Campaign 2012: How low can you go?
August 14th, 2012
03:52 PM ET
9 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 piƱata 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. Cassie

    This feels like Palin whining back in 08' LOL I'm wandering does Mitt have any backbone or is he just a wimp? Republicans never had this many candidates that whine.

    August 14, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. bb

    Oblunder knows what a crappy job he has done, if not do u want someone that stupid in office. He was on the view again yesterday, instead of working on the economy.. Wise up democraps if this is best u got go home and cry.
    He said i will not run if unemp is over 6% and didnt cut deficet in half, OBLUNDER U DID BUILD OUR DEFICET JUST LEAVE, AMERICA HATES U LOSER!!!!

    August 14, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    "Sock Puppets For Plutocrats, Mittens 2012." Mittens spent hundreds of millions of dollars trashing his own party presidential candidates on lies, misrepresentations, and dirt. Now he whines like a school girl if any one quotes him.

    August 14, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. Paul

    Well that's a good thing he has a big role because he is a big cow.
    Is he a carrier of swine flu or just a swine??

    August 14, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. ken stephens

    Well it appears that Obama keeps breaking his own record for lows. Anything to take away the focus from his dismal record with the economy. If he claims Romney killed one, then he has killed tens of thousands as commander in chief. By his rules he would be responsible for all deaths from murder, rape, drugs, military etc. as CIC he was the head man in charge. Stupidity in action to stoop to such lows. He wants Romney to show his taxes but he will not release his school records. Throw as much as you can against the wall and hope 1% sticks and it changes the minds of some person who can't think for themselves.

    August 14, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. JohnW

    "President Obama's campaign hit a new low today when one of its senior advisers made a statement that is completely true but they have no proof of. Oops, I shouldn't have said that last bit. Never mind."

    August 14, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. GL

    The conventional wisdom is that the Romney-Ryan ticket is the one that's most vulnerable on the Medicare front. Both men have advocated turning the program into a quasi-voucher system, in which recipients would get a certain amount of money to purchase private insurance. This would effectively end Medicare as it's known, though both Romney and Ryan have since accepted a twist to the plan, allowing voucher recipients to purchase traditional Medicare coverage. Either way, their approach is more drastic than what has been adopted by Obama.

    American voters are not as stupid as the Republicans think we are.

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

    Hey JohnW MItt continue to hit a new low every time his open up is lying mouth.

    August 14, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  9. v_mag

    The champion of the limbo is Limbaugh. He has gone lower than anybody, but the Rob-money bunch is a close second.

    August 14, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. independent

    This coming from a party whose campaign chairman just stated that "Obama has blood on his hands". Give me a break. Their are no angels in this race, least of all the GOP.

    August 14, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |

    The low of Romney's campaign is calling the President a thief saying he "stole" money from Medicare. That's different from when Democrats were calling Bush a war criminal. Bush's Adminstration committed war crimes that we saw with our bare eyes and no one was prosecuted.

    August 14, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. Sandy

    There should be a law against the amount of lies Romney tells. It's amazing!

    August 14, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    And yet Mittens has doubled down on the welfare waivers lies and is now lying, in an insane display of hypocrisy given the provisions in Ryan's silly budget, about the Medicare provisions in the ACA. And here we have CNN, doing an entire hit piece on Obama, hiding it behind pretending to look at Mittens accusations against the Obama campaign, which really just amounts to helping Mittens disseminate his attacks. What matters to CNN and the rest of the MSM is not "fair and balanced" nor is it informing the's about trying to keep this thing perceived as a close horserace for as long as possible because THAT is more sensational, which generates more viewers/click, which keeps ad revenue higher.

    August 14, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. Babyboomer


    Yesterday's " The View" was a rerun. Wow, really????

    August 14, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. Lisa P


    Oblunder knows what a crappy job he has done, if not do u want someone that stupid in office. He was on the view again yesterday, instead of working on the economy.. Wise up democraps if this is best u got go home and cry.
    He said i will not run if unemp is over 6% and didnt cut deficet in half, OBLUNDER U DID BUILD OUR DEFICET JUST LEAVE, AMERICA HATES U LOSER!!!!
    August 14, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm
    Next time you feel the urge to post this sort of nonsense, please just tell it to a mirror instead. Being stupid does not make you a good judge of stupid, or of smart, or of anything else.

    August 14, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  16. cali girl

    Andrea Saul and her words of wisdom. Hey, why don't we all pack our bags and inundate MA because of the RobmeyCare!

    August 14, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    Whining is not presidential. Romney has done nothing but complain if his record is put under scrutiny, as we all saw during the primairies. He can barely handle the softballs FOX throws at him, so does anyone really think he can handle the job? Nope.

    August 14, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  18. obama victim

    I think it is a fair question why the Obama campaign is doing these things. The people who are drawn to this are already Obama supporters.....I wonder if undecideds are put off by this kind of thing?? seems a lot of risk for very little gain

    August 14, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Allow me to point out the obvious. The Romney campaign swung the first punch below the belt. The put out the ad of then Sen. Obama quoting Sen. McCain. The Romney campaign took pride in the deception, and it still runs on the web.

    August 14, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. Wes B.

    Ask Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich what they think about how low Mitt goes. They are on the same team, and Mitt aired the dirtiest negative commercials ever on them just so he could get the nomination.

    Mitt is full of lies. And is trying to bring Obama down with him.

    August 14, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. russ

    I think putting out ads like the latest gutting welfare ad by Romney, which every fact finding group including the man who signed the welfare bill into law, say is totally false is about as low as you can go. At least Obama has some stretch of the truth in most of his......and Biden is right. Wall street will continue to gut this country to make a few rich people richer if Romney gets elected. Why do you think they support him?

    August 14, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  22. Bill

    Mittens is toast. Burnt toast at that.

    August 14, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. 1crusader

    Are you kidding? Give me a break.Romney's ads are one lie after another,.He has lied to veterans in Ohio , saying that the president wants to take 3 extra days of voting away from them; the GOP iis also trying to suppress the vote of potential Obama supporters throughout the country; and has longer voting in certain GOP districts in Ohio than Democratic districts.Romney didn't mind linking arms with Trump in his scathing birther lie to hurt the president.From referencing the president's policies as "foreign" , and running thinly-veiled welfare ads that have racial overtones; the one who ought to be jcomplaining is the president.The Romney camapaign has been very dirty.

    August 14, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?

    New low?

    Romney and his campaign are such a bunch of whining retards. Whining about negative ads while you are running them against your opponent for all the world to see makes you only sound weak, fragile, desperate, and hypocritical. Askin the President for an apology for campaigning against you makes you look like the guy who can't handle adversity. Do you think the electorate wants a whiny President who is afraid of a little television ad? Then please keep on whining. You sound weak and look like a marshmallow. Did the wittle bitty ad on TV offend wittle bitty Mitty? How are we to take him seriously about getting tough with China, Palestine, etc. when he can't even take what he is dishing out and whines incessantly about the President?

    Hey Mitty, if you aren't up to the job you are seeking, just keep that whining coming at President Obama. He has the stones to take your crap, which apparently you are severely lacking.

    August 14, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "Yesterday's " The View" was a rerun. Wow, really????"

    Yeas really. It's extremely hard to judge the passage of time from inside an echo chamber.

    August 14, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
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