Mitt Romney will no longer reference having met one of the former Navy SEALs who died in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi after a complaint from the slain soldier's mother, the campaign confirmed Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Romney began telling the story of a chance meeting with Glen Doherty, the former SEAL, at a Christmas party in San Diego. Romney told the story again Wednesday during a town hall meeting in Mt. Vernon, Ohio.
"We had a nice chat together, he served as a Navy SEAL and after his service as a SEAL, after a number of years, he had stayed involved in the Middle East," Romney said, adding that he was later "shocked" to learn Doherty was one of the foreign service officers killed in the terrorist attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11 of this year.
Romney said he had learned Doherty had been safely stationed a mile away, but went to help his colleagues when he heard of the attack.
"They went to the attack, they didn't hunker down and hide themselves," Romney said. "That's what Americans do, when there's a challenge, there's a threat, we go there."
But Tuesday night, Doherty's mother complained to the NBC affiliate in Boston that Romney was politicizing her son's death.
"I don't trust Romney," Barbara Doherty told WHDH-TV. "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 Romney campaign's decision to pull the story from the Republican nominee's stump speech was originally reported by BuzzFeed.
"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," Romney spokesman Kevin Madden told the website.
The decision to pull the anecdote comes on the first day of congressional testimony to the House Oversight Committee into the attacks on the Benghazi consulate.
Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) called the hearing amid allegations that the State Department denied requests for additional security for the compound before the attacks.
Romney has seized on the attack to hammer President Obama's foreign policy, painting the president as weak and charging him with underestimating the threats from post-Arab Spring governments.