It's kind of funny that CNN is one of the mediums saying how nasty this campaign is, because of their 2008 piece, Founding Fathers' dirty campaign:
Things got ugly fast. Jefferson's camp accused President Adams of having a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."
In return, Adams' men called Vice President Jefferson "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father."
As the slurs piled on, Adams was labeled a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal, and a tyrant, while Jefferson was branded a weakling, an atheist, a libertine, and a coward.Go read it. Check out what Martha Washington said about Jefferson.
That wasn't the only dirty campaign, as Joseph Cummins, author of, Anything for a Vote: Dirty Tricks, Cheap Shots, and October Surprises, told The New York Times.
In the election of 1800, one of the dirtiest in American history, the venomous hack writer James CallendarThomas Jefferson) assailed then-President John Adams as a “repulsive pedant” and “a hideous hermaphroditical character,” whatever that means. Later in the 19th century, Martin Van BurenDavy Crockett, no less) and James Buchanan (who had a congenital condition that caused his head to tilt to the left) was accused of have unsuccessfully tried to hang himself. Oh, and Abraham Lincoln reportedly had stinky feet.
The 20th century began this way; at the 1912 Republican National Convention, Teddy Roosevelt, wearing a sombrero and smoking a cigar, cheerfully referred to William Howard Taft, the sitting President and Roosevelt’s former vice president, as “a rat in a corner.” (The rodent motif is popular — FDR liked to call Alf Landon, his 1936 opponent, “the White Mouse who wants to live in the White House.”)