The Democratic candidates are now playing a hilarious little game of "gotcha," with Obama's forces attacking Hillary because of her claim to have "misspoke" when describing her imagined 1996 landing under fire in Bosnia and Hillary--a prime proponent of the "best-defense-is-a-good-offense" theory--going after Obama for, among other things, claiming that his parents had met during the Selma civil rights march in 1965 (Obama was born in 1961). Obama says he meant the civil rights movement in general. John McCain, attempting statesmanship, claimed that all candidates make misstatements, and this would include himself, of course.
None of these "misstatements"--really, hyperbole on the part of all candidates--amounts to much in the way of serious dirty politics, although Obama and Hillary are accusing each other of same. A little dirtier is the name-calling going on. Carville says Richardson is a "Judas." Clinton is accused by an Obama supporter of being "Joe McCarthy."
Still....one misses, sometimes, the really amusing verbal onslaughts, such as George H.W. Bush's sally against Clinton-Gore in 1992 (“My dog Millie knows more about foreign affairs than those two bozos"). We have not yet had a "bozo" insult yet in 2008, but I keep hoping. We have also not yet had a "misstatement like the one the same Bush made in his 1988 campaign against Michael Dukakis: : “I have worked alongside [President Reagan] and I am proud to be his partner. We have had triumphs, we have made mistakes, we have had sex…I mean, setbacks!”
The campaign is still young, however. Perhaps we'll get there.