An Attempt to Compile a Complete List of Every Time Gail Collins Has Mentioned That Mitt Romney Once Drove to Canada with the Family Dog Strapped to the Roof of the Car

Mitt Romney is a current and former candidate for the Republican Party Presidential nomination and the former Governor of Massachusetts.

Gail Collins is a journalist who writes a twice-weekly op-ed column for the New York Times.

Gail Collins is obsessed by the fact that Mitt Romney once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car, and has mentioned this fact almost over 50 times in print.

In case you don’t know the story, Collins lays out the details in her first mention of the Romney/dog story, back in August 2007:

Every time I see [Mitt Romney], 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. As The Boston Globe reported this summer, Romney had the entire trip planned so rigidly that every gas station stop was predetermined before departure. During the fatal trip of ‘83, Seamus apparently needed one more than the schedule allowed. When evidence of the setter’s incontinence came running down the back windshield, Romney abandoned his itinerary and drove to the closest gas station, where he got a hose and sprayed both dog and station wagon clean. (Haunted by Seamus, 4/8/07)

As she later explained,

I’ve made a kind of game of trying to mention Seamus every time I write about Mitt Romney. This is because the Republican primary campaign has been an extremely long and depressing slog, and we need all the diversion we can get. (Dogging Mitt Romney, 7/3/12)

What follows is a list of every time that Collins has mentioned the Romney/dog story. It’s a lot.

(Have I missed any Collins/Romney/dog mentions? Contact me on Twitter: I’m @mpaldridge.)

Current Tally: 77 (69 op-ed columns, 8 blog “conversations” with David Brooks)
Last updated: 17/11/12 - Five new hits, and quite possibly the last ever update

