Just Wow!

    That NYT article Dexter posted is so like the level of journalism we've come to expect from that fish wrap.

    The son exonerating Willard living in Belmont, MA at the time?

    French Morons who responded to the accident accuse the priest of DUI?

    What, the Morons got their own ambulance service that they could get in the way of the French EMTs?

    Remember this is the paper that parroted every ludicrous charge dick Cheney made about Saddam Husein and WMDs. The paper whose Op-Ed columnist Maureen Dowd wasn't above putting made up quotes in John Kerry's mouth to ensure Bush the Lesser's re-election.

    Joe, somebody might be rat fucking on the Anti-Mitt side but the NYT isn't the best rebuttal for it.

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Well, Mike, what bothers me is the additional info about "Albert Marie." It seems persuasive. But without a proper citation, we can't be sure.

    So I think the first step is to find out if such a priest existed. Since the article provides enough information to track down his diocese...well, the next course of action was obvious.

    Boy, is my French rusty!

  23. Anonymous11:35 AM

    Suppose Mitt really believes (or believed) that he offed a priest?

    Given a head injury that led to a coma, Romney could very well be operating on belief in second hand accounts that he cannot confirm or deny from first hand knowledge.

    That is, he could be as much a victim of the coverup (although its beneficiary) as all others.

    That's a fair point, but a disappointing one to me as an opponent of Romney's current bid.


  24. prowlerzee11:56 AM

    There's a definite aroma of rat, Joseph. I was thinking that with foreign names there is always the possibility that some one might get the priests or priest/bishop mixed up. The NYT would do some digging to back up their story, but they could've been sent down a wrong path. The line that sticks out to me is the one about the church confirming the "pastor was deceased." OK, but did they confirm how he died? Why would the writer not say "confirmed the priest died in a car accident?" That is the angle I'd follow first, if you plan to contact the writer of the article.

    Also, Mitt could've been deliberately misinformed by cooler calculating heads in the aftermath of the accident. I will say that if that incident didn't stay with him and haunt him and he hasn't talked about it, there's a possibility all the humanity has been bred out of him. To put it mildly.

  25. Anonymous8:39 PM

    Are there links to where Romney claimed to have killed the priest in the accident? I couldn't find that anywhere.

  26. Anonymous8:56 PM

    I'm not getting this, the link you gave:

    Mentions nothing about Romney? How are you tying this guy on wiki back to Romney?

  27. Mr. Mike11:05 PM

    More thoughts on the Romney accident.

    How far away is the Moron community and temple from the scene of the accident?

    What about the police and hospital, how far did they have to travel?

    Who got there first?

    Did Citroens made for domestic production have seat belts?

    What about the Mercedes?

    Remember there were no cell phones back then so they would have had to call from a private house or the post office.

    How far into the intersection did the accident occur?

    All of the above should have been by the NYT staff instead they were stenographers.

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. Well, I don't yet know if "stenography" is a fair charge. The records probably no longer exist. Everything depends on the contemproary news accounts. That is why I am bothered by the lack of a proper citation in the NYT article. The piece contains information which could only come from a news clip -- but standard scholarship would dictate identification of that clip.

  30. Anon, I didn't say that the wiki page mentioned Romney. It establishes that Vilnet is still alive and has long been a well-known and respected figure in France.

  31. Anonymous7:14 AM

    What I am trying to figure out is how you tied Vilnet back to Romney other than the Dailykos article? I will have to look at this again because apparently I am missing something here. The only place I see Vilnet tied to Romney is here and on a few other blogs. No where in the mainstream news. Not even on his wiki page. If he was believed to be tied to Romney, certainly it would be on his wiki page??? If you put Romney and Vilnet into a search engine you basically get doodoo... nothing. What's going on?


