President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney opine about wanting a high-minded campaign — but the race the two men are actually running is marked by an increasingly personal and vicious tone that may well define the 2012 presidential election.
Neither side is proud of what’s happened. But neither side is willing to give first. And neither is able to discuss the big issues of the campaign, from Romney’s background at Bain Capital to economic policy, without resorting to a stick-in-your-eye back-and-forth.
“There is an element here of ‘I know you are, but what am I’ to this charge,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said last week, firing back at a question about Romney calling the president the “outsourcer in chief” — itself a response to Obama calling the Republican candidate an “outsourcing pioneer.”
On Monday, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz made the toddler campaign explicit, saying on MSNBC that Romney and his staff “need to put their big boy and big girl pants on and defend his record.”
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