Harsh words then:
Negative campaigning in America was sired by two lifelong friends, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Back in 1776, the dynamic duo combined powers to help claim America’s independence, and they had nothing but love and respect for one another. But by 1800, party politics had so distanced the pair that, for the first and last time in U.S. history, a president found himself running against his vice president.
Things got ugly fast. Jefferson’s camp accused President Adams of having a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”
On Sunday morning, BuzzFeed correspondent Michael Hastings emailed Philippe Reines, Hillary Clinton’s longtime aide and personal spokesman at the State Department, asking a series of pointed questions about State’s handling of the Benghazi fiasco, and Reines’ over-the-top attack on CNN. The exchange quickly got personal, with Reines calling Hastings an “unmitigated asshole” before an exchange of harsh words on both sides.
The exchange concluded with Reines writing that Hastings should “Fuck Off” and “Have a nice life.”
It’s not what you say — everybody gets angry and flies off the handle now and then. And tempers are sure to flare in an election year. But it is still how you say it, and I’m afraid by that measure we’re a nation in decline.