UPDATE: I wrote the basics of this in a comment this morning, but I was at the DC Walk for the Homeless, and so could only update via my blackberry. I have been contacted by Vic Lundquist, who’s post is referenced below. Lindquist described the caption as a "mistake" and has back-pedaled on it. At the same time, Ben Lindorf, the son of the Lindorfs discussed below emailed me to say, "My parents are avid supporters of Mitt Romney, and would love to be friends with him."
UPDATE: Vic Lindquist, whose site had the original picture, is accusing me of being dishonest. I said that Ron Lindorf was the chairman of Western Wats. Where did I get this infromation? From Ron Lindorf’s bio at BYU. But it was changed recently. That’s how this has worked. Lindquist comes under scrutiny and changes his story. Ron Lindorf’s relationship with Western Wats comes under scrutiny and the story gets changed. So let’s be clear. This WAS a Lindorf family firm. Ron is the Founder. Until recently, he was chairman. And Paul recently retired from working at Western Wats. Claiming that Western Wats and Lindorf are not linked is totally disingenuous.
So I spent most of the day being unsure of the various theories about the push-polls. Some people have suggested that Mitt Romney could be behind it, like Liz Mair, David Freddoso, and Allahpundit, although Allah has clarified that he no longer thinks that. But just as possibly, it could be an outside group.
I did ask, however, this question:
If someone is trying to slime Mitt Romney with his religion, do they really go to a Utah-based call center run by people in Romney’s world? Wouldn’t they know that it would get out? What does it tell us if it doesn’t?
Something didn’t square. After all, it seemed likely that the people running Western Wats were in the same social circles as the Romneys. I was right.
Check out this picture from the blog Elect Romney in 2008:
The woman in the picture is Teena Lindorf, sister-in-law of Ron Lindorf, the Founder and Chairman of Western Wats. According to the blog, the photo was taken by Paul Lindorf, her husband and Ron Lindorf’s brother. The caption says:
Romney’s last greeting with friend Teena Lindorf before entering car (photo by Paul Lindorf)
(emphasis in the original)
The author of the blog post is a friend of the Lindorf family. He writes:
Today I attended an “Ask Mitt Anything” townhall meeting at Chapman University in Orange, CA (where Hugh Hewitt teaches law) with my daughter Bree and friends Paul & Teena Lindorf
So let’s get this straight. Mitt Romney is friends with the family of the Founder and Chairman of the company that is placing anti-Mormon and anti-Romney phone calls?
This morning Hugh Hewitt said:
If the campaign that used appeals to religious bigotry is identified, it will be over for that candidate. Let’s hope someone inside Western Wats tips the MSM.
I wonder if Hugh still thinks that.
UPDATE: David Freddoso and Allah Pundit want to make it very clear that they did not suggest that the Romney campaign is behind it. I am not making that claim either. Just that people in Romney’s circle appear to be responsible for it.
UPDATE: Liz Mair has more completely described her position here. She doesn’t think that Romney is behind this but that something smells pretty bad nonetheless.