Controversial TV ad puts Obama campaign on the defensive
DENVER – A controversial new TV ad set to hit the airwaves in Colorado and several other swing states has President Obama’s campaign on the defensive — but it’s tripping up Mitt Romney’s campaign too.
The ad, from Priorities USA Action, the super-PAC supporting Obama, features a former Missouri steelworker, Joe Soptic, describing how his wife died without health insurance after he lost his benefits upon being laid off from GST Steel by Romney’s Bain Capital.
Campaign laws prohibit campaigns from coordinating with outside groups like Priorities USA Action; and President Obama’s campaign has denied knowing Soptic’s story.
Although that statement is now in question after a Politico report Wednesday that the Obama campaign itself featured Soptic in its own ad and, back in May, a conference call organized by the campaign.
On CNN Wednesday, top Obama adviser Stephanie Cutter said she didn’t know the facts about Soptic’s story.
Turns out, she hosted the very conference call with Soptic back in March.
“It is exactly the kind of cynical campaigning that right here, four years ago at Mile High Stadium, President Obama said was the wrong way to go,” Rob Portman told FOX31 Denver after a Romney rally outside the stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
“He said, if you’ll recall, that if you don’t have fresh ideas, you use stale tactics to attack your opponent, to scare people — and that’s what that ad’s about. I think it’s kind of desperate, frankly, and kind of pathetic,” said Portman, thought to be among the finalists to be tapped as Romney’s running mate in the coming days.
“And I also think it’s going to backfire on the campaign if they don’t come out immediately and reject that ad.”
But the Romney campaign, given the equivalent of a turnover, has fumbled it’s response, at least in the mind of many conservatives.
In an interview on Fox News Channel Wednesday morning, Romney’s spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, said that Soptic’s wife “would have had healthcare under Romneycare.”
Conservative commentator Erick Erickson, noting that the conservative base already distrusts Romney because of the state health care reform law he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts, let Saul have it.
“Conservatives have put aside their distrust of Romney on this issue in the name of beating Barack Obama. They thought he and his campaign team had gotten the message and the hints,” Erickson wrote. “Consider the scab picked, the wound opened, and the distrust trickling out again.
“About the only thing more stupid in terms of building bridges with the right would be to say something nice about fetal stem cell research.”
Rush Limbaugh also went ballistic over Saul’s comment on his radio show Wednesday.
“This isn’t about health insurance!” Limbaugh exclaimed. “They’re out there saying that your guy killed a woman! And your answer is, well she’d of had health insurance if she lived in Massachusetts?
“From the sound of this, they don’t know at the Romney campaign what the purpose of this ad was and how it took root. They apparently don’t know that the Obama campaign ran an ad accusing Romney of murder, essentially. And Stephanie Cutter’s backing it up.
“The woman did die. Romney got rich. He closed the plant. Husband lost a job. Wife got sick and died. Romney made out like a bandit,” Limbaugh railed.
- Hickenlooper grants reprieve to death row inmate Nathan Dunlap
- Longmont officer shoots, critically wounds AR15-wielding gunman
- Warning: Video shows Colo. murder suspect Evan Ebel shoot deputy
- Mom makes bullying daughter wear thrift shop clothes as punishment
- I-70 reopens in Glenwood Canyon following fatal crash