Dogfight over Obama's dog-meat-eating childhood joined by White House

Proving that election fights can unleash the worst jokes, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday that conservatives gleefully noting that President Barack Obama was fed dog meat as a child in Indonesia were just "trying to get out of the doghouse."

"He keeps up with the news, he may know about it," Carney said noncommittally when asked about the back-and-forth. "I think we're talking to a reference in his book to a period when he was 6 or 7 years old. Making a big deal out of it sounds like somebody who's trying to get out of the doghouse."

The resulting press corps groan conveyed a clear message: For Seamus, Jay.

"Just occurred to me to say that," Carney said. Carney had been asked about an online spat involving top aides to Obama and Mitt Romney—who, in a notorious tale from 1983, put the vacation-bound family's Irish setter, Seamus, in a carrier strapped to the roof of the family station wagon. Seamus ultimately emptied his bowels, the liquid dripping onto the vehicle's windows and forcing Romney to stop to rinse them off.

Democrats (and Gail Collins of the New York Times) delight in telling the story of the 1983 trip, apparently hoping pet-besotted Americans will recoil in horror. Romney's former rival for the party's nomination, Rick Santorum, also played off the story.

Conservatives struck back this week, pulling up an excerpt from Obama's book "Dreams From My Father" in which the future president talks about being fed dog meat as a boy in Indonesia. His take on the taste? "Tough."

Conservative glee spilled over onto Twitter, virtual fur flying as top aides from each campaign barked at each other.

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