Last night, the presidential campaigns each accused the other of dragging down the level of discourse in the election. Mitt Romney fired first with a speech in Chillicothe, Ohio, where he accused President Barack Obama of acting “angry and desperate.” Mr. Romney made his charge based on comments Vice President Joe Biden made during a speech in Virginia that Mr. Romney’s policies would enable banks to put people “back in chains.”
“His campaign and his surrogates have made wild and reckless accusations that disgrace the office of the presidency. Another outrageous charge came a few hours ago in Virginia. And the White House sinks a little bit lower,” said Mr. Romney. “This is what an angry and desperate presidency looks like.”
The Obama campaign quickly followed up with a blistering statement of its own calling Romney “unhinged” and “strange.”
“Governor Romney’s comments tonight seemed unhinged, and particularly strange coming at a time when he’s pouring tens of millions of dollars into negative ads that are demonstrably false,” Obama For America National Press Secretary Ben LaBolt said.
Mr. Romney’s ads, particularly a recent spate of attacks on welfare, have been criticized as “completely false” by the Obama campaign.
In response to the increasingly nasty nature of this year’s presidential election, Mr. Romney seemingly called for a campaign-trail truce in an interview with NBC News’ Chuck Todd last week.
“[O]ur campaign would be helped immensely if we had an agreement between both campaigns that we were only going to talk about issues and that attacks based upon business or family or taxes or things of that nature …” Mr. Romney said. “Only talk about issues. And we can talk about the differences between our positions and our opponent’s position.”
During that same interview, Mr. Romney said his ads, unlike President Obama’s, “haven’t gone after the personal things.” Mr. Romney’s plea for peace was seen by some as an attempt to avoid damaging attacks on his tax returns and his work with Bain Capital. Whatever his motivations were, based on last night’s action, it doesn’t seem like there’s a chance we’ll be seeing a truce on the campaign trail any time soon.