77: NEW It appears that Mitt Romney was a terrible presidential candidate.
O.K., some people have known that ever since the story broke about strapping his dog on the car roof. (Anybody Notice a Pattern?, 16/11/12)
76: NEW If all else fails, strap John Boehner to the roof of a car. (Happy Days, Even With the Cliff, 7/11/12)
75: NEW Forget about the fact that Mitt Romney once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car. (The Last Election List, 19/9/12)
74: NEW Maybe someday, the voters of 2012 will be telling their grandchildren where they were when Mitt Romney evoked Women in Binders.
By then, of course, they will have gotten a little fuzzy about the details. Maybe they’ll tell the kids that, in the end, the whole election came down to the time Mitt Romney put Big Bird in a binder on the car roof. (Women and the Men Who Yell, 17/10/12)
73: NEW Democrats miss Seamus.
Yes, those were the days. When the very mention of “Mitt Romney” would instantly lead to a discussion of the dangers of transporting an Irish setter to Canada on the roof of a station wagon.
“Has Seamus peaked too early?” a worried Democrat asked me in Texas a while back. At the time, I thought that anybody who is a Democrat in Texas had so many things to worry about, it was a miracle he could even remember the dog’s name. But now it’s clear that he was totally right. Seamus was so June. (Democrats at the Deep End, 10/10/12)
72: And it is totally not true that Mitt Romney strapped Paul Ryan to the top of a car and drove him to Canada. Stop spreading rumors! (Mitt’s Snake-Bit Season, 19/9/12)
71: 1. Shortly before the Republican convention opened, a new book quoted Mitt Romney as comparing the Tea Party to: […]
B) A dog on a car roof. […]
4. Besides the usual assortment of mayors, governors, beleaguered workers, successful immigrants and former Republicans, the Democratic convention also featured a speech by a:
A) Dog who claimed to be a descendant of Romney’s beleaguered Irish setter. […] (Convention Pop Quiz, 7/9/12)
70: One thing’s for sure: nobody in Tampa is all that interested in talking about Mitt Romney interacting with pets. (Renovating Mitt Romney, 29/8/12)
69: First of all, Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are not the same person. […] Ryan is the one who likes to catch catfish by sticking his fist into their burrows and dragging them out by the throat. Romney is the one who drove to Canada with his dog strapped to the car roof. (Political Page Turners, 17/8/12)
68: Right now Mitt Romney is off on a four-day bus tour […] (Everything about the Romney campaign seems somehow connected to transit: buses, horses, car elevators, dogs strapped to the car roof.) (Become a Star Tracker, 10/8/12)
67: The Republicans currently have a symbolic legislative agenda and a presidential candidate who can be in two places at one time, but whom nobody likes. Other than that, it’s all good. Nobody’s brought up the dog on the car roof for days. (Mitt’s Political Vortex, 13/7/12)
66: We are not talking about business taxes, in the normal sense of the word. If we were, it would quickly become so incredibly confusing that you would be begging me to go back to the matter of the dog Romney once tied to the roof of his car. (Small Is So Beautiful, 11/7/12)
65: Let’s pause for a minute while you test your ability to be a Mitt Romney speechwriter: […]
“This isn’t an election about two people. This isn’t an election about being a Republican, Democrat or an independent. This is an election about … […]
C) keeping dogs off the car roof.” […] (The (Sort of) New Mitt, 22/6/12)
64: You may remember the cringe-inducing moment in 2007 when [Mitt Romney] started bragging about his prowess as an outdoorsman. […] Inquiring minds checked the hunting licenses in all the places that Mitt had at some point called home and determined that he’d never applied for one. “I’ve always been a rodent and rabbit hunter,” he amended. “Small varmints, if you will.” […] But until he dropped out of the race, varmint hunting was the dog on the roof of Romney’s 2008 campaign. (Running on Empty, 15/6/12)
63: David Brooks: Gail, people are always asking me who is going to win the election. […]
Gail Collins: Wow, almost nobody asks me who’s going to win. Mostly people just want to talk about the dog on the roof of Romney’s car. (The Presidential Cage Match, blog conversation with David Brooks, 30/5/12)
62: I kind of like the logjam. I am seeing Mitt, in lumberjack garb, in the middle of a river full of downed trees and the occasional committee chairman. Perhaps the Romney boys are along, singing family songs. Maybe the dog is strapped to a fallen sycamore. (Deciphering Mitt-Speak on Schools, 25/5/12)
61: Our subject for today is: Presidential nominating conventions — why are they still around? Other possible subjects were: […] The new sensation of dancing dogs on TV talent shows and how many of them do you think were ever made to ride on the roof of a car? (It’s Their Party, 16/5/12)
