GOP tries to one-up Obama in quest for dog-loving voters

The presidential campaign has quickly gone to the dogs.

First, Mitt and Ann Romney found themselves explaining yet again their treatment of family dog Seamus, who rode along on family vacations strapped to the roof of the family car. (On one infamous occasion, it didn't end well. Something about bad turkey meat the pooch ate earlier).

Now, Republicans eager to turn the tables are pointing to President Obama's own recollection of a time growing up when he ate dog meat, we suppose to argue that he's really dog's worst friend.

In his memoir, "Dreams From My Father," Obama wrote about how his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, introduced him in Indonesia "to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy)."

It's a passage that's gone viral, prompting jokes from a Republican National Committee spokesman about the president's "ruff week," and this tweet from John McCain, Obama's 2008 rival, about his son's bulldog, Apollo: "I'm sorry Mr. President, he's not on the menu."

Even Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom joined the dogfight on Twitter. He included a previous message from Obama advisor David Axelrod that showed the president and First Dog Bo, adding: "In hindsight, a chilling photo."

It all led a reporter to ask White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Thursday about what the president made of the back-and-forth.

"I think we're talking about a reference in his book to a period when he was 6 or 7 years old," Carney said. "You know, making a big deal out of it sounds like somebody who's trying to get out of the doghouse on something."

Amid jeers from the press corps, Carney added: "I'll leave it at that."