#USelections2012: A nasty campaign

This Week: More mud-slinging in an ever-mean campaign; another Joe Biden Gaffe.

Mitt Romney on the campaign trail 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Mitt Romney on the campaign trail 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Mud-slinging:  Nobody likes it, everybody condemns it and many even blame it for growing divisions in society. But it is an effective campaign tool, and as the 2012 US presidential elections has shown, it is here to stay.  Their only drawback is that campaigns employing too much negativity can be called out for their nay-saying ways (usually in negative campaign ads from the other side, of course).
US President Barack Obama’s campaign has relentlessly hammered at Republican rival Mitt Romney, keeping the former Massachusetts governor at bay in the polls. Its most recent campaign ad is no exception, lambasting the GOP team over it stance on Medicare (a new focus given the recent choice of budget guru Paul Ryan as the Republican VP pick). The clip has attracted some 100,000 views on YouTube.
Viral video of the week:
Clearly concerned that the message would sink in, Paul Ryan did what any smart politician would do: he called in his mother – a 78-year-old senior citizen herself - to help out in Florida.
But parents can only help so much. Key among the factors leaving Romney behind is his lack of likability; many independents still see the president in a favorable light, and cut him slack for inheriting a tough situation. The Romney campaign hopes to change that by casting light on the president’s negativity, and has taken their message to social media to do so:
Tweet of the week:
The Tweet was a response to the most recent gaffe by US Vice President Joe Biden, who told a largely African American crowd on the campaign trail: “They're going to put y'all back in chains.” Biden, of course, responded that the Republicans were overly-focused on negativity instead of substance, and even mentioned the Tweet with disdain: “I'm told that when I made that comment earlier today in Danville, Virginia, the Romney campaign put out a tweet. You know, tweets these days? Put out a tweet, went on the airwaves saying, 'Biden, he's outrageous in saying that,' ...If you want to know what's outrageous, it's their policies and the effects of their policies on middle class America. That's what's outrageous.”
In a subsequent campaign speech, Romney said of the campaign, “Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago.”
But whether or not the pundits and politicians would like to say that campaign meanness has reached new levels, former Democratic aide Blake Zeff points out in BuzzFeed that nastiness is part and parcel of all recent campaigns. “This false claim,” he says of the notion that the campaign has hit a new lows “is a quadrennial tradition, frequently raised by struggling campaigns, as predictable as it is unsubstantiable,” providing ample reminders from 2004 and 2008 for comparison.
When it comes to mud-slinging campaign nastiness, however, the past two presidential elections set the bar rather low.
#USelections2012 offers weekly insight into the US presidential election through a social media lens, tracking candidates as they try to reach 270 electoral votes in 140 characters or less.

The writer is a Breaking News editor and blogger at The Jerusalem Post. Read his blog ‘The Bottom Line’ here.