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Mitt Romney's Father Palled Around With Saul Alinsky

Newt regularly inveighs against the radical figure. "I think you ought to listen to Alinsky,’ George Romney said after the '67 riots. Romney Sr. made Alinsky "sound like a Republican."

Posted on January 23, 2012, at 4:09 p.m. ET

EMMANUEL DUNAND / Getty Images

Romney posed with a campaign poster of his father's last week in South Carolina.

The radical pioneer Saul Alinsky, who helped invent the practice of bottom-up politics through "community organizing" in the middle of the 20th century, has become a key bogeyman for Republican in the Obama era. Obama worked for Alinsky acolytes early in his career, and even contributed to an anthology titled "After Alinsky."

"Saul Alinsky radicalism is at the heart of Obama," Gingrich told CNN Sunday.

But Obama isn't the only candidate with one-degree-of-separation ties to Alinsky. In his biography of Romney's father, Michigan Governor George Romney, T. George Harris wrote in his book "Romney's Way" that the elder Romney and Alinsky met after the Detroit riots of 1967:

When slum organizer Saul Alinsky, with the West Side Organization’s militant Negroes and clerics, wanted to meet with the white Detroit rulers, Romney indirectly arranged the meeting, and attended. Democratic Mayor Jerome Cavanaugh avoided the rough company.

"I think you ought to listen to Alinsky," Romney told his reluctant white friends. ‘It seems to me that we are always talking to the same people. Maybe the time has come to hear new voices." Said an Episcopal bishop, ‘He made Alinsky sound like a Republican.

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