Vice President Joe Biden played the race card this week when he drawled Southern-style to a racially mixed audience that if Mitt Romney takes the White House, he'll "unchain Wall Street. They're going to put y'all back in chains."
Last week, a super PAC run by a former aide to President Obama released an ad in which a former steelworker all but fingered Romney for causing his 55-year-old wife's cancer death in 2006 because Bain Capital shuttered the plant where he worked in 2001. The week before, White House aides stood back as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, without providing any proof whatsoever, charged that Romney didn't pay taxes for a decade.
The president's henchmen are running a dirty campaign. The worst part of it: These nasty antics are the best Obamaland has to offer.
Don't take my word for it. Heed the message delivered by Obama himself when he accepted the Democratic nomination for president in Denver in 2008: "If you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things."
The president is in a pickle. He doesn't have a smart plan to rescue the economy. He has pretty much given up, until after the election, on working with Congress to pass legislation to keep Washington from running off the fiscal cliff on Jan. 1 -- when the Bush tax cuts expire and mandated spending cuts loom.
As CEOs decide to stall new equipment orders and plans to hire new workers, the administration essentially has cried uncle. The president blames "the other side" for not playing fair, and then somehow expects Americans to re-elect him so he can not get things done again.
Romney and his supporters know a thing or two about negative campaigning. A recent bogus campaign ad on Obama's welfare plan won four Pinocchios, the maximum, on Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler's scale.
The steelworker spot by super PAC Priorities USA also earned four Pinocchios. It's not just that Bain may have kept the steel plant alive longer than it would have lasted or that Romney left Bain by 2001. More important is that former steelworker Joe Soptic claimed his wife developed cancer "a short time" after he was laid off, but she wasn't diagnosed until 2006. And the ad does not mention that after he was laid off, Soptic got a lesser-paying job with benefits, and his wife had a job that provided health coverage until an injury derailed her work in 2002 or 2003. Kessler concluded, "On every level, this ad stretches the bounds of common sense and decency."
The campaign and the White House press office refused to renounce the ad. Deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter claimed that the campaign didn't know the facts of Soptic's charge -- even though she had set up a campaign conference call starring Soptic in May. Ugly stuff.
The Obama campaign, Priorities USA and the vice president are stirring up all that unnecessary muck because they want to excite the base. They want to incite resentment.
If they do it well enough, maybe voters won't notice that this administration has lost hope and resists change.
Email Debra J. Saunders at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Debra J. Saunders, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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