DES MOINES, Iowa | Welcome to the (mostly) polite campaign.
If you think politics these days is all about flinging mud, downgrading the other guy and slapping around opponents, turn on the TV here or head out to a candidate stump speech.
"This is one of the more polite campaigns in recent cycles," noted Drake University political scientist Dennis Goldford.
A Mitt Romney spot features a testimonial from a man who describes how the Republican once organized a search for his missing daughter.
A Joe Biden ad features a still shot of the president's Oval Office desk while an announcer intones that Biden has been "tested" for 35 years.
"Isn't that what we need in this office?" the announcer says.
An ad for Barack Obama featured the Illinois Democrat in full rhetorical flight proclaiming that he doesn't want to pit "red" America against "blue" America, only that he wants to be president of the "United States of America."
One 30-second Hillary Clinton spot getting a lot of play here features hardly any spoken words, only soaring music while phrases like "a new beginning" and "rebuild the middle class" flash on the screen followed by a still photograph of Clinton.
It's mostly self-promotion and resume bragging. What are missing this time are the flamboyant accusations and the grainy images of opposing candidates that make them look like serial killers.
At least for the time being.
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