This is all fine. I don't approve of it because I think negative advertising brings down the country's political debate, but to each his own. But if you insist on defaming your opponents, you can't cry and claim the victim when they throw it back to you.
Apparently, there was a confrontation between John McCain and Mitt Romney's staffs after yesterday's debate.
...members of the Romney and McCain camps said the things their bosses might have been thinking but did not dare utter onstage.
McCain delivered “cheap shots,” said one Romney adviser. Another called McCain’s criticisms of Romney “snide remarks” and “name calling.” Yet another said they were “unbecoming.”
Again: this from the staff of the guy running the most negative campaign of the year. The hypocrisy is through the roof. This isn't terrible scientific, but look at Romney's YouTube page: he prominently features his latest attack ad, and the others permeate the rest of his videos. Anyway, at least someone called him out on his double standard:
All of which caused Mark Salter, McCain’s closest aide, to go off.
“Come on, Mitt, tighten up your chin strap,” Salter, standing just a few feet away from the Romney team, told reporters. “Of all the ludicrous suggestions – Mitt Romney whining about being attacked, when he has predicated an entire campaign plan on whoever serially looks like the biggest challenger gets, whatever, $20 million dropped on his head and gets his positions distorted. Give me a break. It’s nothing more than a guy who dishes it out from 30,000 feet altitude and then gets down in the arena and somebody says, O.K. Mitt, gives him a little pop back, and he starts whining. That’s unbecoming.”
And what, you might ask, was the reason for the staffs' confrontation? Negative campaigning...by Mitt Romney!
What had McCain aides particularly heated was Romney’s exchange with McCain on the issue of McCain’s immigration proposals and the question of amnesty. “The fact is, it’s not amnesty,” McCain said during the debate. “And for you to describe it as you do in the attack ads, my friend, you can spend your whole fortune on these attack ads, but it still won’t be true.”
“I don’t describe your plan as amnesty in my ad,” Romney answered. “I don’t call it amnesty.”
With that, the issue became not whether McCain’s plan was or was not amnesty but whether Romney had or had not called it amnesty. And jaws dropped at McCain headquarters.
“What got us all going was when Governor Romney said, ‘We never called what you did amnesty,’“ said McCain confidante Sen. Lindsey Graham said. “Look on TV. Look in your mailbox in New Hampshire. John’s been pounded by Governor Romney with that charge. I was just dumbstruck.”
Indeed, after the debate, McCain aides produced a Romney mailing which said “John McCain: Supports Amnesty.” An e-mail from the Romney campaign earlier in the day referred to McCain’s “amnesty plan.” And a new Romney TV ad featured Romney supporters saying McCain “supported amnesty for illegal immigrants” and “wrote the amnesty bill.” In light of that, it is hard to see how Romney was being straight when he said he didn’t “describe [McCain’s] plan as amnesty.” After the debate, Romney’s spokesman, Kevin Madden, choosing his words carefully, said McCain favored “an amnesty-like approach.”
Add "liar" to "hypocrite." There's a reason you're dropping in the polls, Mitt.