I am not a hunter but I have seen elk in Montana and I have seen moose in Maine. Yes, they both have antlers but moose are huge. Elk are considerably less so. I am deeply concerned that the potential next leader of the free world can’t recall precisely what it was he was out trying to kill on his most recent hunting trip.
If you missed the moment in the recent Republican presidential debate- it went like this according to the Associated Press:
In Monday night’s Republican debate in South Carolina, the GOP front-runner said he “went moose hunting” in Montana with friends, then quickly corrected himself and said it was, in fact, elk hunting.
But there’s more background on this because Mitt has a kind of tortured history in his public references to hunting and it bears further investigation.
Back in the 2008 race, Romney described himself a “lifelong hunter.” Hunting is apparently a very important skill a future President must possess. I distinctly remember the photo, for example, of John Kerry back in 2004, walking through some field with some Congressman and one of them is holding a deceased goose, one of four they had shot and killed in the key swing state of Ohio. Very manly and 2nd amendment-like, indeed.
But back to Mitt. Pressed on his hunting prowess in April of 2007, to be exact- Romney uttered these famous words:
I’m not a big-game hunter. I’ve always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will. I began when I was 15 or so and I have hunted those kinds of varmints since then.
I can understand hunting those wascally wabbits- but rodents? Absent further elaboration, my mind imagines Romney with a shotgun ridding the servant’s quarters of a pesky mouse problem.
Also, if I were Mitt’s media advisor I would have had him steer away from this phrase in particular: “Small varmints, if you will.” Hunters rarely end sentences with “if you will.” And if that isn’t enough of a dead giveaway- only
Elmer Fudd (pictured above) Yosemite Sam has ever referred to game as “varmints.”
I, personally, would never go hunting with Mitt Romney. We know, for example, that former Vice President Dick Cheney is an old hunter from way back- and even he occasionally, accidently, shoots people in the face.
I mean there’s no telling- after Romney has gotten his personal assistant to load and then aim his shotgun- where the shot might actually go. You know those things kick back when you fire ‘em. The bullet could go straight up in the air for all I know and then we’ll all be diving for cover, except Mitt will have his personal assistant draped over him protectively, while I would be lying there totally exposed yelling, “incoming!”
Anyway, back to the differences between moose and elk. Moose kind of stand there and therefore, as stationary targets, make for a less than exciting hunt. Elk, on the other hand, are way more elusive. In Montana, I’m told, you have to climb mountains and invariably end up on scary elevated ledges looming over thousand-foot drops- and then maybe you’d spot an elk. I think most people would remember if they went out to a parking lot and bagged a moose or were barely clinging to life with hands clutching a shaky precipice- and managed to snag an elk.
I’m not insinuating that Romney was lying about going hunting. This could clearly have been a case of mistaken identity. You know, the hot lights, a big audience, national TV. Like being on Jeopardy when you choose the “Things with Antlers” category and get all nervous when the Daily Double comes up and there’s a picture of an elk and damn it all- you say “What is a moose?”
Actually, that may well have been the exact question Romney asked his personal assistant following Monday’s debate.