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Over-the-top rhetoric takes over presidential campaign

Obama vs. Romney on the economy
While a new poll indicates that President Obama has a slight edge over Mitt Romney in several key battleground states, many voters say that Romney would actually be better at fixing the troubled economy. Nancy Cordes reports.

(CBS News) After three days of talk of a "serious" presidential campaign in the wake of Mitt Romney's decision to select Paul Ryan as his running mate, the campaign has reverted to form: idiotic, desperate and disgraceful.

FYI, those aren't our words. They're terms being thrown around by the campaigns and their surrogates this week, which seemed determined to drag the presidential debate into the gutter -- or bring it to a "new low," as Romney's press secretary said of President Obama's campaign in a relatively restrained comment Wednesday. They've come in the wake of Vice President Joe Biden's comment to a racially diverse audience that Republicans are "going to put y'all back in chains" - which was taken by Republicans as a suggestion that the GOP wanted to enslave the audience. (Democrats said the comments were simply a reference to Republican comments concerning regulations that "shackle" small businesses. Biden suggestedhe meant to reference shackles, not chains.)

Below, five of the nastiest comments - and the dictionary definitions of the terms being used, courtesy of Merriam-Webster. Not every harsh comment this week is below - we're skipping Mr. Obama's reference to Romney strapping his dog to the roof of his car and RNC chair Reince Priebus' reference to Mr. Obama eating dog as a boy in Indonesia. But it'll certainly give you an idea of the current level of political discourse.


Obama's campaign and surrogates "have made wild and reckless accusations that disgrace the office of the Presidency. Another outrageous charge came a few hours ago in Virginia. And the White House sinks a little bit lower. This is what an angry and desperate Presidency looks like."
-- Mitt Romney

disgrace: "To be a source of shame to"

desperate: "giving no ground for hope"


"Gov. Romney's comments tonight seemed unhinged and particularly strange coming at a time when he's pouring tens of millions of dollars into negative ads that are demonstrably false." -- Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt

unhinged: "mentally deranged"


Joe Biden is an "idiot." - Meghan McCain

Idiot: "usually offensive : a person affected with extreme mental retardation"

(Bonus comment from Rudy Giuliani: "I mean, there's a real fear if, God forbid, he ever had to be entrusted with the presidency, whether he really has the mental capacity to handle it. This guy just isn't bright. He's never been bright. He isn't bright. And people think, well, he just talks a little bit too much. Actually, he's just not very smart.")


"So, Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago." - Mitt Romney

hate: "intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury"


"Because of President Obama's failed record on nearly every issue from the economy to the deficit to Medicare, the Obama campaign has become increasingly dirty, despicable, and desperate. Their latest lies on Medicare are no exception." - Reince Priebus

dirty: "not clean or pure"/"morally unclean or corrupt"

despicable: " deserving to be despised : so worthless or obnoxious as to rouse moral indignation"


That's all we've got for now from this week. But hey, it's only Wednesday.