  32. I'm waiting for people to get back to me. Unfortunately, I can't subpoena anyone to answer me.

  33. Anonymous8:15 AM

    Occupy Security set a MMOG crew on this scandal early on. The Salarnier photos of the two cars showed that there had been no highway-speed collision. The radiator of that Mercedes 180 was pushed in about 18 inches, though the flimsy Citroen DS did start start to come apart. Then visual inspection of the crash scene belied the claims of a "mountain road" and failing to pass a truck. (Unnamed and imaginary local witnesses and a bogus Sud Quest story had further misinformed the 2007 press investigations. Big stakes here as selling the 1968 Big Lie was essential to run Romney for president.)

    Salarnier's photo of Bishop Jean Vilnet in the Bazas hospital was identified in France. Vilnet is famous for a priest. He had stood up for Bishop Jacques Gaillot when he was dismissed as Bishop of Evreux for pressing a gospel of hope for the poor and others he called "outcasts" including AIDS patients. "The church should be for the outcast, not a church that casts people out." Vilnet's call for a conference of the French bishops put an end to Vatican actions. It also ended his advancement within the church.

    Salarnier and Vilnet spoke that day and both remembered the friendly conversation later.


    This image is mislabeled in the Boston Globe article that is quoted in NY Times and elsewhere. Mr. Anderson suffered eight broken ribs and was not about to sit up for a photo. Salarnier's photos of him depict severe facial edema.

    Several priests' names included "Albert Marie." The closest other match would have been Bishop Albert-Marie Joseph Cyrille de Monléon. Immediately it was determined that he was not the man in the photo. Efforts had to go out to wedding pictures to get representative photos of Bishop Vilnet from this period. Amazing how the folders in the usual archives had been cleaned out, considering that this man was president of the Council of Bishops of France through most of the 1980s.

    Romney claimed in 2007 that his imaginary "Albert Marie" had died. He made no such claim in 1968. One of his helper bees, David Wood, claimed to the reporters in 2007 that he had "received a settlement" from this priest; we have no report on what Wood said in 1968.

    Finally, when analyzing the accident site, keep in mind that the white concrete traffic separators were installed after the accident. The roadway in 1968 was only marked with painted white lines. There was no blue-and-white arrow sign to direct northbound traffic to stay on the far right side.

    Romney came up to the Rue de la Poste intersection in the middle of a conversation with his car mates. If for example a truck had slowed down ahead of him -- as required to make the 110% right turn -- then the careless Mitt Romney could easily have imagined that the southbound Left Turn lane was a continuation of his own northbound lane.

    He did not slow down -- the aggressive decision that killed Mrs. Anderson. Overall, this anti-Catholic cover-up tale has been told to Mormon missionaries for decades. "Bad drunk Catholic priest killed nice Mormon lady, known to her kids as 'Mammy.'" The effect is bit like saying that Ted Kennedy was drunk at the Chappaquiddick disaster -- non-drinkers damn the perp automatically. No one before OccSec went to ground seeking the truth.

  34. Anonymous, I'm very grateful for all of this. But can we have some specific citations? For example, who was it...exactly...who identified Vilnet as the victim, and how do we know for certain that the injuries sustained in that hospital photo occurred during that crash?

    That's my problem with the NYT story -- no cites; nothing we can check.

    I've written to the diocese which "Albert Marie" called home. I'm just looking for some verification of his existence.

    The diocese has not responded. The lack of a reply is, in itself, a bit odd. My French is awful, but I am sure that my letter of inquiry was comprehensible.

  35. Anonymous10:11 AM

    I asked a French friend about the police destroying records. The answer is yes and no. Explanation-for some things, yes, if it is insignificant. But nobody in France believes it. That's how they got many WWII collaborators. There are always records kept someplace or some kind of trail to follow. Especially with a fatal accident, there would be some kind of paper trail. However, the story in the NYTimes and Boston Globe (same company) and Washington post all say the same thing - the car going north was the one veering into the lane of the other car - Romney was the one traveling north from Pau to Bordeaux.

