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. Trickle down doesn't work

    Does it get any lower than closed door meetings with "Shel" Adelson? He's funneling money from the chinese to the Romney campaign. Romeny would sell his own mother for a buck. Doesn't get any lower than that.

    August 15, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  2. MaryM

    Mitt is touting Ryan as a financial conservative. Please research all the unfunded spending bills Ryan voted for during the Bush admin.
    There nothing financially conservative about Ryan. Just like Mitt, Mr flip flop

    August 15, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  3. Tony

    Looking at the picture above, if Romney goes any lower he would be out of the picture.

    August 15, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  4. Puddin

    Talk about "sinking to new lows." Romney can dish it out, but he can't take it.

    August 15, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  5. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer


    Yes, President Obama is still running against GWB because the last time I checked, the President was still working on cleaning up all GWB's mess while GWB is still on the campaign trail promoting his failed policies that sunk us and endorsing Robme to continue the demise of America.

    August 15, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  6. Wake up People!

    Ok let me get this straight. Willard Robmey who started the vicious attacks against his opponents and President Obama more than a year ago is now whining like a little girl because the President is fighting back? Oh that's rich. And typical bully behavior. They can dish it out but can't take it. Look Willard, you started this with all of your blatant lies. If you can't take the heat, get out the kitchen.

    President and Mrs. Obama have had many terrible lies told about them and a whole lot more nasty things said about them, most notably President Obama being accused of being a muslim, not American born, and being anti-American. It's funny, I have NEVER heard either of them whine about it.

    Show us your taxes Willard, we will not forget.

    OBAMA 2012!

    August 15, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |

    "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."
    ...well...we ARE talking about the Republican Party
    ...I mean...if you look at their history...
    and if you pay attention to what they are doing instead of what they are saying...
    I'm just sayin' ...if the shoe fits....ya know

    August 15, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  8. Marty, FL

    Romney hypocritically decries when someone paraphrases Ryan's own 'shackles' comment yet says little when Team Romney used 'Anglo-Saxon' nonsense during Mitt's disastrous foreign trip.

    August 15, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |

    The Democratic Part is a Hate Group and are Liars. The Democratic Party must be put out of Business. They are ruining this Country. Anybody that votes for a Democrat are part of this hate group.

    August 15, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  10. Chumlee

    Stop the act MtWit! You are a loser, a fraud, a tax cheat, a wimp. AND, just looking at you sickens me.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    August 15, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Hey, Mitt. You fired the first dirty shot when you grossly misquote Pres. Obama. That ad, which is still running, ranked as the all time low when it came to dirty, negative, misleading, [insert adjective] ads....and you were PROUD of it. You bragged about it.

    Mitt, you set the tone and direction. You are being blown off the line of scrimmage. I know, I know. This all isn't going according to plan laid out in your PowerPoint script. The mark of a good politician is the ability to handle the unforeseen and so far Mitt has failed miserably. The Romney campaign cannot handle the obvious questions well that must be given direct answers, much less the minor day to day crisis. Mitt, you're a salesman, not a statesman.

    August 15, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  12. Brian

    Funny how Romney only complains about negativity instead of ever actually disputing anything said about them. Attacking the messenger instead of the message.

    August 15, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  13. Fair is Fair

    "Did anyone listen to the audience reaction when VP Biden made his controversial remark? Half of the audience had laughed. "
    Yeah... I heard the audience reaction, and I heard a lot of groans as well. Seriously... how, in good conscience, can you defend these remarks? Completely tasteless and far beneath someone holding the position of Vice President of the United States.

    August 15, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  14. Richard

    A new low would be to elect a man who is a member of a cult. Make no mistak, when you believe God was a man and walked the earth (not Jesus)but God the Father, there is something wrong with people who believe that. Joseph Smith was a good flim flam artist. Romney has filled his shoes well. A bishop who is ready, willing and able to bomb both Iran and Russia. What would Jesus think? Ask any Mormon why they got thrown out of Israel. If they won't tell you its because they were baptizing dead Jews into the Mormon cult. I hope all those evangelicals vote for Romney–it just shoews what kind of Faux Christians they really are.

    August 15, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  15. John B

    All political noise. Bottom line, Obama doesn't have a clue regarding the economy. His demonizing successfull hard working americans is wrong. A couple making over $250K in a high cost area such as the NY metro area is far, far from rich. And besides, they already pay the bulk of the taxes and at a higher rate than the lower income brackets. Romney is far better equipped to lead this country out of this economic downturn. Obama doesn't have the skill, commen sense, or proper advisor support to do this. Romney in 2012!!!!! Go to the website and donate today!

    August 15, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  16. HEHE

    Romney is a jooooooooooooooooke. Anyone who think he'd be a good president needs to pull their head out LO MAS PRONTO POSIBLE

    August 15, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  17. Malory Archer

    Honestly, if mittens can't handle the truth coming from the opposing campaign, how is he going to react to world leaders? Will he whine and cry that they're being mean to him after he insults them while on a State visit? We need a statesman in the WH, and the guy living there now is all that!

    August 15, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  18. FlotsamJetsam

    they are getting truly ridiculous about how touchy they are about comments. Clearly once again if you listen to the whole comment and not take one small part out of context you understand what he was saying. Its just like the "you didn't build it comment". It just looks plain stupid when a campaign overreacts to simple words especially since you look at the Rhetoric Romney has been dishing out. and I am a Republican!

    The whole debate over Obama and Medicare looks particularly lame when you consider the Republican House passes the Medicare legislation. and the attempt at trying to put the lack of jobs in also hollow since Obama has been pushing a jobs bill for ages that the House refuses to act on.

    Romney seriously needs to outline some real objectives and not just his First Day in Office ad. That ad in particular if you held it as a referendum of his first day in office would be interesting. If the first day in office doesn't go as plan FORGET the rest of the term!

    August 15, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  19. ptny

    How low can they go? That was nothing compared to steeling from the poor now is it? Mitt?

    August 15, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  20. Bill, NY

    Biden is correct! These two will put us in chains. No one can go lower than the republicans have these past three years. They now talk about passing debt onto our grandchildren, unfortunately that already has been done under the Bush madministration.

    August 15, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  21. FedUp

    "Put y'all back in chains?" If that is blatant racism I don't know what is. The current administration and their super pacs aren't even able to reach up to scratch a snake's belly. That's how low they can, and have, gone. I am sick of the dirty campaign from both sides! Get to the issues or keep quiet!

    August 15, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  22. beevee

    This bojo Romney is twisting Biden's statement. What Biden meant was that it is entirely possible that the middle class and the poor can become financial slaves to the rich if Romeny (if ever) wins the election. If the voters take the time to think for themselves they too would come to the same conclusion.

    August 15, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Supafat34 wrote:

    Are you people kidding me? What lies has the Romney campaign told?
    You gotta be Mitten me? The very first ad that Romney released for the general election was a negative ad that grossly misquoted Pres. Obama out of context. The Romney campaign was proud of the misleading ad. They bragged about it.

    August 15, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  24. Crazy Dude with the Hair

    I'm not saying it was Aliens... but it's Aliens.

    August 15, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  25. Ready

    Obama/Biden = Hate and Smear 2012!

    When Obama was a kid he ate hotdogs and pupsicles!! Ha ha

    August 15, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
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