60: [Mitt Romney] is a guy who is not capable of taking responsibility for his past actions. I’m not just talking about the fact that he can’t bring himself to say it wasn’t a good idea to drive to Canada with the family dog on the roof of his car. (Playing Left, Right — or Center, blog conversation with David Brooks, 16/5/12)
59: Perhaps you may remember that Romney once drove to Canada with the family Irish setter stuck in a cage on the station wagon roof. When he was originally asked about it, he claimed the dog “loves fresh air.” This was more than four years ago. What would have happened if Romney had just said: “Boy, in retrospect that really does sound like a bad idea. But you have to remember that we had five boys under the age of 14. It was like living in a vortex; we did all kinds of stupid stuff.” Do you think the nation — particularly the part that has ever tried to drive long distances with a car full of children — would have been understanding? I personally would never have mentioned the incident at all. But since we haven’t gotten that sort of input, I kind of feel free to bring it up now and then. (The Anatomy of a Jokester, 11/5/12)
58: The only absolute rule is to discount things a presidential candidate did before age 18. If Mitt Romney names Marco Rubio as his vice presidential nominee, it is not fair to point out that Rubio was also once a Mormon because the conversion and deconversion happened between the ages of 8 and 13. Also eating dog meat when you are a child in Indonesia is not the same thing as driving to Canada with the family Irish setter strapped to the roof of the car when you are 36. (Obama’s Wonderful Town, 4/5/12)
57: Did you ever notice how many of the Republican candidates seemed to have animal issues? Rick Perry shot that coyote, and Jon Huntsman got bitten by a goat — really, that was the high point of the Huntsman campaign. Also, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, the veep front-runner, recently imitated a chicken on television. […] And the winner is the guy who drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car! (The End of Newt, 25/4/12)
56: Republican Swamp People — The Romneys move to the Everglades in an effort to woo the swing state of Florida. Excitement ensues when Mitt tries to drive to a rally with an alligator strapped to the roof of the car. (Godfathers, Caterpillars and Golf, 6/4/12)
55: Our topic today is picking the worst new trend of the political season. Not including putting the dog on the car roof. (Time to Elect the Wost Idea, 30/3/12)
54: Really, if you want to make [voters] irritated, better to go back to the dog on the car roof. Nobody likes thinking about that dog. (Who Doesn’t Love a List, 23/3/12)
53: If Romney couldn’t even take a clear stand on Rush Limbaugh’s Slutgate, why would he say anything that forthright unless it was a total error? This is why we can’t get the dog-on-the-car-roof story straightened out. (The Bad News is Good News, 9/3/12)
52: I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but Mitt Romney once drove to Canada with the family Irish setter on the roof of the car. Seamus, the dog-on-the-roof, has become a kind of political icon. […] The story took place in 1983, when the Romney family made a 12-hour pilgrimage from Boston to a vacation home in Canada. Romney, his wife, Ann, and their five sons were in the station wagon. Seamus was in a crate, or kennel, on the roof. At some point — possibly in response to the excitement about being passed by tractor-trailers while floating like a furry maraschino cherry on top of the car, Seamus developed diarrhea. And Romney, who had designated all the acceptable rest stops before beginning the trip, was forced to make an unscheduled trip to a gas station. Where he kept the family in the car while he hosed down the station wagon and the dog, then returned to the highway. […] Elect Mitt Romney and he will take the nation on the road to the future. Some of us will be stuck on the roof. […] I’ve made a kind of game of trying to mention Seamus every time I write about Mitt Romney. […] This is a real person. A person who once drove to Canada with the family dog tied to the roof of the car. (Dogging Mitt Romney, 7/3/12, whole column dedicated to the Romney dog story)
51: David Brooks: I feel for Mitt Romney. Think of it. There he was a few years ago sitting on the front porch of his fourth summer home innocently wondering why the trees of New England are so unpleasantly tall, and he turns to his buddies, who own Nascar teams, hotel chains, political parties and various small emirates, and he asks them if it would be a good idea if he ran for president. They point out that a presidential campaign would allow him to recite obscure verses of patriotic songs all across America, so he agrees to do it.
