ROMNEY TAKES THE LOW ROAD….It’s likely my standards are low, but I’ve been relatively pleased that the presidential race has featured very little talk about the Lewinsky scandal. Going into the race, I was a little worried the media would be preoccupied with this nonsense, and Republican candidates, anxious to score cheap points, would make hay of the decade-old controversy.

By and large, that hasn’t happened. But leave it to Mitt Romney to take the low road.

“We’ll try and represent ourselves and our nation well also to our kids because I think, I think kids watch the White House and there have been failures in the past in the White House — if you go back to the Clinton years and recognize that — that I think had an enormous impact on the culture of our country,” Romney said. “And we’ll do our very best, our whole family will to — well, if we can’t be perfect, we’ll do our best to uphold and to be a good example for the kinds of values I think people expect from our leaders.”

Wow, that sure is dumb. The Lewinsky scandal had an “enormous impact” undermining American culture? Seriously?

This is actually the second time Romney has given up on decency in emphasizing this, the first coming in October when the former governor said the Clintons hurt “our nation’s character.”

This strikes me as misguided. First, I haven’t seen any polling data on this, but I really doubt voters still care about the Lewinsky scandal a decade later. Indeed, there was scant evidence voters cared about the scandal at the time. If anyone looks bad 10 years after the fact, it’s the Republican attack machine that launched an absurd impeachment crusade.

Second, if Romney really wants to go after a rival candidate over “family values,” he’s picked the wrong target. Indeed, the first two admitted adulterers to ever seek a major party presidential nomination are Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. (Is this some kind of bank-shot attack? If it is, it’s awfully clunky.)

I can appreciate the fact that Romney is in a tough spot right now, but gratuitous references to Clinton scandals in the 1990s only make him look desperate and classless.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.