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'Crate-Gate' puts Mitt Romney in doghouse at Westminster show

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“Mitt Romney + Dog on Roof” is the fourth result when searching for Romney on Google. The Facebook group “Dogs Against Romney” has over 25,000 “likes.” New York Times columnist Gail Collins has cited the incident over 30 times since 2007 – virtually every time she has referenced Romney in her semi-weekly column.

After the Boston Globe article, Scott Crider, a social media strategist in Alabama, founded “Dogs Against Romney.” The group’s website “went viral for about 10 days in ’07, before Romney's campaign flamed-out,” Crider writes in an email. When Romney announced that he was running for president again, Mr. Crider writes, he dusted off the website and started to get some traction once again.

“We are getting literally thousands of user-generated images from our followers on Facebook – pictures of their dogs with our slogan ‘I ride inside,’ ” writes Crider, who says his group is unaffiliated politically.

In this rollercoaster campaign season, the story also seems to have resonated with those who accuse Mitt Romney of being out of touch.

“He doesn’t really seem to have any empathy, which I think is a crucial characteristic in somebody who is running for president of the United States,” protester – and dog owner – Batya Miller says outside the Westminster dog show. “I think that both the actual act of putting the dog on top of the car and then not understanding what is wrong with that indicates some lack of feeling.”

Shortly after the story ran in the Globe in 2007, Romney addressed the issue at a campaign stop in Pittsburgh.

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