FORT DODGE, IOWA -- Facing fire over media reports questioning his own account of seeing his father march with Martin Luther King, Romney told reporters in Fort Dodge, Iowa, that he saw the two men march "in a figurative sense."
During his December 6 address on religion in College State, Texas, Romney said, "I saw my father march with Martin Luther King."
CBS News: "Did you actually see — with your own eyes — your father marching with Martin Luther King?"
Romney: "My own eyes? You know, I speak in the sense of I saw my dad become president of American Motors. I wasn't actually there when he became president of American Motors, but I saw him in the figurative sense of he marched with Martin Luther King. My brother also remembers him marching with Martin Luther King and so in that sense I saw him march with Martin Luther King."
Later he said, "I can't even give you the time frame. I just remember that we talked about it. My brother also remembers my dad having spoken about the fact that he did not do political events on Sunday but that he decided at the last minute that he was going to break that self-imposed rule and participate and I think he did so on a Sunday as I recall."
He added, "You know, I'm an English literature major as well. When we say, 'I saw the Patriots win the World Series, it doesn't necessarily mean you were there — excuse me, the Super Bowl. I saw my dad become president of American Motors. Did that mean you were there for the ceremony? No, it's a figure of speech."
Questions were raised after the Boston Phoenix reported that his father may not have actually marched with MLK.
Asked for a clarification about when and where George Romney marched with Martin Luther King, Governor Romney's press secretary emailed to CBS News three historical references that alluded to Romney appearing at one of King's "freedom marches" in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.
"Governor Romney was in high school at the time of the freedom marches," Fehrnstrom told CBS News. "Along with the rest of the Romney family, he has a memory and recollection of his dad's involvement and participation."