Mad Men takes place in the 60s, but got the attention of modern-day politicos when a character in the AMC show took a slap at Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's father.
Henry Francis (Christopher Stanley), a political aide to New York's moderate Republican mayor, John Lindsay, tells an unidentified wag on the phone Because Romney's a clown, and I don't want him standing next to him.
Francis was referring to George Romney, who was then running for re-election of governor of Michigan. This was in July 1966, just seven months into Lindsay's mayoralty, and Francis reminds the caller that he's [Lindsay] got a city to run.
The Huffington Post published a clip of the scene (above).
As soon as Politico's Alex Burns tweeted about the line, Mitt Romney's eldest son, Tagg, blasted the show on Twitter:
George Romney was as good a man I've ever known. Inspirational leader, worked for civil rights, promoted freedom. We need more like him — Tagg Romney (@tromney) April 2, 2012
George Romney won his biggest re-election in 1966, beating Democratic lawyer Zolton Ferency by over 500,000 votes, the Grio reported earlier this year. Tagg's response may have been a bit over the line considering it's just a fictional television show, but by 1967 the former governor of Massachusetts was certainly battling a reputation among Republicans for being a clown. Romney reversed his position on the Vietnam war during a television interview in 1967, switching from supporting the war to claiming the generals there gave him the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get. The comment blew his chances at any presidential nomination, although the fact that the army had regularly lied to politicians was eventually written into the history books.
All things considered, Francis' opinion was probably not a popular one in New York City. As Slate's Dave Weigel points out, George Romney was one of the best-known critics of the GOP's conservative wing ... A liberal New York Republican would like Romney.