September 21st, 2007
06:41 AM ET
16 years ago

Too nasty, too soon?

Watch the Best Political Team on TV analyze the recent more nasty, more personal attacks on the 2008 presidential campaign trail.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - With less than four months until primary voters begin to weigh in, it's beginning to get nasty out on the campaign trail.

As presidential candidates try to mobilize supporters and distance themselves from the rest of the pack, they, or their campaigns, are increasingly leveling attacks on one another – and it's getting personal.

Just last night, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, a top surrogate for Sen. Hillary Clinton, slammed former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani over his well documented marriage history and reportedly poor relationship with his children.

Also yesterday, Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Sen. John Edwards, accused Clinton of "insider cronyism" and trading political access for campaign donations.

Are all these attacks too much, too soon? Or are they necessary given the crowded presidential fields in both parties and the need for candidates to differentiate themselves from one another?

What do you think? Weigh in below.

soundoff (166 Responses)
  1. Anonymous


    September 21, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. Greg, Iowa

    Gee Patricia, Did you perhaps think for a moment that they are simply invested in their husbands’ campaigns like anyone else, and that they simply receive this media attention because of their relationship. While they are inarguably biased and more likely then not taking advantage of the spotlight they have, I know I would be saying similar things were I given a television crew. I also think that by now it should be clear that none of these candidates are afraid to get dirty on the campaign trail. The accusation that they are using their wives suggests more then is actually going on.

    September 21, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. Rob

    The lead graph in this story is one the MSM writes every four years, and who cares? Focus on the issues. Focus on the issues. Focus on the issues.

    September 21, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. Michael Fulfer Temple Texas

    I think everyone in politics are crooks. They all suck, the point in case if they where not then they would set term restrictions for congress and the sen. but they wont and there all asswholes..........And you can use my quote and name if you want i don't care if everyone know i think they all suck..........Thank you

    September 21, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. VJM, Newburgh, NY

    All of the candidates should focus on the issues at hand and the condition of this country. In doing that it will keep them more than busy so they will not have time for all this other NON IMPORTANT nonsense that they get themselves wrapped up in. This is about OUR COUNTRY not high school stuff of she said he said.

    September 21, 2007 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. Deborah H. Arrington, Kingsport Tennessee

    Politics is not for the fainthearted. Any reasonably in-depth study of U.S. history will reveal that U.S. politics has always been intensely always will be. Accordingly, all those contemplating running for office understand that their current and past lives as well as those of their families and friends are fair game. With that in mind, it's just amazing that we are still seeing situations like the Craig (gay), Vitter (straight), and Foley (gay) affairs. Don't ask/don't tell is apparently the policy in the U.S. Congress also. Who's next?

    September 21, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. Linda Johnson, Hawthorne, CA

    I think Elizabeth Edwards is hurting her husband and the party with her attack comments. Stick to the issues. Offer a better plan. Stop the attacks. They detrack for the candiate and what he was to offer in order to get my vote.

    September 21, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. Jene Moseley, Silver City, NM

    Well, with all the campaigning and mudslinging beginning earlier and earlier, we voters will be sick and tired of ALL the candidates by convention time and sick of both nominees by election time. It's an insult to our democratic system and needs to stop. The public needs to voice it's anger with this childish behavior and maybe it will have an impact.

    September 21, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. Scott Lenz, Sarasota FL

    Honestly, if a person can't be honest, faithful, and trusting to the person he pledged (honor and obey, for better, for poorer, until death do us part), how honest, faithful, and trusting will he be to the faceless masses he has never met personally?

    Character issues should be key in this election as we have had lot's of examples of poor poor character in the white house. I don't want someone who's character is questionable to be the person who is the forefront of our nation's image to the world.

    If you want to revolutionize the governmental process, you need to do so with someone who isn't already in the pocket of other individuals or organizations. Strong character is a good indication of someone not being easily subverted by pandering special interests, and who will actually have great concern for the needs and desires of the nation of people that person has been chosen to lead.

    September 21, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  10. Christina, Honolulu, HI

    I think there is a "right" way and a "wrong" way to sling mud.

    I find a lot of the comments to be completely immature and at some of the debates I half expected one candidate to point to another and say "they started it."

    I know it's all part of the game of politics but I don't feel you need to smear your opponent to prove that you're the best candidate for the job.

    That's what's really important. Who the BEST, most qualified candidate is.

    September 21, 2007 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. John, Portland, OR

    Don't forget Vince Foster. That mysterious death needs to be resurfaced and investigated deeper. Please do not put the Clintons back in the White House.

    September 21, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. Betty, Dallas, TX

    Yeah, dolt, let's bring up Vince Foster again (after how many zillion investigations) and make his family have to re-live his tragic suicide. What a stupid insensitive comment on your part.

    September 21, 2007 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  13. sluggabohn

    I have exactly 2 black friends, and both have made it abundantly clear that they will be voting for Obama. When I asked them why, they gave the generic "for change" answer. When I asked them about his beliefs and platforms, they both stammered and guffawed. It was obvious that they would be voting black, regardless of the candidate, regardless of his positions, regardless of the issues and regardless of qualifications. So, I took Obama out of consideration for my vote – regardless of (see the above).

    September 21, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  14. EJ Robinson, North Canton, Oh

    Is there going to be an election in 2008? I thought the Political Pundits, poll takers and cable television media Anchors, and the experts, had all voted and determined who the next President is going to be. This election is becoming a television "Reality Show". We all know that Reality shows need good ratings to survive, therefore, surprise, surprise the "Candidates" are starting to talk "trash" about each other...wouldn't it be great if for once we could have civilized election. It is disturbing to know the media, in its attempt to shape policy and rig this election...have already chosen the front runners and decided who will win. When you use "Swift Boats" and "General Betray Us" ads to elect the get George W. Bush clones on both side of the aisle and the American is the loser on election day. I would suggest candidates stand up and step up and do the honarable issues and leave the "Junk Yard Dog" style of running behind us..and elect the best woman or man for the job because the best candidate won on merits. We are losing voters every day because of the nasty, personal attacks. Candidates please just stop it, you are running for the highest office office in America..not the "Biggest Bully" on the play ground.

    September 22, 2007 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  15. A. Thomas, New York, NY

    Based on the polls, Hillary is the one to beat, by the republican candidates and other dem candidate.

    Obwards and Obama are losing grounds in polls and their political lives may be finished by next February.

    The republican candidates have to show that they can challenge Hillary, if nominated by the republican party.

    These people have to give out false rumours to trash her. Dirty politics!

    Go Hillary go!

    September 22, 2007 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  16. Prince, Sedona, Arizona

    I am shocked and dismayed that this country can find no alternative to the tired 'won't go away' politics of the Clintons. It further proves that qualified men and women don't want to get into the dirty business of politics. To answer your question, I am surprised that the campaign 2008 has not gotten dirtier and nastier because of whose in the race.

    September 23, 2007 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
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