Photo Credit: Twitter
Obama campaign mastermind David Axelrod took to Twitter yesterday afternoon, posting a loving shot of the president nuzzling his Portugese water dog Bo in the backseat of his armoured limosine alongside the text, "How loving owners transport their dogs."
The tweet was a not-so-thinly veiled swipe at G.O.P. presidential front runner Mitt Romney. Earlier this month Newt Gingrich released an attack ad against Romney that honed in on the what's likely to be known as Dog Gate. As The Boston Globe reported in 2007, some 25 years ago Romney had strapped a dog crate--with his Irish setter Seamus inside--to the roof of his station wagon for a 12-hour family road trip from Boston to Ontario. Making matters for Romney worse, it came to light that during the infamous trip poor Seamus suffered from diarrhea in his crate, which the would-be presidential candidate handled by hosing the dog off at a gas station and putting him back on the car roof. When the story broke it hit a nerve among pet lovers in particular, with PETA issuing a statement that Seamus was "basically being tortured" during the journey north.
Axelord's tweet coincided with the launch of a Pet Lovers for Obama page on Facebook, where a car magnet featuring Bo and the slogan "I Bark for Barack" is front and center. The page garnered more than 7,000 "Likes" yesterday alone.
I've been a proud pup owner for more than two years now, and I have to say that the image of a scared, shivering and disoriented dog trapped on the roof of a car for 12 hours is a jarring one. Dogs come in all sizes and temperments, but they all crave the same things: comfort, safety and companionship...quite like the environment smartly portrayed in Axelrod's Twitpic. While PETA's description of "torture" seems severe--let's remember, things were a lot more loosey goosey in the '80s--I do think the that this anecdote goes a long way in portraying Romney as cold, callous and unsympathetic.
As for Seamus, something tells me that if he were still around today (he's not), he'd want to be riding with Obama.
Courtney Thompson is iVillage’s senior homepage producer. Follow her on Twitter: @courtneythomp!