Written by Frank Mullen III

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Sunday, 8 April 2007

Inquiries with officials in the states where Mitt Romney has lived cannot confirm the Republican presidential contender's claim to be a lifelong grunter.

At a Thursday appearance before the National Grunting Association, Romney claimed to have been grunting since childhood. "I came out of the womb grunting, moaning and complaining," he told the exuberant crowd.

However, in response to questioning, officials in the four states where Romney has lived--Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Utah-- denied having records of him applying for a grunting license.

On Friday, his campaign spokesman backpedaled, conceding that Romney has grunted only twice--once as a teenager, while moving a couch for the convenience of his mother's cleaning lady, and again last year, while attempting to hold a tray of hors d'oeuvres over his head with one hand while dancing in the conga line at a GOP fund-raiser.

Later Friday, Romney contradicted his spokesman, insisting the guttural barks and sub-vocal complaints he emits while engaged in physical labor have occurred primarily in Utah, where grunting regulations are liberal. Persons engaged in physical exertion in that state may moan and exclaim without limit or license. However, grunting and the use of oaths or sudden and violent exclamations are controlled.

"The report that I only grunted twice is incorrect," Romney told the Associated Press. "I'm by no means a big-time grunter," he conceded. "I'm more Richard Simmons than Hulk Hogan."

"Oof," he added.

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