Oct. 17, 2010— -- With just two weeks until Election Day, America's political heavyweights are hitting the road bare-knuckled, ramping up the nastiness of their words.
Take Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who while campaigning for Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina in San Diego Saturday, unleashed a torrent of disdainful comments about her opponent, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
"This person will never waive the white flag of surrender the way that Barbara Boxer has tried to do every single time we have been in a conflict," he told his audience at the Veterans Museum in Balboa Park.
"Barbara Boxer is the most bitterly partisan, the most anti-defense Senator in the U.S. Senate today," he said, with the seemingly sole intent of insulting Boxer. "I know that because I have had the unpleasant experience of having to serve with her."
The fight has gotten dirty and neither political party is immune, made clear with the tense and often fraught language that the country's most powerful politicians are spewing on the road.
Campaigning for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown at UCLA Saturday evening, former President Bill Clinton seemed to scold the Democrats in attendance for their fading morale.
"It is not enough to have voted for a new president if you will not help him govern and stick behind the members of Congress who stood for him," Clinton told the crowd, through a drizzling rain. "I am pleading with you. You need to go out and tell everyone who is not here tonight that any college student in the state of California that doesn't vote in this election is committing malpractice on your own future."
Even President Obama, making the case for Gov. Deval Patrick, lightly chided Democratic voters in Boston on Saturday for their waning support while also admitting that much of the optimism of his election has faded.
"I understand that sometimes hope may have faded as we've grinded out this work over the last several years," he said. "But don't ever let anybody tell you this fight isn't worth it. Don't ever let them tell you you're not making a difference."
President Obama's campaigning strategy, however, remained much the same: taking scathing aim at the Republicans' inaction.
"They knew that you couldn't recover 8 million jobs overnight," President Obama assured the crowd in Boston. "That the longer it took, the more frustrated and angry people would get. And so, the Republican leadership made a calculation. It was a tactical decision that if they just sat on the sidelines; if they didn't lift a finger to help; if, instead, they opposed us every step of the way … they figured they could ride people's anger and frustration all the way to the ballot box."
The Democrats, too, have made some tough tactical decisions lately -- like cutting off funding to several of their own incumbents in the House, whose seats they believe to be already lost.
"This is firewall politics," says Amy Walters, ABC News Political Director. "This is protecting what you can and letting those who you know can't win, fall off. It is very cold blooded."