Obama, who first sprang to national attention with an appeal to civility, has made these kind of attacks central to his strategy. The argument, by implication from Obama and directly from his surrogates, is not merely that Romney is the wrong choice for president but that there is something fundamentally wrong with him.
To make the case, Obama and his aides have used an arsenal of techniques — personal ridicule, suggestions of ethical misdeeds and aspersions against Romney’s patriotism — that many voters and commentators claim to abhor, even as the tactics have regularly proved effective.
The unequal distribution of personal putdowns — Obama and his team indulging in them far more frequently than Romney — has been largely obscured by two factors.
The Romney campaign and Romney himself has constructed a strategy around flagrantly lying about everything from the president's motives to his policies to the positive outcomes that are as evident as basic math. And so because Axelrod called Romney a "charlatan" for peddling in these lies means that the Obama campaign lacks civility? Bullshit.