San Francisco, home of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and a hotbed of liberal causes, is often referred to in sneering tones on the campaign trail. Boston and its environs get picked on as a nest of effete intellectuals, even by Romney — who holds two Harvard degrees, served as Massachusetts governor and maintains his official voting address there. The spin is that if Romney can govern successfully in Massachusetts, he can do so anywhere.

Still, Chicago bashing has developed into something of a reflex among a wide array of partisan finger-pointers. Some hail from parts of the country with less than pristine political reputations themselves.

In Louisiana — yes, Louisiana — a city council candidate from suburban New Orleans in March accused a rival of stealing a political consultant, proclaiming that the "Chicago-style tactics will backfire," according to media reports.

Last winter, it was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie blaming Obama and his Chicago political upbringing for stirring up protesters who interrupted the Garden State chief executive as he campaigned for Romney in Iowa.

"They represent an anger in our country that Barack Obama has caused," Christie said of the demonstrators. "Because he is a typical cynical Chicago ward politician who runs for office and promises everything and comes to office and disappoints."

Republicans even use Chicago to try to dirty up other Republicans. During her brief presidential campaign, a super PAC for Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., compared then-rival Rick Perry, the Texas governor, to a Chicago-style politician.

U.S. Reps. Don Manzullo, of Egan, and Adam Kinzinger, of Manteno, both consider themselves tea party acolytes. But when congressional redistricting forced them to oppose each other in the March Republican primary, Manzullo lashed out at Kinzinger for "running a Chicago-style campaign," albeit many miles from the Windy City itself.

Kinzinger won.

Tribune Newspapers' Seema Mehta contributed.