RADDATZ: I’m — I’m going to move on to this closing question because we are running out of time.
Certainly (inaudible) and you’ve said it here tonight, that the two of you respect our troops enormously. Your son has served and perhaps someday your children will serve as well.
I recently spoke to a highly decorated soldier who said that this presidential campaign has left him dismayed. He told me, quote, “the ads are so negative and they are all tearing down each other rather than building up the country.”
What would you say to that American hero about this campaign? And at the end of the day, are you ever embarrassed by the tone?
RYAN: First of all, I’d thank him to his service to our country.
Second of all, I’d say we are not going to impose these devastating cuts on our military which compromises their mission and their safety.
And then I would say, you have a president who ran for president four years ago promising hope and change, who has now turned his campaign into attack, blame and defame.
You see, if you don’t have a good record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone to run from. That was what President Obama said in 2008. It’s what he’s doing right now.
Look at all the string of broken promises….
This was perhaps Ryan’s most brilliant dodge of the night. He took a question — “Don’t you think negative campaigning is bad?” — and managed to answer by making a series of attacks on President Barack Obama.
It was masterful. Ryan regurgitated every talking point he could think of about how awful Barack Obama is, and how we have to get rid of him in November. He never stopped for a second even to acknowledge that sure, he could understand why negative campaigning rankles people.
But why would he? For all Ryan’s assertion that the Obama-Biden campaign is running a campaign of fear, Ryan himself is hamstrung. If the Romney-Ryan campaign actually had to be specific about what they wanted to do, they’d lose. Badly. Given the choices on the table, Ryan could not possibly even acknowledge that negative campaigning is off-putting. The Romney campaign can’t make a positive case for itself. Going negative is all they have — and it was all Ryan could do to avoid having to admit it.
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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