Mitt Romney and False Memory Syndrome

Mitt Romney recently displayed an example of what I termed "false memory syndrome" in Hippo Eats Dwarf. It's the tendency of politicians to have memories of events that never happened to them.

In Romney's case, he recently told an audience how he remembered being at Detroit's Automotive Golden Jubilee, in which his dad served as grandmaster. The problem is, the Golden Jubilee took place on June 1, 1946, nine months before Mitt was born. (link:

Other examples of the phenomenon include French president Nicolas Sarkozy claiming he was present in Berlin in November 1989 and helped knock down the Berlin Wall; Ronald Reagan claiming he witnessed the liberation of the Nazi death camps during World War II -- even though he was never sent to Europe during the war. And Arnold Schwarzenegger saying he was inspired to enter politics after watching the Nixon-Humphrey presidential debate on TV in 1968, even though the debate wasn't televised.
(Thanks, Joe!)


Posted on Tue Feb 28, 2012


As much as I'd like to kick a pol around, I can remember spending time with my paternal grandfather, even though he died a year before I was born. When I was little, I saw pictures of him and it somehow expanded in my mind.
Posted by Mark  on  Tue Feb 28, 2012  at  10:53 AM
this isn't just something that happens to politicians. It's just they are more in the public eye and more open to scrutiny.

I remember on one forum I used to frequent I had a signiture that read 'My memory is so good, I can even remember things that haven't happened.'
Posted by Sharruma  on  Tue Feb 28, 2012  at  09:05 PM
What about Hillary Clinton claiming she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, when she was born before he did what he did?
Posted by Jim  on  Tue Feb 28, 2012  at  11:15 PM
Yes indeed, implanting false memories into people is very easy - people who had never been to Disney World were shown a Disney World ad and that pretty much was enough to convince them they had indeed been at Disney World once in their lives.

Most of us create false memories for ourselves at some point or another. It's not limited to politicians, but I'm also sure some know that they are telling a lie, they just want the publicity - Sarkozy released photoshopped pictures showing him tearing down the Berlin Wall... it took about five minutes of research to discover the real pictures sans Sarkozy.
He was not reelected for a second term.
Posted by D.  on  Wed May 22, 2013  at  11:16 PM
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