"If you don't come of out here with a first or second place, it's hard to keep going," she says. "So by the time they get here everybody takes off the gloves."
One of the most famous examples she cites is a whisper campaign during the 2000 presidential primary that falsely claimed then-candidate John McCain of fathering an illegitimate child with a black prostitute.
Vinson says this type of campaigning goes back to at least the '70s, if not before.
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