(CBS News) For years, Democrats and animal rights advocates have criticized Mitt Romney for the way he transported the family dog when he took his family on vacation in the early 1980s. According to a 2007 Boston Globe report, Romney placed the dog - an Irish setter named Seamus - into a crate and strapped it to the top of the car for a 12-hour drive from Boston to Ontario. At one point, Seamus got diarrhea, which required Romney to pull over to the side of the road and wash off the windshield.
New York Times columnist Gail Collins and groups like "Dogs Against Romney" have spotlighted the incident, arguing that it provides an unflattering insight into Romney's character. To the frustration of the Romney campaign, it's gotten enough traction that Romney and his wife Ann were asked about the story during an ABC News interview this week. Ann Romney said in the interview that Seamus "loved" the experience of being in the crate and that it was "a kinder thing" to bring the dog with the family than to leave him in a kennel.
Now Republicans have found a way to counter attacks over Seamus: An acknowledgement by President Obama that he ate dog as a child. As conservative website The Daily Caller reported Tuesday, Mr. Obama wrote in his memoir "Dreams of My Father" that he was "introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy)" while living in Indonesia between the ages of six and ten. Wrote the Daily Caller's Jim Treacher: "Say what you want about Romney, but at least he only put a dog on the roof of his car, not the roof of his mouth."
The Obama campaign had been trying to keep the Seamus story alive; Obama adviser David Axelrod, for example, tweeted a photo of Mr. Obama with his dog Bo - both of them inside a car - along with the words "How loving owners transport their dogs." (You can see it above.) Following the report that Mr. Obama had eaten dog, Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom retweeted Axelrod's tweet with the words, "In hindsight, a chilling photo."
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt responded by pointing to the fact that Mr. Obama was a small child when he ate the dog meat. Tweeted LaBolt: "What's the next attack @EricFehrn and the RNC will surface on a 6-10 year old?" @EricFehrn is Fehrnstrom's twitter handle.
The news that Mr. Obama ate dog as a child also prompted a series of Tweets with the hashtag "#ObamaDogRecipes," the best of which were cataloged by Poltico. Among them: "Beagles with cream cheese," "Pugs in a Blanket" and "Chicken Poodle Soup."