  36. Anonymous1:46 PM

    To continue, there is a way, but it appears limited. In order to get information about things like accidents, medical records, etc. you have to go through CNIL. They are the only official intermediary for the public. But you have to be the person involved in order to request it, or a lawyer appointed by you, to make the request. However, there are so many things that don't make sense about this. I was studying in France in 1969 and the only way I could call home was through the Post Office. I had to wait six hours for the call to go through to my parents. The phone system at that time was very unreliable and most homes didn't have phones. If Bertin Feral went to the post office next to the accident, why did he call the Salarniers in Talence and not the police and ambulances? The post office employees would have automatically done that with an accident of this magnitude right in front of their eyes. All the pictures are taken by André Salarnier and copyrighted by him. There are hundreds of his copyrighted photos on the net, so he must be some kind of professional photographer as well as having been the preacher in Talence (Bordeaux suburb) where the Mormons were then. Bythe way his phone number is 02 23 16 20 57 he lives in St.Pierre de Plesguen.

  37. Anonymous, could you write to me? I'm going to try to get to the bottom of this, but I need more information -- and frankly, I think you are presuming that I know more than I do.

    For example, I think you are the same anonymous person who said that the NYT relied upon a fake story attributed to "Sud Quest" -- which is undoubtedly meant to be Sud Ouest, a French newspaper in the area. Well, the obvious question is -- HOW do we know that the story is fake?

    Think about it. If we could prove that someone faked up a news clip to protect Mitt Romney -- if we can show a real new page from the year side-by-side against a fake page -- then that is it. That's the election. It's all over for Romney.

    So this is no small matter.

  38. Anonymous2:52 PM

    Sorry, no I'm not the one with the NYTimes article. But there are some things that just don't square with reality. First of all, I personally don't think Vilnet is the person you're looking for. The pictures after the accident show the Mercedes was registered in la Charente. Vilnet was already bishop of St. Dié, in the northeast. The Mercedes was locally registered - you can tell by the 16 on the end of the license plate. Secondly, a mercedes would have been a very expensive trinket for a local parish priest. I've read the NYTimes article and it says he was traveling with his mother Marie-Antoinette Marie and Marguerite Longué, 48. Most likely, both would be deceased by now. I've checked for both extensively and found nothing. In my opinion, the names all sound phony. Also whoever is trying to concoct this conspiracy (don't get me wrong, I am trying to help solve it) is off track. The picture of the post office is wrong. It labels Vilnet's car and Romney's in the opposite places. If Romney was driving from Pau to Bordeaux on route nationale 524 as reported, the post office would be on Romney's left. Citroen's were notorious for understeering so he may have tried to make a quick decision to correct his path and hit the Mercedes. My best advice would be to contact the post office. With an accident that serious, someone should remember it or be able to point you to someone who does. I doubt at this late date you could trace who owned the Mercedes in 1968. The post office phone number is 05 56 25 40 56.

  39. Anonymous3:48 PM

    Anonymous again - sorry I had to download Google Earth and follow it from Captieux. The photo is labeled correctly.

  40. This happened years ago, but its mystery still lingers. What happened to the case and to the lawyers handling the case?

  41. Anonymous10:11 AM

    After reading everything I can find on this, from the NYTimes, Washington Post, to blogs and conspiracy theories, is it possible that they weren't actually going to Pau to settle a Mormon dispute? What if they went to Spain - Mitt wasn't getting money from his allowance and used Spanish banks. That would mean the only reason they were coming back to Bordeaux was because he was a cold-hearted money-grubbing cad even at 21. The May riots and strikes of 1968 would have prevented the mail from getting to him. Gas would have been in short supply and to use it just to go solve a petty dispute in Pau would have been a real waste, but going to Spain (just a short distance away) would have made sense. Also they should have had a carte de séjour. If you stay in France for more than 3 months, you have to get one. The carte de séjour would have been enough if they were only going to Pau, but they would have needed passports to go to Spain. The book the Real Romney says they spent the night in Angouleme, but the newspapers say they ate dinner at the Salarnier's in Bordeaux the night before. Why would you drive to Bordeaux from Paris for dinner, then back north to Angouleme only to have to retrace your route the next morning? Why not stay in Bordeaux?

