Yes, they were still. The election of 1828 (Andrew Jackon VS John Quincy Adams) is often cited as one of the dirtiest campaigns in history. Both candidates were both hot headed, and were willing to play dirty. That just goes to show you, politics has and always will be dirty.
In what way were these even crazy? But yes, historically when there was no instantaneous national media a candidate could say things in one town and completely disavow them in another. If you think Romney tells each audience what they want to hear and then flip flops, you haven't see anything.