The election may have entered its "big-ideas" stage with the choice of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick. But the early attacks leveled by both campaigns in the wake of that choice have stayed largely on the smaller and more superficial matters.
The Romney campaign released a new ad on Tuesday morning focusing on the attack that had it griping last week from a pro-Obama super PAC. The ad laments the tone of the campaign and seeks to tie the president to the charged insinuation -- from Priorities USA Action -- that Bain Capital's closure of a steel plant had a ripple effect that resulted in a women's death from cancer.
“What does it say about a president’s character when his campaign tries to use the tragedy of a woman’s death for political gain?" the ad says, without noting that the campaign and super PAC are legally prohibited from coordinating.
Separately, the Obama campaign on Tuesday morning continued to push back on accusations that the president was somehow gutting the work requirement of welfare reform by granting states more flexibility. A new web ad underscored the extent to which the Romney attack line -- based entirely on a distorted reading of the waiver policy -- has been debunked and fact-checked.
And as if to prove that all politics is local, the Obama campaign noted that during the president's speech in Iowa Tuesday, he would be hammering Romney on wind policy, of all things.
"President Obama will push Congress to extend the production tax credit for wind energy companies right now to create American jobs and support American businesses and manufacturers, and highlight the clear choice Iowans have in this election on this critical issue," one Obama campaign aide said in an email.
"In a moment when homegrown American energy like wind is creating new jobs in states like Iowa, Mitt Romney wants to end tax credits for wind energy producers. 37,000 jobs across this country that depend on wind energy -- including 7,000 jobs in Iowa, more than in any other state."
There will undoubtedly be days in which the campaigns engage in a deep debate over Ryan's budget and the president's blueprint for job growth. Tuesday, August 14, 2012, does not appear to be one of those days.