Gail Collins: All the while knowing that he would eventually have to explain why he once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car … (Super Pac! Super Bad! 3/3/12, blog conversation with David Brooks)
50: Romney has already ruled out the payroll tax cap. Also, he once drove to Canada with his dog tied to the roof of the car. End of story. (A Big Day’s Coming, 29/2/12)
49: Was Romney ever saved from possible death by a 21-pound cat? No, but he did once drive to Canada with the family dog tied to the roof of the car. (Republican Truth or Dare, 24/2/12)
48: Take your pick, Republicans. On one hand, the guy who once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car. On the other, the guy who won his first Congressional race by criticizing his opponent for moving his family to Washington. And then later moved his own family to Washington […] (Four Dudes and a Table, 22/2/12)
47: But feel free to talk as much as you want about Mitt Romney and the dog. (The Politics of Absolutely Everything, 3/2/12)
46: Does anybody truly believe that Romney is planning to spend any presidential time dreaming up ways to fix the safety net for the benefit of the very poor? Be real. This is the guy who drove to Canada with the family dog strapped on the roof. (Mitt Speaks. Oh, No! 1/2/12)
45: Everybody has something. Rick Santorum lusted in his heart for earmarks. Mitt Romney drove to Canada with the family Irish setter strapped on the car roof. (Newt’s Real Legacy, 29/1/12)
44: On behalf of the people, I would like to say that, if elected, we promise to balance the budget, release Mitt Romney’s tax returns and pass a law against driving to Canada with an Irish setter tied to the roof of the car. (Opening Newt’s Marriage, 20/1/12)
43: And, while we’re at it, if you were that rich and had a very large family to take to Canada, wouldn’t you hire a plane? What kind of obsession is it that makes a multi-multi-multimillionaire show up for the GoldenTree Asset Management convention for a $68,000 fee? Or drive for 12 hours with the Irish setter strapped to the car roof? (Anchors Aweigh, My Boys, 18/1/12)
42: How many other major presidential candidates in recent history came from the business sector? How many drove to Canada with their family dog strapped to the roof of the car? (Who Still Wants to Be a Millionaire? 13/1/12)
41: And now Newt’s Web site has a video that basically asks whether America will elect a president who once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car. Which is, of course, an excellent question. (The Primary Primer, 11/1/12)
40: Did I ever mention that Romney once drove to Canada with the family Irish setter strapped to the roof of the car? The dog’s name was Seamus. New Hampshire Republicans, if you can’t think of anybody to vote for on Tuesday, consider writing in the name Seamus when you go to the polls. (The March of the Non-Mitts, 4/1/12)
39: [The Gingrich] campaign’s highlight of the week may have been the announcement that it was creating a “Pets With Newt” Web site to highlight the candidate’s love of animals. “Pets With Newt” may be an attempt to remind Iowans that Mitt Romney once drove to Canada with the family Irish setter strapped to the roof of the car. This is clearly a weak point in the Mitt armor, which came up this week in a Wall Street Journal interview with the candidate. “Uh — love my dog. That’s all I got for you,” Romney responded. (Remember the Alamo, 24/12/11)
38: Romney 2012 makes it sound as if he came into office and found abortion rights sitting in a dusty cardboard box in the closet and was chagrined when he remembered he had promised not to throw anything out. It would be as if he explained that trip to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the station wagon by saying: “I had the experience of going to get into the car and there was already a dog on the roof. So I turned on the ignition and I was effectively driving.” (An Early Holiday Hangover, 16/12/11)
37: I would say this is an extremely safe position for Romney to take because the odds are very good that no one has ever called Mitt zany in his entire life. Unless it was when he drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the station wagon. (“Hey, Mister, you got an Irish setter on top of your car. What are you, zany or something?”) (Mitt’s Zest for Zings, 14/12/11)
36: And maybe we could get over [Mitt Romney's] driving to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car if he’d just admit it was because he was too cheap to hire a dog-sitter. Maybe. (The Mitt Romney Pardon, 30/11/11)
35: David Brooks: That gives us a chance to talk about Romney and his weaknesses, which are glaring.
Gail Collins: Dog on the roof of the car. Dog on the roof of the car. (The Not-Romneys, 30/11/11, blog conversation with David Brooks)
34: I guess now there’s no chance anybody will ask Romney about the day he drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car. (Counting Really Small Blessings, 23/11/11)
