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Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter flipped the offensive rhetoric attacks against the Obama campaign on CNN's State of the Union. Cutter dismissed the Romney campaign's outrage over Joe Biden's 'chains' remark as a distraction before attacking Romney's own use of offensive language. "Let's look at what the vice president said. Speaker [John] Boehner and even Paul Ryan have been traveling this country talking about the need to unshackle the private sector, to unshackle the financial industry," Cutter said. "And the vice president was just taking that metaphor a step further and talking about wanting to put other people in shackles. And the word that he used, chains, is a distraction from the larger argument." That's when Cutter turned her crosshairs on Romney. "If we want to talk about words on the campaign trail that are poor choices of words, let's talk about Mitt Romney's: when he's been traveling for the last few years basically calling the president un-American, that the president wanted to make this a less Christian nation," Cutter said. "Those are poor choices of words and that's what we find completely offensive. So this faux outrage by Mitt Romney complaining and whining about the tone of this race, is really completely hypocritical."

Cutter also defended President Obama from increasingly common criticism for not facing the White House press corps. Cutter was asked about the President speaking with entertainment outlets recently, and whether he sees them as important as national news media outlets. "I don’t think that they're more important, but I think that they're equally important," she said. "I think that's where a lot of Americans get their news." She then turned her answer around to attack Mitt Romney's recent dealings with the press. "Mitt Romney might have had two media availabilities, but what did he tell you?" she asked. "Do you find that media availability really useful if he's not being transparent about his own policies and distorting the president’s?"

Rick Santorum said that negative attacks are part of the Presidential political game, but it's the tone of the Obama campaign that he takes issue with, during an appearance on State of the Union. "I don’t get the sense that Gov. Romney’s complaining about negative attacks -- I think he’ll tell you as much as anybody else: You’re in a political race, you're going to take your blows, go after each other and that's all fair game," Santorum said. "I think what he's talking about is the tone of the Obama campaign, which is divisive." He accused the Obama campaign of inciting a class war, and also said that Joe Biden was "play[ing] the race card" when he made his 'chains' remark earlier this week. 

Rudy Giuliani appeared on CBS's Face the Nation to wonder why the media isn't harder on Joe Biden for his gaffes. Giuliani called Biden a 'joke' earlier in the week after his 'chains remark in Virginia. "Oh, no, I don't think he's nuts. I'm just saying I wonder if he's got the kind of balance-- probably what I should have said is the balance to be president of the United States," Giuliani said. "This guy is like one gaffe after another, and he's a-- he's a joke on late-night television. I think they've also locked him in his room for the rest of the campaign. I think the president scolded him, and ... I mean it's been one strange incident after another, telling a man in a wheelchair to stand up. I don't know what's going on with him, but somebody should explain it." That's when he started defending Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin for their own gaffes and the treatment in the media that usually follows. "If this was Cheney or Sarah Palin, or Dan Quayle, my goodness, all you guys on television would be going crazy about how could he say this and what's wrong with him?" he asked. "Maybe, I was just trying to even up the score a little bit. I do think there are some serious questions."

Opposing campaign aides got snippy with each other on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos over whether the campaign has been too focused on small issues. It all started when Obama's deputy campaign adviser Stephanie Cutter was asked about the joke Obama made about Seamus, Mitt's infamous pooch, in Iowa earlier this week. "I’ll leave it for others to decide whether it was appropriate, but it was a light-handed remark," she said. "The president is out there every single day talking about where he wants to take this country," she continued. "Just yesterday in New Hampshire, he absolutely contrasted his plan for Medicare with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s plan for Medicare. And that’s a central question on the table in this election." She accused the Romney campaign of holding the discourse back by being too shallow on key issues. "We’re happy to have a substantive debate, but we need some substance on the other side," Cutter said.

Romney adviser Kevin Madden had enough, and he defended his bosses by rhyming off their weekend speaking schedule. "Let's look at the contrast between these two campaigns: Congressman Ryan was down in Florida yesterday talking about Medicare, which is a very important issue, very important cost of living issue for millions of seniors across this country," he said. "At the same time this week, Vice President Biden was in Virginia talking about people being put back in chains." And then he took a shot at some of Obama's recent speaking engagements. "Take Gov. Romney, who was actually talking about coal, and how the coal industry is vital for people in Ohio whose jobs depend on it, but also as part of an above-all energy policy in this country, and also talking about Medicare and also talking about putting people back to work in this country," Madden said. "At the same time, President Obama is talking to disc jockeys in New Mexico about what his favorite chili is."

Eric Fehrnstrom said he's surprised the Democrats are on the Medicare defensive during this election, something he hasn't seen in a long time, during his appearance on CNN's State of the Union. "This is the first election cycle I can remember in a long time where Democrats are on the defensive on Medicare," Fehrnstrom said. Both sides have been on the Medicare defensive, really. The Dems allege that the Ryan-Romney budget will cut Medicare to shreds, while the Republicans charge Obama already destroyed it when he reallocated a chunk of Medicare's funding into the Affordable Care Act. "Well, I think it's important to understand, Jim, that going forward, one of the principles that the Romney-Ryan ticket will follow in reforming Medicare is that none of the changes would affect current beneficiaries. There's only one candidate in this race that has made cuts to Medicare that have affected current seniors and that's President Obama. In order to pay for Obamacare, he raided the Medicare piggy bank." Fehrnstrom also reiterated to fill-in host Jim Acosta that Romney had no intention of releasing any more tax returns after he releases his full 2011 return. "Mitt Romney has said he'll put out two years of tax returns, he put out his 2010 return, hundreds of pages of tax return information that’s on the website," Fehrnstrom said. "He’ll put out his 2011 returns once it's complete and filed, he's had financial disclosures going back to 2002 when he was governor of Massachusetts, those too can be found on Mitt Romney's website.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said on NBC's Meet the Press that Mitt Romney is one of the worst people to play a game of pick-up basketball with. "Gov. Romney's just sort of a guy that you never want to play pick-up basketball with," O'Malley said.  "He's always fouling, and he's always crying foul." It was being used as a metaphor for the Romney campaign's complaints about the Obama campaign's use of negative ads. But the 'Romney is a poor sport' line is one we've heard before, from his own family no less. 

Bill Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, riffed on his lobbying for a Paul Ryan Veep selection by dressing up like Johnny Carson's classic "Carnac the Magnificent" character on Fox News Sunday. "A couple weeks ago, it was a boring, conventional campaign and a tough campaign – an uphill climb. Now, I really feel that the Romney-Ryan ticket potentially could have the wind at its back," Kristol said. "It feels more like a movement and less like a couple hundred people in Boston, working very hard to kind of push the boulder up the hill -- and more like a genuine, exciting cause." Karl Rove was on the panel with Kristol, and he particularly liked the joke. "This is gonna be around for a long time," he said. 

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