After weeks of silence on the Priorities USA Action ad, President Obama finally commented on the ad, saying that he didn’t believe Mitt Romney had anything to do with the death of Joe Soptic’s wife and that the ad was not approved or produced by his campaign.
I don’t think that Governor Romney is somehow responsible for the death of the woman that was portrayed in that ad. But keep it mind, this is an ad that I didn’t approve, I did not produce, and as far as I can tell has barely run. I think it ran once.
The ad, which was produced by Obama Super PAC Priorities USA Action, is technically independent from the campaign, but the PAC is operated by two former White House staffers. Despite denials by deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter that the campaign didn’t coordinate with the Super PAC, and that she didn’t know Soptic’s story, a recording has surfaced of an earlier conference call with campaign staffers talking with Soptic in which he mentioned his wife’s cancer. Cutter was the person introducing him during the conference call, proving at the very least that she was lying about not knowing his story.
Obama was also asked about the campaign suggesting that Romney had lied to the SEC about when he left Bain Capital, which would be a felony, and he responded by saying that “nobody accused Mr. Romney of being a felon.”
Maybe she didn’t directly accuse Mr. Romney of being a felon, but Cutter sure came close when she said the following:
Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony. Or, he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments.
Obama had a golden opportunity to take the high road and give his campaign a boost by strongly disavowing the Priorities USA ad and admitting that Cutter’s remarks on Romney’s days at Bain were inappropriate. But instead, he resorted to denials and talking points while trying to shift the blame for any negative campaigning to the Romney camp.
Lucky for Obama there wasn’t a fact-checker present.