“Speaking to an audience, he said, you know voting is the best revenge,” said Romney. “He told his supporters, voting for revenge. Vote for revenge?

“Let me tell you what I’d like to tell you: Vote for love of country,” he said. “It is time we lead America to a better place.”

Asked about the revenge kerfuffle, Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “Mitt Romney is ending this campaign with scare tactics in Ohio with a fake ad about the auto industry,” she said, referring to an ad assailed by automakers as false, one suggesting that Jeep jobs in the U.S. are being sent to China. “The President was simply suggesting if you think the American people deserve better and if you believe the President is offering a better deal for the middle class you have the power to cast your vote.”

It was an ugly and small-minded moment, especially for the end of a campaign when candidates usually try to stress larger, optimistic themes. Romney incorporated the “revenge” line in his speech in Ohio Friday night, saying that while Obama advises revenge, he, Romney, wants people to vote “for love of country.”

As Obama traveled to northern Ohio Saturday morning, campaign official Jen Psaki was asked about the “revenge” remark. According to a White House pool report, Psaki said Obama had been speaking in the context of Romney’s “scare tactics” in Ohio. The Republican is “frightening workers in Ohio into thinking, falsely, that they’re not going to have a job,” Psaki said, according to the pool report…

The problem is, the president was actually not speaking in the context of Romney’s highly-controversial ads about bailed-out Chrysler adding production of Jeeps in China. In fact, Obama had not said a word about the Jeep controversy when he said “revenge.”

Hard to believe that the guy who promised to “punish our enemies” is now talking about voting for “revenge.”

If you watch the clip itself, it’s not clear at all what Obama’s supporters are supposed to want revenge for. Obama mentions Romney name in the context of his run for the senate in Massachusetts — back when Romney was quite the moderate — and the audience starts to boo. Obama says “no, no. Don’t boo. Vote. Vote. Voting is the best revenge.” Revenge for what? Him running for the senate? Revenge for Romney daring to challenge Obama? I understand Obama is bitter. That’s been obvious for a while. But it’s just a weird and narcissistic assumption that his supporters want “revenge” too. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong, though. Which makes the whole thing even creepier.

That’s the best he can do? “Voting is the best revenge”? And against whom should voters seek “revenge” — other Americans? A candidate who has the support of about half the electorate? It is mind-boggling, really, that this sort of snide, negative motivation is what President Obama has saved up for his final appeal.

But that’s really been the story of his campaign all along. Carpet-bomb Mitt Romney with negative ads during the summer and then make the last week of the campaign about Big Bird, “Romnesia” and “binders full of women.” He apparently has given up on luring independent, less-partisan voters (Romney leads by double digits among independents, most pollsters say). In his yearning to turn out his base he must imagine that those voters bear as much animus against his opponents as he does. But of course that’s not how he turned out his base last time. Then it was hope and change; now Romney is the hope and change candidate.

“Just yesterday he was asking his supporters at a rally to vote out of revenge,” Ryan said to about 1,000 people at the college gymnasium. “Mitt Romney and I are asking you to vote out of love of country. That’s what we do in this country. We don’t believe in revenge.”

Ryan then co-opted the president’s famous slogan, changing it slightly:

“We believe in change and hope. We actually do,” Ryan said. “In 2008 President Obama made all these lofty promises, it sounded so good. He said that we would have bi-partisanship, that he’d bridge the gap. He said he’d cut the deficit in half, that he’d get people working again, and he’d create jobs. You see all those jobs here in Marietta? Look, it sounded good and when he got elected people naturally expected him to deliver those results but it didn’t happen and look what we got. Washington is more divided than it ever has been before. And the deficit, it doubled from what he said it would be.”

Mitt Romney has been making a pitch for bipartisanship in the closing days of the race, and this morning rolled out an endorsement from Hillary Clinton’s former Senate state director, Gigi Georges:

“For most of my life, I’ve been an active Democrat. I am proud to have worked for President Bill Clinton and then-Senator Hillary Clinton, and, during that time, I saw firsthand what can be accomplished by strong, bipartisan leadership. I know what it means to work across the aisle on issues that are important to the American people. And that’s why I am supporting Mitt Romney. Governor Romney has a plan to restore the prosperity this country deserves and expects. He will work with people of good will no matter what their party, and he will pursue the policies that are in the best interest of our country, no matter who proposes them. That’s what President Obama promised to do four years ago. But like so many of his promises, bipartisan cooperation is just another one he has broken. We can’t have four more years of failed policies and two parties that can’t work together. We need the change Mitt Romney is offering.”

Romney, whatever else you think about him, is somebody who has fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and visited the sick. In Mr. Whedon’s view of the world, none of that dirty-handed business is necessary: All that is necessary is that one cast a symbolic vote for the man who promises to care, and to express that care by expropriating money from people you don’t like and giving it to people for whom you have a moral concern that is at best theoretical. That is the cheapest form of charity, which surely would occur to Mr. Whedon and his admirers, if they ever took the time to think about it. Fortunately for President Obama, they have shown neither the inclination nor the ability to do so.

For the Dumb Vote, voting is simply an expression of affiliation, a way of marking one’s membership in the tribe of the compassionately ironic or ironically compassionate or whatever. It is a gesture for people who are absolutely certain that they are right — not because they have any meaningful information, but because they are absolutely certain that the other side is evil, which is why they so quickly and consistently revert to claims of racism against a movement that includes lots of non-white partisans, claims of misogyny against a movement that includes an enormous number of women, claims of aspiring Christian theocracy against a movement that includes a great many non-Christians and that is noted for its affinity with the Jewish state, etc.