Get ready for the nastiest election ever

Ann Romney, wife of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, talks with audience members after her husband's speech at the University of Chicago in Chicago March 19, 2012. AP Photo

Analysis

You know that old saying that this election will be nastier and cost more than the last one? Well, you ain't seen nothing yet.

The speed of light twitter explosion over a democratic strategist and CNN commentator's ill-advised comment about the presumptive Republican nominee's wife has made a the "war on women" the biggest media created issue of the week. So far.

Yes, polls show President Obama winning the support of women by double digit margins over Mitt Romney and both sides were in the middle of a pitched battle over women. They all determined that a war over women was somehow good politics. And yes, an Obama supporter said something stupid and the Romney camp jumped on it and the Obama campaign attacked it as well. But policies are what's not being talked about.

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The Romney camp has trotted out a dubious statistic saying the Obama administration alone is responsible for 92.3 percent of jobs lost being women. When a Pulitzer Prize winning fact check organization said it was "mostly false" -- the campaign attacked them.

So, the battle this week has been over a statistic and a pundit's slip of the tongue. Where does that leave us? This will be the nastiest election ever. Period.

This is a consequence of the millions of negative attack television ads run by outside political groups -- coupled with the reality that any one-time misstep or badly formed thought on live television from any one person anywhere in the political spectrum can turn into firestorm. (Etch A Sketch anyone?)

So get ready. Every late night pundit can make a stupid comment, just as one time Santorum and now Romney backer Foster Friess said contraception was a pill between a young girl's knees -- and what's not being talked about is how to fix the country's problems.

Voters be warned: It's going to be six months for hyper partisan battles over well, who knows what.

Call it the grabbing at straws election as the two sides try to turn every-little-thing into a political advantage. At the end of the day, its politics alone and not policies that are driving the debate and what's leaving the hundreds of millions of Americans not following the Twitter volleys frustrated at what the American political system has become.

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    Robert Hendin is senior producer for "Face the Nation" and a CBS News senior political producer.

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