MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — At a town hall here Wednesday, Mitt Romney re-told a story he first revealed earlier this week about meeting one of the Navy SEALs who would later be killed in the attacks on the Benghazi consulate.
Romney has used the account in recent days on the stump to demonstrate the courage of Americans, in particular the troops: Upon hearing that the consulate was under attack, Glenn Doherty, 42, headed toward the action to try to defend it.
It's a compelling story, offering a surprisingly personal link between the candidate and the tragedy in Libya — but it's one the SEAL's mother wants him to stop telling.
Wednesday morning, NBC's Boston affiliate reported that Doherty's mother thought Romney was taking advantage of her son's death.
"I don't trust Romney," Barbara Doherty told WHDH 7. "He shouldn't make my son's death part of his political agenda. It's wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama."
The story posted on WHDH's website indicated that they had sought a response from the campaign, but didn't get one.
Asked whether Romney would continue to tell the story, a campaign aide told BuzzFeed he would not, now that he knew the mother's wishes.
Kevin Madden added, "Governor Romney was inspired by the memory of meeting Glen Doherty and shared his story and that memory. We respect the wishes of Mrs. Doherty though."
McKay Coppins is a senior writer for the BuzzFeed News politics team, and the author of The Wilderness, about the battle over the future of the Republican Party.
Contact McKay Coppins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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