Campaign 2012: How low can you go?
August 14th, 2012
03:52 PM ET
2 years ago

Campaign 2012: How low can you go?

(CNN) - To listen to some Republicans, one might think President Barack Obama is doing the limbo.

"The Obama Campaign has reached a new low," declared Mitt Romney campaign Press Secretary Andrea Saul in a Tuesday statement battering Vice President Joe Biden, who at a speech earlier Tuesday said Romney would deregulate the financial sector and "put y'all back in chains."

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Just over an hour later, she emailed reporters another statement billed as a "Response to President Obama's Newest Low."

In a campaign which has been brutal and nasty on both sides - by one metric, plagued with ads significantly more negative than those aired in the last campaign for the White House - the Romney campaign's response that Obama, the Democrats, and their allies are hitting "new lows" has become a familiar refrain.

The Team Romney-termed Tuesday low of the Obama campaign was apparently a decline from Saturday, when Romney introduced his new running mate and said that while "the president's campaign is taking American politics to new lows, we're going to do something very differently."

And, presumably, it was lower than the Obama campaign stood Thursday, when Romney adviser Barbara Comstock told CNN's Kate Bolduan that a new ad by the Obama campaign "is definitely a new low." Comstock said the incumbent's campaign sunk to that benchmark by "lying yesterday about knowing the story of this gentleman" who appeared in a pro-Obama super PAC ad which linked Romney to the death of the man's wife. An Obama spokeswoman initially said the Obama campaign was unaware of the man's story, although it emerged the campaign had once used his story in a briefing for reporters.

At the same time she maintained a Romney fundraising pitch which referenced the anti-Romney ad was "not at all" a new low.

And after Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said someone - whose identity he has not revealed - told him that Romney had not paid taxes in years, Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told CNN's Candy Crowley that "the Obama campaign has turned into a bottomless pit. Everyday they seem to reach a new low."

The previous record for a new low in Team Romney's view - according to a survey of press releases and transcripts - was set in mid-July when Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter said that "Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony, or he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments."

Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades responded, "President Obama's campaign hit a new low today when one of its senior advisers made a reckless and unsubstantiated charge to reporters about Mitt Romney that was so over the top that it calls into question the integrity of their entire campaign."

A review of press releases and statements suggests the supposed decline picked up in intensity last May. That month, the Romney campaign press secretary, Saul, said in an email to reporters that "President Obama and his administration have sought to blame America first, yet Vice President Biden's reckless statement yesterday blaming America for – of all things – the progress of Iran's nuclear weapons program, has reached a new low."

Earlier in May, Republican National Committee Co-Chairwoman Sharon Day remarked in a statement, "Democrats and their Big Labor allies in South Carolina have sunk to a new low, with the president of the state AFL-CIO bashing a piñata effigy of Gov. Nikki Haley with a baseball bat."

But as far back as April, Romney's campaign emailed reporters charging that "President Obama's government by gimmick is reaching another new low today," and RNC Communications Director said Obama "and his desperate Chicago campaign have resorted to the very tactics they campaigned against less than four years ago... he has taken politics to a new low."

A search of archived press releases and transcripts for those referencing "new low" and "Romney" found over 300 results in the past year. Although peppered throughout those results are a few reports on mortgage rates, public opinion polls, and mentions not directly related to the campaign, the volume of examples related to the campaign indicates how often surrogates and supporters of the Massachusetts Republican use the phrase in interviews, and how those words have become lodged in the political discussion.

Democrats have, on occasion, fired the charge back at Romney and his allies. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz told reporters on a conference call in June that "today, we learned that Mitt Romney has truly sunk to a new low." She organized the call in response to a news report that the Romney campaign had asked some governors to downplay good economic news in their state for political gain - a report the Romney campaign denied.

