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Bella English

About Romney’s missing e-mails...

Messages from then-governor Romney reveal that he really did have nothing to hide - except his image

Former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greeted cadets before giving a foreign policy address at the Citadel.
Former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greeted cadets before giving a foreign policy address at the Citadel.Getty Images

There is no record of any e-mails sent and received by Governor Mitt Romney and his staff when he was on Beacon Hill. This is not because Harry Potter put a Banishing Charm on them. It’s because Romney and his aides did, plunking down $65 apiece for their hard drives and removing them from the State House. In the grab-and-go, 17 hard drives were purchased just before Romney left office, and administration officials also wiped clean computers and servers that contained copies of the e-mails.

Now why would they do such a thing? Conspiracy theorists, or Democrats, might point to some sort of coverup. Romney, again running for president, recently posited that his aides might have had “personal information on there . . . that would not be appropriate to put in the public domain.’’

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Imagine our surprise when a few of the absent e-mails were recently dumped on our doorstep.

From: Governor Mitt Romney

To: Staff

Subject: staff trip

Date: Sept. 15, 2006

As it turns out, we can only get a minivan to take us on our swing from Boston to the Berkshires, so we are going to be short a space. One of you is going to have to ride on the roof. Don’t worry, we have a large carrier that’s really comfortable. Our Irish setter, Seamus, loved it. The press has turned our family trips to Canada into some sort of animal rights issue. They’re just not happy that my dog happened to like fresh air. Seamus got up there all by himself every time we went on trips and he loved it. In case it comes up with reporters on my upcoming campaign, you should know about his gastrointestinal issue. I remember it clearly. When my boys told me about the stuff coming down the back window of our station wagon, I pulled over to a gas station, hosed the dog off, and back up he went. I’m sure he dried off quickly with all that wind and speed. PETA is now saying that Seamus was tortured. How absurd. If anything, Seamus was spoiled. He got to go on our family vacations. However, for our upcoming staff trip, whoever has GI issues probably should not volunteer for the roof.

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From: Governor Mitt Romney

To: Juan

Subject: my lawn

Date: Oct. 10, 2006

This is in response to your e-mail of yesterday. Yes, by all means, I am interested in your fall cleanup special. I agree that the lawn and tennis court are big, and I understand that you will bring in 25 of your amigos and have it all done in 15 minutes. Should any TV cameras come around, say nothing.

From: Governor Mitt Romney

To: Shawn Feddeman

Subject: appointment

Date: Nov. 6, 2006

Hi Shawn, I hope you’re online now. I’m in the air, flying from Beijing. This is my 212th day out of Massachusetts this year. I’m seriously jet-lagged. Please send me directions to my first appointment on Monday. If my first appointment is in my office, please send me directions to my office.

From: Governor Mitt Romney

To: Eric Fehrnstrom

Subject: health insurance

Date: Dec. 15, 2006

I need a white paper on my health care program for the Commonwealth. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But as I head out on the national trail, it could become a liability. I wonder if we can spin this as a states’ rights issue. Or we could use the “I’m in a different place now’’ statement. Worked well with abortion, gay rights, and stem cell research. I know Deval hasn’t taken office yet, but isn’t there some way we can pin this on him?

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From: Governor Mitt Romney

To: Staff

Subject: purchasing hard drives

Date: Jan. 2, 2007

This is my last staff e-mail. As you all know, we’ll be vacating Beacon Hill soon, and if you don’t want to leave any e-mails behind for the record, you can buy your hard drive for only $65. In case those annoying reporters come sniffing around about Seamus, I won’t be providing opposition research. I have nothing to hide, of course. The only thing I’m guilty of is taking the stupid dog on vacation; should have left the mutt at home. So I need your help in wiping the slate clean. Or, as Deval might say, together we can.


Bella English can be reached at english@globe.com.