I see a Politico piece this morning on an interesting study some credible-seeming folks did on how some of the various negative ads are influencing the views of independents. One finding: The Romney ad that questioned Obama's character because of that infamous cancer ad was particularly effective, raising Romney's standing among independents by six points.
The ad was not made by the Obama campaign or approved by Obama, but by the Obama-supporting Super PAC. Even so, there is a clear lesson here.
The Romney-Ryan campaign, as I and now several others have been writing, is the lyingest campaign ever. In that context, the last thing in the world that the Obama campaign or its affiliates need to be doing is to run dubious ads (when that ad came out, I criticized it as over the top). Any such ads just permit--nay, force--the mainstream press to revert to the old "both sides do it" meme.
We all know how this works. If the Republicans run five dishonest ads, all it takes is for the Democrats to run one for the press to invoke the both sides standard. The advantage of being the side that isn't lying out its you-know-what is completely nullified. And yes, I do there's an advantage to being that side. Blatant lies do catch up with the liar. Bill Burton and company ought to be smarter than that.
Posting will again be a little lighter than usual today as unexpected childcare duties have fallen into my lap (at this precise moment, literally in my lap! My arms are wrapped around her, groping for the keyboard.) I had a wonderful little trip to Morgantown, by the way, speaking to some young journalism prospects at the WVU j-school, which you've probably never heard of but in fact is a very good school led by a creative and innovative dean, my friend Maryanne Reed, and which deserves the credit or, as the case may be, the blame for sending me out into an unsuspecting world. Saw some old friends, caught up on some local gossip, and sensed strongly a general high enthusiasm about the football season, which I most definitely share. Old Guardian comrades: prepare yourselves for even more college football posts this fall, since we're now at an American web site where half the readers won't go "what in the bloody 'ell are you on about, son?"