And with every claim of a "new low" comes the distinct possibility that the presidential campaigns will struggle to reach new heights.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. nmmell08

    If you can't stand the heat get out of the Kitchen Romney. The Republicans are known for Swift Boating and Rove deception for a reason. Now Obama has brought the fight to you with some legit concerns (yes there is hyperbole from Biden, the chains reference is not called for) and you go "Its low blows" while at the same time your lying about his Welfare plan and attacking the ACA for medicare cuts (which is hypocristy b/c yours/Ryans plan does the same). Your cuts got to Tax cuts for the rich, Obama's (which are not cuts but slow down of the increase funding of medicare, so could be Romney's i don't know all the details) goes to funding 30 million americans getting health insurence

    August 14, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. drake mallard

    Romney confirms Bain had investors in El Salvador. But, as was Bain's
    policy with any big investor, they had the families checked out as
    diligently as possible," the Tribune wrote. "They uncovered no unsavory links to drugs or other criminal activity."

    The connection between the families involved with Bain's founding and those who financed death squads was made by the Boston Globe in 1994 and the Salt Lake Tribune in 1999. This election cycle, Salon first raised the issue in January, and the Los Angeles Times filled out more of the record earlier this month.

    There is no shortage of unsavory links. Even the Tribune
    article referred to by the Romney campaign reports that "about $6.5
    million of $37 million that established the company came from wealthy El
    Salvadoran families linked to right-wing death squads.

    August 14, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. MDNA = MaDge Not Applicable

    Oh, the Saul skirt is just a Barbie doll, pull her chain and she says "Obama hits new low, blah, blah, blah..."

    On the other hand, that Cutter chick is gaining my respect, she nailed Robme complaining about Joe's "chains" comment when she pointed that it was no less than Robme himself that was saying he needed to "unshackle" businesses, and Joe was merely pointing out how Robme would "chain" the middle class.

    Saul, it helps to have facts instead of always relying on "faux" outrage.

    I am available for counseling on how to be a snarky b!tch, and only on a cash basis!

    August 14, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. BLKMANinAmerica

    Romney+Ryan=America's worst LIERS. But that is what repuks will go with, because the TRUTH hurts them so much.

    August 14, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. WiredWeirdinSF

    I love the way that one dope addict described the Romney campaign is whining. Its just that Republicans don't resort to calling people who disagree with them racist, i guess. If you disagree with the most incompetent, inept, corrupt President we have ever had you will get some sort of label from the liberally biased media. It would be nice if Obama actuallly told the truth and stuck to the issues, but that would mean a sure loss for the democrat liberals, so divert attention and call names they must.

    August 14, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. LouAZ

    "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."..... H. L. Mencken

    August 14, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. nonsense

    something about the picture just creeps me out.
    Is he the almighty saving a bunch of sinners? oh sorry, it is him baptizing the dead into Mormon afterlife.

    August 14, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. Brooke

    Romney is a kid a cry baby and a FAKE.......game over....tell us Romney how low you are getting ready to go.....

    August 14, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. Como

    This article is garbage. No mention of the Soptic ad that lies pathetically, no mention of Biden's comment "Put Y'all back in chains" race baiting comment, no mention of the lies about Obamacare not soaking Medicare of $716 bill. in 10 years and putting seniors at the mercy of a 15 member bureaucratic health panel when Ryan's plan does not do that to those over 55 years of age. What a bogus article.

    August 14, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. Como

    Why is my comment awaiting moderation, it is not profane, it is absolutely factual, oh you don't like it do you CNN.

    August 14, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. SOUTHERN TWOTTEE

    >How low can Obama go?

    lower than whale poop at the bottom of the mariannas trench....

    August 14, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  12. trex

    the Ryan Budget ELIMINATES THE USA's CONTRACT with our SENIORS AND NEAR SENIORS. He replaces Medicare with a.... VOUCHER ...THAT WILL ...NOT... PAY FOR PRIVATE INSURANCE. Would YOU invest in a company that supplies 85 year olds health care coverage, and makes ZERO PROFITS?...........of course not.....

    August 14, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. IF YOU SIGNED GROVER'S PLEDGE, YOU ARE A TRAITOR TO THE U.S.

    How about Willard put his whole campaign team up against Stephanie Cutter. She will eat them alive. She gives me a John Boehner.

