The Obama campaign has been hit with an epidemic of off-message-itis. First it was Bill Clinton: “Governor Romney’s argument is ‘we’re not fixed, so fire him and put me in.’ It is true, we’re not fixed. When President Obama looked into the eyes of that man who said in the debate, ‘I had so much hope four years ago and I don’t now,’ I thought he was going to cry because he knows that it’s not fixed.” The “it is true” part in reference to anything Romney is saying is not helpful to Obama’s everything-Romney-says-is-a-lie theme. It isn’t the worst thing Clinton has said (Romney’s “sterling business record” takes that prize), but when everything else is fraying this does not help.

Then there is VP Joe Biden, who proved himself obnoxious (and if one believes post-debate polling, entirely unhelpful to his boss). In one of his most bizarre comments, Biden said today in Las Vegas, “I don’t understand how they believe — and they do believe — Ryan has written a book called The Young Guns with two other members of the House, no these are Republican leaders in the House. You had, unfortunately, the bullets are aimed at you.” I’m not sure what that even means, but I’m certain it’s not good.

Ryan’s spokesman took the high (vice presidential) tone, responding, “Today’s over-the-top rhetoric by Vice President Biden is disappointing, but not all that surprising. In the absence of a vision or plan to move the country forward, the Vice President is left only with ugly political attacks beneath the dignity of the office he occupies. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will bring serious leadership to Washington that will focus on an agenda of job creation and economic growth that benefits all Americans.”

I’m glad the Ryan didn’t feign mock outrage. We’ve had enough Biden comments to know he is a loose cannon, a sort of Sen. Harry Reid without the tact. (That’s a joke, folks.) He’s shown himself to be less dignified than his opponent, and a lot less likable. All this does is once again make him and his boss look like frantic amateurs.