David Brooks: Obama’s decision to go negative is ‘self-destructive’

New York Times columnist David Brooks criticized the Obama campaign's decision to go negative early, calling the attacks on Bain "self-destructive," during a "Meet the Press" panel Sunday.

DAVID BROOKS: I think it's fair especially if you don't have agenda. We’ve got deep structural problems; I haven't seen either candidate talk about this. If you ask the American people, does either candidate have a big plan for the future? Thirty-six percent Obama, 31 percent Romney–that's pretty bad. I question the Obama decision to go after—to start negative. They’ve decided to focus a negative way and it seems to me self-destructive. People like Obama, they like him personally, they admire him, and now I think he’s at risk of throwing that away by starting negative and going extremely tough and extremely hard, looking conventional, and frankly running ads that are inaccurate. The ad they ran against the steel company that Bain took over had a couple of inaccuracies that were the basis of the ad. They said the company was successful until Bain took it over; that’s false. They said Romney left—threw people out in the street; Romney was gone by then. They said they were loading up debt and dumping them; these companies have no higher default rates than anybody else. So I think starting negative not only distracts you from what he should be talking about—the big agenda for structural problems—but also damages his personal reputation.