    August 14, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. ART

    Really Americans do we really want a plutocrat running our country?

    August 14, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. GOP = Greed Over People

    I can just hear Mitt the Twit whining on the 3 A.M. call, "you have hit a new low, you brute, you are such a ruffian"!

    I feel SSSSOOOOO secure!!!

    August 14, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. No Stones

    Is wittle bittle Mitty afraid of campaigning? Does he even have a pair?

    Keep up the pressure President Obama, when this stoneless, spineless, hot bag of wind really snaps, it's gonna make the Yellowstone Caldera eruption look like Mentos in a Coke can.

    August 14, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  17. Ronda in Houston,TX

    Romney the Puppet Liar is not use to being called names. He is use to being the name caller and clipper.

    August 14, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. lilly

    So what is the difference between that and Romney constantly calling the POTUS the Welfare or Food stamp president?
    PLEEEEZZZEEE!!

    August 14, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. myviewis

    Is Biden talking about blacks when they were slaves "put y'all back in chains." Sorry, I have never heard this expression (I'm an ex-foreigner, U.S. Citizen). Explain please.

    August 14, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    Santorum used the analogy. Bachman used the chains/slavery analogy. Allen West just came straight out and accused Obama of wanting "you to be his slave" and talked abotu the "Democrat plantation." The "chains," "shackles" and similar analogies are myriad on both sides of the aisle. This is nothing more than the King of the Spoiled Brats throwing another poutrage tantrum.

    August 14, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  21. truth hurts

    >How low can Obama go?

    well he keeps digging us deeper and deeper in debt every day so the answer would have to be China I guess.

    August 14, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  22. A not-so-stupid former republican

    Romney is a vulture capitalist who pioneered outsourcing of American jobs to China. I'd call that a new low in human decency but no one has ever accused Romney of being human. Mitt the Twit even resembles a turkey vulture.

    August 14, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  23. winstonsmith

    "Its just that Republicans don't resort to calling people who disagree with them racist"

    You're right, instead they call people un-American, Godless and useless.

    August 14, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. Pete

    WiredweirdinSF,get your facts straight hypocrite,you're the ones with the obstructionistic party of "NO" that's racially charged and you know it with your KKK captain in Mitch McConnell who if you know anything bought his seat at over 10 x what his challenger spent in his reelection bid,nice ha!!This president hasn't gotten any respect,any bipartisanship ,only hatred from anyone with an "R" coming after them and you know it!!You hypocritical idiots have only voted for losers and its been that way since Hoover and his catastrophic Great Depression to your moronic Bush 43 and his two unfunded wars with lies and unfunded Medicare Part D,plus trying like hell to sell the idea to citizens to give your SocialSecurity to Wall Street,right smart ass!!So now you have a pair of wealthy elitist who you think is going to help get our economy back on its feet,you all need psychological help because they're losers just like all the rest you thought were there for you,get checked up guy ya need it!!!

    August 14, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  25. The REAL Truth...

    @WiredWeirdinSF – Its just that Republicans don't resort to calling people who disagree with them racist
    -----------------------------------
    Maybe not, and I have my doubts about that, but then every other name in the book is NOT off limits is it? The distortion of FACT, the Grand Obstructionist Party's revisionist view of history and their penchant for dirty pool is blatantly obvious to most Americans.
    Perhaps they should review the REAL aftermath and carnage left by the last Repug president! Evaporation of $1/2 trillion surplus, -8.9% GDP, $11 TRILLION national debt -$6.4T added by Dubya, $1.47 TRILLION deficit, $2.8 TRILLION in tax cuts (unpaid for), TWO Wars (unpaid for), Medicare prescription plan (unpaid for), $3 TRILLION borrowed from China, BILLION dollar no-bid contracts award to the military-industrial complex, a Wall Street, Banking, Auto, Mortgage crisis, losing over 700,000 jobs monthly and a economy heading into Depression when President Obama took office!

    Look up the definition of insanity, then look in the mirror.

    August 14, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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