Gail Collins Still Haunted by Romney's Crate-Gate - Mentions Dog-on-Roof Tale 23 Times

Gail Collins is still "haunted by Seamus," the story of Mitt Romney's family dog strapped to the car roof in a crate, mentioning the infamous incident 23 times over four years of columns.

Won't someone please make New York Times columnist Gail Collins happy, and bring up Mitt Romney's dog Seamus?

Collins is apparently frustrated that the image of Romney's habit of strapping the family dog to the roof of the car in a crate on family vacations to Canada has not become the iconic image of the Romney campaign (like the media tried to make Gingrich's big bill at Tiffany's).

Since the Boston Globe revealed crate-gate in the summer of 2007, Collins has (according to a Nexis search) mentioned the dog's dilemma in 23 columns since her August 4, 2007 manifesto, 'Haunted by Seamus.' The motif is only increasing in frequency as the 2012 campaign goes on. Here is Collins relaying the details in 2007:

Then there is Mitt Romney, a candidate most of us don't really know well yet. (A disconcerting number of well-informed people seem to believe his name is 'Mort.') Yet he could become the Republican presidential nominee. It behooves us to pay attention, to mull his Iran plan and deconstruct his position on health care.

But every time I see him, all I can think about is Seamus the dog.

Seamus, in case you missed the story, was the Romneys' Irish setter back in the early 1980s. Mitt used to drive the family from Boston to Ontario every summer for a vacation, with the dog strapped to the roof in a crate.

In her latest column on Romney's illegal alien problem, Thursday's 'Mitt and Begonia-Gate,' Collins once again found a tortured way to bring up the issue after Rick Perry attacked Romney for hiring illegal immigrants as landscapers. This time she didn't even mention that the dog was actually in a crate, writing simply that it was "strapped on the roof of the car."

I found this very exciting because it brings us closer to the moment when one of Romney's competitors will point out that he once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped on the roof of the car.

Politifact actually tackled Collins' obsession a month ago, and added some relevant details to the vital story: "It's important to note that the dog was not literally strapped to the car, as in tied around its midsection. Rather, Seamus was in a carrier with a protective windscreen that Romney had built."