For the first time, the Mitt Romney campaign is fighting back in the War on Dogs.
The Daily Caller's Jim Treacher posted a blog item Tuesday with an excerpt from President Barack Obama's bestselling memoir "Dreams From My Father," in which Obama writes of eating dog meat when he was a little boy in Indonesia.
With Lolo, 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.
Treacher brought out the excerpt as a way of responding to a weird old story that has haunted Romney's presidential ambitions since the Boston Globe first reported it in 2007. The story goes like this: In 1983, Romney strapped the family dog's crate to the roof of the car for a 12-hour drive from Massachusetts to Canada because there was no room in the car. During the trip, the dog, an Irish Setter named Seamus, suffered the "runs," as Ann Romney put it this week. Her husband coolly pulled over to hose off the dog and the car, then kept driving.
When the anecdote came out, Alabama resident Scott Crider launched an online group called Dogs Against Romney, which now has 48,000 fans on Facebook and has sought to keep the Seamus story in the news this year, with increasing success thanks partly to Rick Santorum, who was happy to bring it up.
Eating dog meat in Indonesia might be less unusual than giving your dog a roof ride in America (several people on Twitter 'fessed up to having eaten dog abroad on Tuesday), but conservative media have seized on the story. "Say what you want about Romney, but at least he only put a dog on the roof of his car, not the roof of his mouth," Treacher wrote. "And whenever you bring up the one, we’re going to bring up the other."
Team Romney, which has been mostly sullen and quiet about Seamus, seems to like Treacher's idea. In January, Obama campaign honcho David Axelrod tweeted a photo of Obama's dog, Bo, riding in the president's armored limousine, with the caption "How loving owners transport their dogs." On Tuesday evening, Romney campaign spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom retweeted Axelrod with the comment, "In hindsight, a chilling photo."
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt responded with a tweet questioning Fehrnstrom's decision to embrace the story from Obama's childhood: "What's the next attack @EricFerhn and the RNC will surface on a 6-10 year old?"
The War on Dogs has been joined.