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Romney team barking up the wrong tree

HERB BOYD Special to the AmNews | 4/26/2012, 1:34 p.m.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney pauses while delivering an address titled, "Faith in America" at the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas December 6, 2007. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES)

There is no greater sign of GOP desperation during this presidential election year than reaching back to Obama's childhood in search of an advantage.

When Obama was 6 or 7 years old and living in Indonesia, he dined on dog meat. For the Republicans, it was a red meat moment and they pounced on it with fervor. However, in their eagerness to make points, there was their typical misinformation and a failure--perhaps deliberate--to put the meal in context.

First of all, it wasn't Obama's father who fed him dog meat, it was his stepfather, and the Romney camp may have been seeking a way to balance its own dog story that originated several years ago and asserts that the Romneys often traveled on vacation with their dog Seamus strapped to the top of their station wagon.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, only made the story more ridiculous when he noted that the conservatives were merely "trying to get out of the doghouse" with the dog meat bit.

In his memoir "Dreams From My Father," Obama recounted the circumstances under which he ate dog meat. "With Lolo [his stepfather Soetoro]," Obama wrote, "I learned how to eat small green chill 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). Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share."

If this is an indication of the campaign fight ahead, ahem, it's gone to the dogs, as the Romney team digs up something Obama did as a child and not of his own volition.

Much ado about nothing? Perhaps, but expect each side to throw everything but the kitchen sink at one another as they move deeper into the campaign season. Meanwhile, the once highly touted New York Republican primary, with its large number of delegates, has become a non-event with Rick Santorum no longer a contender.

What remains ahead, particularly during the dog days of August (I couldn't resist it!), is what strategy the Romney camp will use in its attack against Obama and how the Obama team will retaliate.

As the polls suggest, it's going to be a tight race, and neither camp will take the high ground when the mudslinging starts.