- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The 2012 presidential campaign has become a dog-eat-dog contest. For months, Obama campaign operatives sought to make an issue of Mitt Romney carrying his Irish setter Seamus in a rooftop dog carrier during a family vacation in 1983. Some major media outlets picked up the non-story, and the Obama campaign buttressed it with an endless series of snarky tweets and barbs. The liberals are chasing their tails with this tale.

On Tuesday, the Daily Caller’s Jim Treacher juxtaposed the Seamus story with a passage from President Obama’s book “Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance,” in which he describes eating dog meat while growing up in Indonesia. The message Democrats were trying to establish was that Mr. Obama was kinder to dogs. The book snippet supplied the rejoinder: At least Mr. Romney never ate one.

On its face, the dog-eating anecdote is just as much a non-story as the adventures of Seamus. But it exploded over social media and Twitter, and within hours, even mainstream-media news hounds picked it up. Man bites dog is always news. It’s the kind of story that lingers, a humorous situation that lends itself to endless one-liners. (“Why are there no more Blue Dog Democrats? Obama ate them.”)

The Obama campaign is struggling to come up with a strong response, but nothing seems to stick. It can say the dog-eating took place when Mr. Obama was a child, that it was in a different culture or that the first family has not prepared dog in the White House. However, it cannot escape the ick factor, which will hound it until November. Now the Obama campaign will have to call off the dogs on Mr. Romney. Bo, the White House pooch, will have to retreat to an undisclosed doghouse until Election Day. Mr. Obama won’t be able to eat hot dogs in public. Meanwhile, online spoofs (“Dog: the other White House meat”) and canine recipes are spreading faster than you can say “fetch.”

This piles on to a recent run of bad news for the Obama campaign: the war on moms (which also was a liberal self-inflicted wound), investigations of wasteful spending at the General Services Administration, the Secret Service prostitution scandal, and the dispute between the White House and the secretary of defense over whether there was a deal to fly Secretary Leon E. Panetta back to California every weekend at $32,000 of taxpayer money per trip. All of these stories undermine confidence in government and the White House.

Dining on dogs shouldn’t be a bigger bone of contention than Mr. Obama accruing $5 trillion in new public debt, high unemployment, anemic economic growth, a foreign policy in shambles and a growing sense that there is no future for America. But as a news story, it is the top dog, at least for now. The old saying goes that if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog. Just don’t eat it.

The Washington Times