  42. Anonymous10:40 AM

    Look at the end of the NY Times article. Romney says a dump truck was coming behind them and slammed into his car several times. The next sentence turns the dump truck into a garbage truck. How can anyone believe such shoddy reporting?

  43. Anonymous12:32 PM

    If you look at the Post Office in Bernos-Beaulac on Google Earth from above, that is not a very sharp curve in front of the post office. The sharp curve is back just farther back just south on route nationale 524. When you look at the post office from ground level, it says Beaulac-Bernos on the front. Nothing about this story is consistent.

  44. Anonymous3:42 PM

    I think the biggest worry for Romney in this, if it can be proven, is Mrs. Anderson's son. If Mitt is indeed guilty and someone can prove it, Anderson would go screaming to the press about the fact that his good buddy was responsible for his mother's death. I don't think even Mitt would have enough money to keep him quiet.

  45. Anonymous5:46 PM

    There is something really screwy going on. The NY Times article from 2007 doesn't jive with the news accounts in Utah at the time. They paint a much less medically-threatening picture of both Romney and Duane Anderson. One (can't tell which newspaper it is), says Duane Anderson had 8 broken ribs and a broken wrist, Romney had a minor head injury and torn ligaments in his arm. The Ogden paper says Romney only had a head injury. It also says six others were treated at the Bazas Clinic for injuries. Both papers say they were going from Bordeaux to Pau, not the opposite. Yet the NYTimes says Anderson had a crushed chest, injuries to his liver and spleen, fractured ribs and a collapsed lung, according to Romney's brother-in-law Dr. Robinson who had flown to Paris then Bordeaux. Yet he was able to fly home to bury Leola on June 20, four days after the accident. Seems a bit far-fetched to me that someone with that many injuries would be able to take a flight from Paris to LA in that condition. The picture of the guy in the hospital does have a cast on his left arm, so it could be Anderson, but it doesn't make sense that he would be able to sit up with everything Robinson says, so I would guess Romney's family is behind the mess.

  46. Anonymous5:58 PM

    According to what I just found, they stayed the night in Bordeaux, not in Angouleme, as other reports have said, where Mitt asked Anderson for a 100 franc bill, broke it into 5 franc pieces and managed to get the Citroen out of the market place rush where they had parked the night before at the hotel. This is the most convoluted story I have ever seen!

  47. Anonymous, are you bontemps 2012 of Daily Kos fame?

    At any rate, the problems comments here are indicative of the problems I have with the way this story is being handled in the alternative blogosphere. Everyone is Anonymous. No proper citations.

    Sorry, but that sort of behavior just won't cut it anymore.

    I've already published on update to this story and will soon publish another. I've turned skeptical, or semi-skeptical, and thus will have to apologize.

    to make a long story short, this whole thing seems to stem from a series of articles posted to a lot of different websites by one guy posing as a bunch of different guys. I don't know who this fellow is, but he seems to hail from the hacker subculture that grew out of that stupid 4chan site.

  48. Anonymous8:11 PM

    No I have no connection with the Daily Kos. I'm just trying to help. Google Leola Anderson. You will find a website called It's by her sons. Click on that, then under the missionary diary, click on the link there. On the next page, click on Leola. It will open to a picture, under which is next/contents. Click on that, everything starts at final scenes. Just go from page to page after that. Compare those with the NYTimes and the Real Romney (excerpts available at

    Did Mitt Romney Kill Leola Anderson in 1968 Car Crash? We ...

    Then say thank you.

  49. I don't see what you seem to be seeing, anon. I tried to follow your directions. Here's where I ended up...

    Did I miss something?

  50. Anonymous9:17 PM

    Everything in the press notices and obituary notices contradicts what Romney says in the NYTimes article and the book by the Globe reporter. You apparently didn't go far enough. Under the picture of the mission diary is a link, just to the right of the picture of the little kid. That will go to a new page, click on Leola on the left. That opens to a picture of her, under the picture is a link next(contents). Click on that, then a link starting on p.124 called final scenes. It has articles about the accident as reported in 1968 when she died. They are completely different from Romney's story.