33: There are a lot of mysteries in the Mitt saga. For instance, if you were a very wealthy father of five energetic young boys, would you choose to spend your vacation driving the whole family to Canada with the dog strapped to the roof of the car? Wouldn’t it be more fun to take a plane to Disneyland? (Republican Financial Plans, 18/11/11)
32: The antipathy toward Mitt Romney is the most fascinating part of a deeply fascinating political season. What is it about this guy? Is it just because he once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car? (Guess What It’s Time For!, 11/11/11)
31: Pity the Republican voters. They aren’t asking for much. They just want a candidate who’s really conservative but not totally crazy. Who has verbs in his sentences. Who didn’t drive to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car. (Wait! Don’t Tell Me!, 9/11/11)
30: Oh, wow! Rick Perry hit Mitt Romney with the illegal immigrant landscapers! […] 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. (Mitt and Begonia-gate, 19/10/11)
29: As things stand, the Perry camp is apparently planning to keep their guy in the background during debates and hit Romney over the head with mean commercials. That shouldn’t be too hard. Maybe they’ll include the day Mitt drove to Canada with the family dog on the car roof. (The Gift of Glib, 12/10/11)
28: I cannot really figure out that many ways to mention that Romney once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car. (Desparately Seeking Dalrymple, 5/10/11)
27: Do you think Mitt Romney has created the bad karma that was responsible for the total collapse of the Boston Red Sox? Do you think that if he’s elected president, no blue-state team will ever win the World Series again? Do you think his favorite sport is really baseball, or maybe luge racing? Is there a way to work the fact that he drove to Canada with the family dog strapped on the roof of the car into this story? (The Curse of the Mitt, 30/9/11)
26: I was wondering where I could fit in the dog on the roof. (Is This Man the G.O.P.’s Best Bet for 2012?, 28/9/11, blog conversation with David Brooks)
25: I don’t want to believe I live in a country that would seriously consider bestowing the nation’s highest office on a man who once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car. (Perry’s Bad Night, 23/9/11)
24: I admire the way Barack Obama has raised a dog in the White House without ever putting it on the roof of the car for a vacation drive. (Politicians, Love ’Em or Hate ’Em, 21/9/11)
23: [Perry’s] puppy-rescue is a stirring picture, especially considering that Perry’s chief competitor is the man who drove to Canada with the family dog Seamus strapped to the roof of the car. (Debating With the Stars, 7/9/11)
22: Try to imagine the Republican convention being asked to choose between Mitt Romney, who once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of his car, and the guy who shot a puppy-eating coyote. With a Ruger .380 with laser sights! (The Coyote Candidate, 27/5/11)
21: What is it that everybody hates so much about [Mitt Romney]? That he pioneered the Obama health care reform plan in Massachusetts and now denies it? That he’s ardently anti-abortion after having run for governor vowing endlessly to protect abortion rights? That he drove to Canada with the family dog strapped on the roof of his car? (And the G.O.P. Candidates Are …, 10/5/11, blog conversation with David Brooks)
20: Match the Republican presidential hopefuls: […]
2) Mitt Romney […]
C) Latest book fails to mention that he once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car. […] (The Spring Quiz, 6/5/11)
19: There is not a single mention in “No Apology” of the fact that Romney once drove to Canada with the family Irish setter strapped to the roof of the car. I regard this as a critical oversight, although perhaps it was Seamus that Romney was thinking of when he chose his title. (Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!, 15/4/11)
18: Perhaps I should point out that Romney was named after J. Willard Marriott, the hotel guy. And that he once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car. (What’s in a Nickname?, 25/3/11)
17: Match Republican presidential hopefuls with their 2010 achievements. […]
5. Mitt Romney […]
C) Continued to fail to explain why he drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car. […] (The End-of-the-Year Quiz, 31/12/10)
16: I hope somebody out there is thinking about a tasteful Mitt Romney Christmas ornament, perhaps showing Mitt’s family vacation to Canada, with Seamus the dog strapped in his cage on the roof. (The Gingrich Who Stole Christmas, 17/12/10)
15: I need to apologize to Mitt Romney. Here I was thinking of him as a failed politician with no discernible core values, who had once driven to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car. (Mitt Romney, Liberal Icon, 31/3/10)
