Seeking to make some political hay while the criticism of the Obama campaign’s ad about the steelworker who blames Romney for the death of his wife is coming from all sides, the Romney camp unveiled a new ad that skewers the president for using a dead woman as a political prop.
“What does it say about a president’s character when his campaign tries to use the tragedy of a woman’s death for political gain?” the narrator says. “What does it say about a president’s character when he had his campaign raise money for the ad then stood by as his top aides were caught lying about it?”
The anti-Romney super PAC ad featured ex-steelworker Joe Soptic, who recounts how his wife died of cancer after he lost his health insurance when his plant was shuttered after a takeover by Bain Capital and other companies working with the private equity firm.
The ad left out key details about the timeline, including that Soptic’s wife died five years after the plant closed, and years after Romney left Bain.
Obama campaign aides, shortly after the ad was unveiled, claimed to have little knowledge about Soptic’s case. However, Soptic had been featured in Obama campaign ads earlier in the year — and the Obama campaign even hosted a May conference call in which he told his story.
The Obama campaign and the White House have stressed that the group, Priorities USA, is as a super PAC a technically distinct group that is not supposed to coordinate with the campaign. The group, though, was co-founded by one of the president’s top former spokesmen.
Pressed repeatedly about the ad at Friday’s press briefing, Carney said he still hadn’t discussed the issue with the president.
“We do not control third-party ads,” Carney said
No doubt there is as much “control” of third-party ads by the Obama team as there is by the Romney campaign. That isn’t the point, anyway. The question is whether Obama is going to disavow the ad. Does he regret it running?
The White House has already told enough whoppers about this ad, including the notion that they didn’t know anything about Mr. Soptic despite the fact that the former steelworker was featured in another ad, this time made by the campaign itself.
It’s a good concept — trashing your opponent for a political low blow. But the Romney ad won’t get half the play that the Priorities USA ad received. That ad hasn’t even aired on TV yet. It has more than half a million views already and it’s only been three days.
Expect more of the same coming soon from this super PAC.