  51. Anonymous1:39 PM

    Obituary articles (mentioned above) from her sons' homage pages at provide interesting supporting information. The status of H. Duane Anderson in the days immediately after the accident is clarified.


    Duane is reported to have suffered either five or eight broken ribs. This eliminates any possibility that we (that includes Salarnier and Vilnet's friends from Saint-Die and Lille) are confusing Bishop Vilnet with Mr. Anderson.

    Further, the status of Mitt Romney is reported.

    The bottom line is that he suffered "minor head injuries" and "torn ligaments to one elbow." Mitt was expected to be released after two days in hospital.

    That is from Utah in 1968. Direct wired story from Bordeaux France. The reporter was Salarnier, who called the States when he got back home to Bordeaux.

    No coma.

    The idea that romney had almost been killed was invented for guardian, Le Monde, and a list of other dupes.

    Our nominated-for-president-in-2012 chicken-hawk tax cheat Romney was in a normal ward bed at Bazas Hospital on June 18th 1968 because he wasn't hurt that bad.

  52. Anonymous9:45 PM

    A couple of the articles in the are from UPI. They are well respected.

  53. Anonymous6:32 PM

    This is a little complicated, and unfortunately, I think it kind of proves Romney's version. I've been looking for some proof one way or the other, but until today, I've been running into roadblock after roadblock. First of all, there are two towns called Sireuil in France, one near Angouleme, the other has been part of Les Eyzies de Tayac-Sireuil since 1973 when they incorporated together. Prior to that, it was an independent village.

    The Sireuil near Angouleme may very well be where the priest Albert Marie was, but it still isn't provable, but I think it's likely. Today I found quite by accident a French language site from the Festival Committee of Cernex, France, (it appears to be their year-end report to the town). Cernex is in far eastern France near the Swiss border. It details the reciprocal trips of a group of soccer players, member of the city council, and their festival committee to Champmillon to join with Cernex as a sister-city. It mentions that the two abbots (priests), Lyonnaz and Marie, concelebrated mass. It goes into some detail about the dinner, etc. Further down, just above the second picture is a P.S. That details the fact that Champmollion was grieving the death of Abbot Marie in a car accident, which occurred Aug. 25, 1988. It also says his mother died shortly after hw did. Just a little ODD?

    After further checking, I found that Champmollion is on the same Departmental Road 7 as Sireuil. In fact, it's only three kilometers north. It makes sense that the one priest would take care of both churches, since they are both small towns, Sireuil about 1100, Champmollion 500. But the article doesn't have first names, so I suppose it is still possible that Albert Marie could be from the other Sireuil, since it's a lot closer to the accident scene.

    The link to the site is below, but you need really good reading skills in French.

  54. Anonymous10:29 PM

    Sorry - I spelled Champmillon incorrectly in the last paragraph. But the end of year account from the Committee in Cernex does identify an abbot Marie, which places him there. It also says the group visited Cognac and the Hennessy distilleries, which are close by. Of course, it doesn't prove who was at fault for the accident, but the name does match. It just struck me as very odd that Marie died in a car accident 20 years later, followed by his mother's death.

  55. Anonymous10:53 PM

    I checked out the Comité des Fêtes in Cernex. It seems to be a local civic organization - they sponsor bike races, dances, ping-pong tournaments, dance lessons. It's a local government supported group to help the locals find things to do with their spare time.

  56. Anonymous1:58 PM

    Funny the France-Amerique article says Romney was in the hospital for two months.

  57. Anonymous3:01 PM

    What is strange is that when you search for André Salarnier, he comes up in the wikipedia and a couple of other sites as a president of the Mormon temple in Bordeaux (Talence) from 1978-81 in the chronology of Mormonism in France, but when you open the site, there is no mention of him. Maybe he decided to leave Mormonism and doesn't want to interfere with Mitt's candidacy.