14: Romney’s real big news moment this week occurred when he had an altercation with an unidentified passenger on a flight back from the Winter Olympics. […] And my sorrow in discovering that the fight did not involve retribution for the day Romney drove his dog to Canada strapped to the roof of the family car was ameliorated by my joy at the vision of Mitt having an argument with a rapper about proper seat positioning for takeoff. (The Wages of Rages, 19/2/10)
13: Romney’s most dramatic recent moment came when he was attacked by a fellow passenger on a flight home from the Olympics in Vancouver. […] Maybe he was an animal lover, still seething over the fact that Romney once drove his family to Canada for a vacation with their Irish setter, Seamus, strapped to the roof of the car. (Time to Party Like It’s 1854, 18/2/10)
12: Identify the speaker: “You’re a punk! You’re a dog! You always were a dog your whole life, you punk dog.”
a) Mitt Romney to Seamus, the Irish setter he strapped on the roof of the car during a family trip to Canada. […] (The Year-End Quiz, 1/1/10)
11: Mitt Romney ran against Ted Kennedy for the Senate during one of Kennedy’s particularly unslender periods. The Romney camp ran film of Kennedy struggling to squeeze behind a table. […] Of course, Kennedy cleaned his clock. This is my second-favorite Mitt Romney story. I couldn’t figure out any way to bring up the one about him driving to Canada with the family dog strapped to the car roof. (The Eye of the Beholder, 9/10/09)
10: I have to admit there’s something about Mitt that I find really creepy, even when I’m not dwelling on that time he drove to Canada with the family dog strapped on the roof. (The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, 1/7/09, blog conversation with David Brooks)
9: Unlike Joe Lieberman, Palin is a member of the same party as the presidential candidate. And unlike Mitt Romney, she has never gone on vacation with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car. (McCain’s Baked Alaska, 19/3/09)
8: Match the presidential candidates: […]
4) Mitt Romney […]
E) Drove to Canada with the family dog strapped on the roof of the car. […] (The Year-End Quiz, 3/1/09)
7: I miss Mitt Romney. Sure, he was sort of smarmy. But when Mitt was around, the banks had money and Iceland was solvent. And, of course, when we got bored, we could always talk about how he drove to Canada with his Irish setter strapped to the car roof. (Dear Old Golden Dog Days, 10/10/08)
6: Who are Barack Obama and John McCain going to choose for their running mates? I’m praying that McCain selects Mitt Romney so I can repeatedly revisit the time Mitt drove to Canada with the family dog on the station-wagon roof. (Vice is Nice, 21/6/08)
5: Do you miss the primaries yet? Personally, I was happiest when the field was crowded and, if all else failed, you could always whip up something about Dennis Kucinich or Mitt Romney’s dog. (Primary Days of Yore, 5/6/08, blog conversation with David Brooks)
4: I’m going to have to get through the rest of the year without ever again referring to the fact that Romney once drove to Canada with the family dog, Seamus, strapped to the roof of the car. (The Revenge of Seamus, 9/2/08)
3: Romney has no known vices, except packing the family dog on top of the car during long trips. (Presidential Shopping List, 22/11/07)
2: 1. When Mitt Romney’s son revealed that his dad once drove to Canada with Seamus, the Irish setter, stuck in a crate on the car roof, the Republican presidential candidate explained that he did it because Seamus:
A) Was asking for it.
B) Loves fresh air.
C) Has bad breath. […]
4. According to The Boston Globe, near the end of Mitt Romney’s race for governor in 2002, his campaign ran an ad that was so unpopular it almost cost him the election. The ad was:
A) An endorsement by Seamus. […]
15. Norman Hsu is: […]
C) Little-known blogger who broke the Seamus scandal online. (The Campaign-So-Far Quiz, 13/10/07)
1: Every time I see [Mitt Romney], 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. As The Boston Globe reported this summer, Romney had the entire trip planned so rigidly that every gas station stop was predetermined before departure. During the fatal trip of ‘83, Seamus apparently needed one more than the schedule allowed. When evidence of the setter’s incontinence came running down the back windshield, Romney abandoned his itinerary and drove to the closest gas station, where he got a hose and sprayed both dog and station wagon clean. […] Romney has already come under considerable fire from animal rights groups over the Seamus incident. “They’re not happy that my dog loves fresh air,” Romney snapped back. He said that just recently, in Pittsburgh, although Seamus had actually long since shuffled off this mortal coil. Is it possible that Romney is trying to dodge the Republican YouTube debate because he’s afraid someone will ask him about his method of transporting dogs across long distances? (Haunted by Seamus, 4/8/07, whole column dedicated to the Romney dog story)