The selection of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romneys running mate was expected to elevate the national debate about the issues confronting America. The first week, though, has seen the campaigns degenerate into more name-calling and scare tactics.
In the never-ending cycle of campaigns, one cannot point to a beginning of the negative ads. However, they have increased in intensity with the release of the Obama campaigns misleading ad shortly before Mr. Ryan was chosen.
The ad blamed Mr. Romney for the death from cancer of the wife of steelwork Joe Soptic after he lost his job when the steel plant he worked at was closed by Bain Capital years after Mr. Romney left Bain to work on the 2002 Olympics.
The tenor of the campaigns has gone downhill in the past few days.
Vice President Joe Biden played the race card Tuesday at a campaign stop in Danville, Va., where he told a group of supporters that Romney would unchain Wall Street by rolling back regulations and put yall back in chains. The Romney campaign responded, saying the comments were unacceptable and a new low for the Obama campaign, which in turn called the GOP complaints faux outrage.
Mr. Romney in Ohio said Vice President Bidens comments showed an angry and desperate presidency and told President Obama to take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago. The Obama campaign could not let that pass. Spokesman Ben LaBolt said Mr. Romneys remarks seemed unhinged and particularly strange coming at a time when hes pouring tens of millions of dollars into negative ads that are demonstrably false.
Mr. Romney, though, pushed back on Wednesday telling CBS This Morning, that unhinged would have to characterize what weve seen from the presidents campaign.
President Obama weighed in with a clarification of his vice presidents rhetoric intended as a warning that Americans will be a lot worse off if Wall Street reforms enacted during his administration are repealed.
Has all this helped to better understand the differences between President Obama and Mr. Romneys complex Medicare plans? Or their tax policies? Deficit reduction proposals? Entitlement reform?
The candidates need to raise the level of the campaigning and have that meaningful debate on the real issues that Americans are waiting to hear.