  58. Anonymous3:08 PM

    The only thing I can see from all the articles and the book about him is that every reporter and the two guys who wrote the Real Romney have their own versions of the story and have liberally used poetic license. None of them fit together, particularly when Romney says that his father and Ann had to find out about the accident from the newspapers, but she says that George called her himself and others say George was called directly by the mission in Paris. The Washington Post says the car heading north veered into Mitt's lane, but he was the one going north. I don't know who started this conspiracy with the priest being Vilnet, but frankly, I don't buy it. Why would the people from Cernex specifically mention that Marie had died in 1988? He can't be Vilnet, because Vilnet was still alive as bishop of St. Dié. Personally, I think everybody has been led on a wild goose chase.

  59. He would be a good president.Even if that happened.

  60. emjayay5:46 PM

    All the names and identities and even location and direction of the cars are obviously confusing. Even if records in France are destroyed after ten years, a good reporter spending enough time (like months) in France could dig up the actual truth. There must be people who were 20 or 30 then who were witnesses or relatives etc. who could clear everything up. And old newspaper reports, etc.

    But one thing is for sure: A collision between a Citroen DS (high tech, most expensive French car of the time) and a Mercedes 180 (medium sized Mercedes - it would be more like a C class size now) would result in cars that look like in the picture (you can find the whole photo including the Mercedes on Google Images) if one car was STOPPED and one car was going highway speed. And by highway speed I mean 40 mph, not 70. It was NOT a crash of one car going highway speed and one going highway speed or higher. Plus without seat belts, even two cars like that in the kind of accident the official story tells would be all likely to be dead, not variously injured. This could be confirmed by an expert of course.

    And it is entirely possible, even highly likely, that with of a luxury car full of top Mormons, driven by the son of a wealhy US governor, having a fatal accident with a Catholic priest in France....well, do the math. A "likely story" that wouldn't ruin the Mormon church in France and the righ kid's life was concocted.

  61. emjayay5:48 PM

    Obviously the Romneys would have been called immediately by the mission in Paris. anything else is just one more lie.

  62. Anonymous7:31 PM

    The point is... if this had been Clinton or President Obama involved in such an accident (fatal) there would be stories about it written on the front page of every newspaper, magazine and TMZ TV-rag for months on end!!
    I mean look at the press the "Birthers" get. And look at the crazies who theorize about Obama's "fake" school records/grades, but THIS gets ignored?? Something stinks.

  63. Anonymous2:01 PM

    A five minute video (in French) about Mitt Romney's stay in France from French channel TF1.

  64. Anonymous5:50 AM

    Ok, after studying the map I think I know exactly what happened and why.

    1. As the road going North (Romney driving) bends, it changes from being a 2-lane road (1 lane going North and 1 lane going South), into a road where now 2 lanes going south (regular lane + a short "suicide turn lane") and only 1 lane that continues to go North.

    Here is what this means:

    If you have never traveled this road before, and, especially, at night time, there would be NO way for you to know (based on the map, and as we know there were no concrete dividers back then) at exactly what place your lane (going North) turns into a "suicide lane" (going South).

    To make matters worse, this transition happens AS the road bends!

    Now: I don't think anyone was drinking anything. We know Mitt does not drink and the Catholic priest will not be drunk driving his Mother home (not likely) so..

    The Catholic priest was driving at his regular speed going South, changing onto a "suicide turn lane" getting ready to turn, while Mitt Romney was driving North, not realizing that he has just entered a suicide lane! Hence, a full blown, head-on collision! Everything makes sense.


  65. Anonymous12:55 PM

    Bishop Jean-Félix-Albert-Marie Vilnet passed on January 24, 2013.

    He and the Catholic Church were kind in 1968 not to pursue the legal issues related to Mitt Romney driving into that southbound left-turn lane.

    In return, Mormon propaganda misidentified Bishop Vilnet as "Father Albert Marie" and they blame him to this day for killing Mrs. Anderson. All of that and Romney's so many lies are despicable.

    For Bishop Vilnet, rest in peace. You deserved the Order of Merit. Everyone respected you.


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