So now, this long, down-and-dirty campaign is finally starting to wind down.
And here's what we're seeing: A president who is increasingly mean-sprited and apparently bitter. Not only has he been condescending to his opponent but he's not above outright name-calling as well.
Now it's been reported that President Obama has called Mitt Romney a "bullshitter". We hope we spelled that word right. Spell checker indicates that we did but it's not a word that we're used to spelling -- not a word that you'll find here very often. It's a crude and common word -- a word beneath the office of the presidency. It is one of our least-favorite foul words (the other is a - - hole) because it's so juvenile, so base.
And here's what makes the word even more offensive: Obama used the word in connection with children.
He told someone that children basically can't be conned, that they can't be fooled and that they "look at the other guy" (Romney) and say "That's a bullshitter, I can tell."
It's sad that it's come to this; that Obama has to use the presumed enlightened sensibility of children (and we're not so sure about that, anyway) to hurl an obscenity at his opponent.
But here's what it really means: Obama and Co. are desperate. They are out of their element. This ain't Chicago anymore. And this ain't 2008 either. There's no free ride this time.
Obama has met an opponent who's smart, savvy, determined and fearless. He's met a real three-dimensional challenger who knows how to stick to the issues and force the president's hand. And Obama apparently can't handle this. That was eminently obvious during the final debate. The president looked bitter, angry and wishing he were anywhere else but where he was. He wasn't counting on this. Wasn't counting on the relentless scrutiny, class and laser-like approach of Mitt Romney and his campaign.
It's never a pleasant thing to see a sitting president end a campaign this way. We saw it with Jimmy Carter. And, yes we saw it (to some extent) with George W. Bush. But this is surely a new low.
Look, no one wants to see a failed presidency in near-meldown. It's not a pretty sight. But did any of us really expect Obama to conduct himself any other way? And did we expect anything other than this from his cohorts?
The handwriting was on the wall -- there for everyone to see the whole time.
Maybe it would have been better if the dominant media really had given Obama a hard time all along -- if they had scrutinized him; if they had in fact done their jobs. But that didn't happen and the guy pretty much got a free ride and that was all just more of the same so maybe this all hit him out of the blue and he's just not capable of handling it.
But that's all ancient history now.
Too late for an attitude adjustment now.
As the president said in Florida today, as he literally pleaded for votes: "C'mon Florida, C'mon. This is a matter of trust. You know me. You KNOW me."
Indeed they do.
And so do we.