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Romney Says
'No Place' For
Web Hijinks on Trail

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney denounced an anti-Fred Thompson Web site that was created by an employee of Romney's top consultant in South Carolina, saying it was "juvenile and offensive."

On the campaign trail in Texas, Romney told the Associated Press that "there is no place in politics for those kind of hijinks." It was his first public comment on the website, which was taken down after inquiries by a Post reporter.

The Web site, phoneyfred.org, mocked the former senator and television actor as a "pro-choice skirt chaser" and offered readers reams of opposition research. It was posted anonymously, but its ownership was tracked to the firm of Warren Tompkins, a veteran South Carolina consultant who is working for Romney.

In the interview Wednesday, Romney repeated his campaign's contention that the site was the work of Wesley Donehue, an employee of Tompkins' firm who produced it without approval.

"Mr. Tompkins indicates it was not done by his firm, that the person who put it up was acting on his own," Romney said. "I've said I do not want to have that person in any way associated with my campaign."

Thompson's campaign has rejected that explanation. In a harshly-worded statement issued Tuesday, Thompson Communications Director Todd Harris called the Romney assertions a "half-baked cover-up attempt" and urged him to "exercise some of his much-touted executive acumen," by firing Donehue.

By Washington Post editors  |  September 12, 2007; 4:00 PM ET
 
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