He walked like a duck and quacked like a duck...
Yes, Romney kept his chinos clean, as the New York Times suggests in a report on Romney's "no, thank you" to Vietnam during his undergraduate days at Stanford. At various times in his life, Mitt Romney has altered his position on the Vietnam war according to what the moment calls for. Ever the establishmentarian and conformist, Romney seems to have spent much of his life altering opinions and often facts to conform to the requirements of the moment.
The cultural divide that opened that school year on California campuses forever changed some young men. The new Stanford student president, David Harris, was later imprisoned for refusing military service. Some freshmen in Mr. Romney’s dormitory, Rinconada Hall, joined an antiwar commune or fought the draft as conscientious objectors.
Mr. Romney, though, stayed true to his chinos and the Vietnam War, even joining a counterprotest against the occupation of the office of the university president, Wallace Sterling. Forty-six years later, some classmates remember his pro-war stand as principled and heartfelt; others say he merely championed the worldview of his father, George Romney, then Michigan’s governor, a war supporter and a future contender for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination. Still others say he sailed through the most schismatic moral and political issue of that time — and perhaps of any period since in the United States — with neither much angst nor introspection. ...NYT
Next, France. Not the France of exploration or mind-opening travel. Romney opted for the France of "missionary" work -- the mission, of course, being to stay clear of Vietnam.
Mr. Romney left Stanford early to serve for 30 months as a missionary abroad, as is customary for devout Mormon men.
During that period in France, from 1966 to 1968, he held another draft exemption as a missionary — a controversial one, as critics complained that it disproportionately excluded Mormon men from service.
The Selective Service eventually limited church districts to one religious deferment every six months, sharply reducing draft exemptions in Utah. But in Michigan, where Mr. Romney grew up, the small Mormon population made it unlikely that others competed for the mission that Mr. Romney accepted, said Barry Mayo, a counselor at the time to the district bishop. (After returning from France, Mr. Romney transferred to Brigham Young University and again secured a student deferment.) ...NYT
Later, of course, Romney found it convenient to restate his position on Vietnam... at least a couple of times.
After saying in an interview during his failed bid to unseat Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts in 1994 that he had no interest in military service as a youth, Mr. Romney said in 2007 during his first run for the Republican presidential nomination that he had sometimes longed to join the troops in Vietnam. ...NYT
Clean chinos or not, Mitt Romney was a very different cut of cloth from his father, a man of occasional and uncomfortable principle.
In August 1967, as Mr. Romney proselytized in the south of France, his blunt-spoken father abruptly turned against the Vietnam War, calling himself a victim of “brainwashing” by officials from the State Department and the Pentagon, comments that helped doom his already faltering presidential candidacy. ...NYT
At that particular moment in history, son Mitt declared the war a "political blunder," only to restate his position several times in the coming decades.