he Daily Caller has created a mini-controversy by pointing out that President Obama ate dog as a boy in Indonesia, a fact Obama himself mentioned in his bestselling 1995 memoir Dreams From My Father. Obama's supporters had previously had a field day with the doggie exploits of Mitt Romney, who famously put his dog Seamus in a crate atop the family car decades ago, and then drove for 12 hours while the traumatized Seamus had a scatological accident mid-trip. "Say what you want about Romney, but at least he only put a dog on the roof of his car, not the roof of his mouth," says The Daily Caller's Jim Treacher. "Obama eats dog" jokes subsequently proliferated on Twitter, and entered the political realm when Eric Ferhnstrom, a Romney aide notorious for comparing his boss to an Etch A Sketch, tweeted an image of Obama with his dog Bo that read, "In hindsight, a chilling photo." The Obama camp expressed its outrage, while Dogs Against Romney, a group whose raison d'etre is the Seamus incident, says Romney's campaign is getting "desperate." Is Romney grasping at straws?
The Obama team started it: Lest we forget, Democrats "have signaled they have every intention of making sure the American people — especially dog-lovers — know the tale" of Seamus, says Jake Tapper at ABC News. It was David Axelrod, Obama's political guru, who got this fight started by tweeting a photo of Obama and Bo inside a car with the "snide observation": "How loving owners transport their dogs." And now Team Romney has signaled that "they are not about to cede any ground when it comes to a candidate's odd past with man's best friend."
"Romney campaign notes that Obama as a boy ate dog meat"
Perhaps. But this new salvo is absolutely ridiculous: This spat is idiotic, plain and simple, says Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs. Obama was a child living in a foreign country when he tried dog meat. And it's just a "pathetic example of 'I'm rubber, you're glue' politics" to equate "a child eating dog meat to a grown man torturing and abusing a helpless animal." Really, this is a sad new low.
"Right-wing idiocy of the day: 'Obama ate dog, liberal dumbass!'"
And this fight takes Romney off message: It looks like the Seamus-related attacks have "finally gotten to the Romney campaign," says Kyle Wingfield at The Atlanta Journal Constitution. But Romney is not going to beat Obama "by winning the most 'Twitter fights' or fighting distractions with distractions." He should be "hammering relentlessly at the president's record — a record voters still view, at best, as 'meh.'" Every time the campaign is distracted by "fluff," the "incumbent wins."
"Romney: Don't let this election go to the dogs"
- 10 things you need to know today: December 9, 2013
- How to stick it to the poor: A congressional strategy
- Watch SNL delightfully mess with all your childhood Christmas favorites
- The emerging budget deal is a small victory for Republicans
- Rick Santorum wins the prize for the worst Nelson Mandela tribute
- Here's how crazy-long German words are made
- Which professions have the most psychopaths?
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- Making money: Bargain-hunting tips, and more
- How to dramatically improve your memory
Subscribe to the Week