In the past few years, now former Presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s last name became something else. You’ve probably read dozens of pieces on Santorum’s “Google problem,” so I’ll spare you most of the sticky details. In short, anti-Santorum activists were able to push a certain site called spreadingsantorum.com to the top of Google search results for his last name. That site redefined the word “Santorum” as a rather unsavory sexual term.
So every time anyone search “Santorum” on Google (and other engines), they were treated with a graphic neologism. His problem has seemingly been mitigated in recent weeks, as that particular search result has been pushed down the page.
That issue received a lot of attention during the campaign, but few people know that frontrunner (and future nominee) Mitt Romney had a similar (albeit less serious) Google problem of his own.
Just a couple of months ago, anyone who searched “Romney” in Google would see a result near the top for the site spreadingromney.com. That site redefined the candidate’s last name into a verb meaning “To defecate in terror.” Let’s use that in a sentence, shall we?
“Dude, I woke up and thought I saw a ghost – I almost Romneyed all over myself.”
All of this stemmed from a story that Mitt Romney probably regrets telling. Meant as a humorous anecdote, it became the focus of the campaign back in January.
Romney detailed one fateful road trip where Seamus, his now-deceased Irish setter got a bad case of diarrhea and made quite the mess all over the car. Not the inside of the car, mind you – the outside. That’s because Seamus was tied to the roof of the car.
Sure, he was secure and in an open-air crate, but you can understand why some people were left a little uneasy by the story. It’s odd to a large portion of the population to strap your dog to the roof on a car trip. As you would expect, he caught a lot of flak for this – the neologism search result probably the least of it. But, of course, the news cycle spins and all is forgotten.
Until it’s brought up again on the national stage.
In a recent interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, Mitt’s wife Ann Romney was asked about the Seamus incident. Here’s the conversation, courtesy of ABC:
DIANE SAWYER: As we move away from this primary campaign into the next phase– again, on Yahoo, we got two questions most often, first about Seamus– which as you know is out there forever– would you do it again?
MITT ROMNEY: Certainly not with the attention it’s received.
DIANE SAWYER: You said it was the most wounding thing in the campaign–
ANN ROMNEY: It’s crazy.
DIANE SAWYER:–so far.
ANN ROMNEY: The dog loved it. The dog was, like–
DIANE SAWYER: But the dog got sick, right?
ANN ROMNEY: Once, he– we traveled all the time and he– he ate the turkey on the counter. I mean, he had the runs. But– 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 t– in– in– in a kennel for two weeks, so.
Crazy because he was excited? Or scared sh*tless? You be the judge.
I can see the campaign ads now: Barack Obama – loves dogs, puts his on the White House Christmas card. Mitt Romney – thinks his dog loves being tied to the roof of a car.
Somehow, in this crazy season of politics, dog-oriented ads don’t even seem like a stretch.