Photo courtesy Scott Crider, via the Boston Globe
It's fair to say the 2012 presidential election can be a dog-eat-dog world sometimes. A new development in the Twitter universe of he-said-she-said political discourse has taken that to a whole new level.
In response to the dog-on-a-car-roof controversy that continues embarrass likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, conservative Daily Caller blogger Jim Treacher has dug up an excerpt from one of President Barack Obama's books, in which Obama admits he tried to eat dog meat as a child in Indonesia.
The excerpt, on page 37 of Obama's best-selling Dreams from My Father, is about his childhood with his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, in Indonesia.
With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chili peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy).
Treacher was responding to the story of Seamus, an Irish setter and Mitt Romney's former family dog, who Romney tied to the roof of his car on a 12-hour trip from Boston to Canada in 1983 because there was no room inside. The dog had gotten sick mid-trip, forcing Romney to rinse him and his car windshield off at a gas station.
Romney's wife, Ann, recently defended the much-maligned incident again in an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer on Monday, claiming the dog loved it, and it was better than leaving him in the kennel for two weeks.
Romney's critics and animal rights activists have used the story to describe the former Massachusetts governor as callous and inconsiderate, and they have launched a number of protests and blogs. DogsAgainstRomney.com was launched in 2007 and continues to keep the controversy alive in the 2012 election, while an independent political action committee, DogPAC, launched last week with an anti-Romney website and merchandise. Now, the validity of the story that Romney gave away the dog to his sister is being questioned (the dog may have run away).
Treacher, however, is not taking the anti-Romney attacks sitting down.
I know the Secret Service has a lot to deal with right now, but are they protecting Bo? he wrote, referring to the president's Portuguese water dog. From Obama, I mean.
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. And whenever you bring up the one, we're going to bring up the other.
Critics of Romney's treatment of Seamus are not having any of it. Scott Crider, the social media consultant behind DogsAgainstRomney.com, claimed the book excerpt doesn't say anything about Obama as a person.
Obama was a 10-year-old kid in a foreign country. Romney was a 36-year-old independent adult. That's not comparable, Crider said in a phone interview. To me it sounds a little desperate.
As is often the case in this election cycle, independent commentary has become a political attack now that Obama and Romney advisers have weighed in. Romney campaign spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom pulled up a picture Obama advisor David Axelrod once tweeted of Obama riding in the presidential limousine with Bo:
In hindsight, a chilling photo, Fehrnstrom, the Romney aide famous for his Etch-a-Sketch gaffe, tweeted Monday night.
Obama 2012 spokesperson Ben LaBolt shot back at Fehrnstrom with another tweet, echoing the same sentiments as Crider.
What's the next attack @EricFerhn and the RNC will surface on a 6-10 year old?
— Ben LaBolt (@BenLaBolt) April 18, 2012
Regular Tweeters from both parties also got in on the fun, using the hashtag #obamadogrecipes.
In Indonesia, dog meat is indeed a popular delicacy on special occasions like Christmas, particularly among the Minahasa and Batak ethnic groups, according to AsianFoodandTravel blogger Douglas Eagen.