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After months of being lampooned by late-night comedians and mocked by Democrats forthe tale ofthe Romney family’s 1983 cross-country trip with the family dog, Seamus, in a pet crate strapped to the top of the station wagon, Mrs. Romney fought back.

“The dog loved it,” Mrs. Romney’s assured Diane Sawyer of ABC News. “He would see that crate, and he would go crazy because he was going with us on vacation. It was, to me, a kinder thing to bring him along than to leave him in the kennel for two weeks.”

Republicans, meanwhile, have been firing off one-liners over an often overlooked section of Mr. Obama’s memoir, “Dreams from My Father” in which he talks about eating dog meat as a child.

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican and the party’s 2008 nominee, posted a photo of his son Jimmy’s bulldog on Twitter with the quip: “Good pic of my son Jimmy’s bulldog, Apollo — I’m sorry Mr. President, he’s not on the menu!”

And months after Obama campaign manager David Axelrod tweeted out “How loving owners transport their dogs,” along with a photo of Mr. Obama with his dog Bo in the presidential limo, Eric Fehrnstrom, a top Romney aide, delivered a solid comeback, again via twitter.

“In hindsight, a chilling photo,” he said.