August 8th, 2012
04:44 PM ET

White House, Obama campaign distance themselves from Super PAC ad

One day after refusing to answer questions about a television ad put out by pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA, on Wednesday both the White House and the Obama campaign distanced themselves from the new attacks on Mitt Romney’s record.

The ad ties the actions of Romney’s old financial firm Bain Capital to the 2006 death of factory worker Joe Soptic’s wife. Soptic, an employee of GST Steel in Missouri for nearly 30 years, was laid off in 2001 when Bain closed the factory where he worked. This caused him to lose his health insurance, which also covered his wife Ilyona.

Years later Ilyona died rather suddenly from stage-four lung cancer that had gone undiagnosed, a situation that Soptic told CNN was caused by Bain’s decision to shutter the Kansas City steel mill where he had worked.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters traveling with the president aboard Air Force One on Wednesday that he had not seen the ad, quickly brushing aside repeated questions about whether or not its allegations are appropriate.

“I still haven’t seen the ad,” Carney said. “I’ve read about it. I don’t speak for a third-party group. I speak for the President and the administration, and I explain and defend his policies.”

Traveling campaign spokesperson Jen Psaki was even blunter.

“We have nothing - no involvement with any ads that are done by Priorities USA,” Psaki said. “We don’t have any knowledge of the story of the family. As you know, campaign finance rules in that regard are in place for a reason. At the same time, while we’re talking about this ad, which we all know we had no involvement in, Mitt Romney’s team is running a dishonest ad, an ad that is a big, bold-faced lie that even President Clinton has said was disappointing and inaccurate. And that’s an ad that they should be held accountable for and on the facts, because right now they’re out there running it across the country as if this is a true policy when in fact it’s not. So that’s a conversation we feel like we should be having.”


Topics: 2012 Election • Campaign • Gaggle Notes • President Obama • Super PAC

soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. sonny chapman

    This ad NEEDS to be run. This is the crux of who's for the Middle Class & who's fro the 1%.

    August 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • kevin

      You are so wrapped up in class warfare you can't see the sad, sick message in this ad. No use pointing out the truth because like Jack Nicholson said in "A Few Good Men" you can't handle the truth.

      August 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
      • TheLoneStar

        Col. Jessup was an outlaw and found guilty.

        August 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
      • Steveo

        TheLoneStar

        Col. Jessup was an outlaw and found guilty
        ----------
        How much time did he get. Oh wait, we're talking about a FICTIONAL character!

        August 10, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • como1

      It is s sad that so many who support Obama condone a lie to get him re elected.

      August 8, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
      • RealityBites

        Sad.., but obvious why CNN's biased truth squad hasn't done an full article on this one.

        August 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
      • carl

        Tell me exactly what is said in this ad that is not true. Romney's decisions caused this man (and many others) to lose their health insurance. As a result, his wife did not have medical care that might have discovered her cancer early enough to do something about it–because without insurance she couldn't afford it. These are simply facts. Romney's decisions obviously had some culpabillity in this outcome. Did he murder her (as some repubs say the ad implies)? Of course not. And the ad does not say that. But anybody who can't see the connection here, are simply in denial.

        August 9, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • DEcember 2012

      WHEN REPUBLITARDS SAY, LET THE BOTTOM FALL OUT. LET THEM GO BANKRUPT, THIS IS PRETTY MUCH THE SAME THING. LET THE SUPERPACS WREAK HAVOC.

      August 8, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
      • Lizzie

        If you make millions even billions as a CEO, because YOU'RE so smart and run the company into the ground, should anyone bail you out?

        August 9, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Howard

      Obama, Reid, and Pelosi are just DIRTY LIARS. Besides, the only reason Obama is even with Romney in the polls, is because Obama has already spent over 100 million dollars trashing Romney in television ads ... Romney is not permitted to spend his money on advertising until after the Republican convention. What you Obama stooges don't seem to understand is America is more important than Obama ... and, Obama is destroying America.

      August 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • TheSteelGeneral

      Super PAC main point still stands: if Romney hadn't raided that mans firm his wife would still have had coverage when his wife got sick. Romney's personal actions got a lot of people fired, and he left us taxpayers with the bill! We had to pay foodstamps and welfare checks and ER health care stuff for these people.

      This was no accident, but deliberate action by Romney: to raid, take the money and run.

      August 26, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  2. betterdays

    The president had nothing to do with the ad in question. It is the product of those evil Super PACs he repeatedly said he didn't want any part of, until he changed his mind.

    August 8, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Howard

      Obama takes credit for everything he didn't do ... and distances himself from eveything he does do ... but even after spending 100 million dollars to demonize his opponent with false accusations, and benefiting from the protection of a biased media ... the truth will ultimately prevail, and the liar and thief will join the 8.3 % unemployed ... It's called Poetic Justice.

      August 8, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
      • FlotsamJetsam

        Give me a break! That is the first time I have heard someone actually claim that. I can't believe you actually suggest that. and yet we have Mitt Romney who with Romneycare provided the basis for the Affordable Care Act and he can't run away from the issue fast enough. and you fail to mention Bain Capital which Romney has made the sole reason he is qualified to be president. Yet all he wants are the good stories to be told and the stories where jobs were outsourced (he wasn't there even though SEC documents say otherwise) or businesses weren't shuttered and workers lost their health care (Romney claims it didn't happen). Now he doesn't want anyone pouring through his tax returns because who knows what kind of stuff is in there. Did he pay any taxes? Did he hide behind different tax shields? Romney can't be trusted.

        August 8, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  3. kevin

    Mitt wasn't at Bain when the steel plant went under and he never had any involvement with it. The man's wife had health insurance for a year after he lost his job. She did not get until Mitt was governer in Mass.. Also, as Obama pointed out a million times, they could have got coverage from Medicare. If a person has no insurance they still must be treated if sick. Grant the hospital can stabilize a person and transfer them to a different facility for further treatment but for those seriously ill it rarely happens. She died just 22 days after finding out she had lung cancer. I am sorry for Mr. Soptic's loss but this is sick that people are using him and the memory of his dear wife to conduct a charcter assassination. I would condem Mitt if he did the same thing. I wonder what Mr. Soptic was told when he was filmed for this ad another one he did earlier this year. Of course Obama's people are acting dumb while rubbing their hands with glee. Mr. President where is this great civility, in you, to immediately condem this ad?

    August 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • DEcember 2012

      PLEASE DON'T LET FACTS GET IN THE WAY OF A 'SUCCESSFUL' SUPERPAC AD. THIS IS CITIZENS UNITED AT ITS FINEST.

      WHY DOES THE PRESIDENT NEED TO APOLOGIZE FOR SOMETHING THAT LEGALLY HE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH? WHEN HAS MITT ROMNEY EVER APOLOGIZED FOR ALL THE SUPERPAC NONSENSE? YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW. IF YOU ARE A TRUE AMERICAN, YOU FIGHT TO CHANGE THE LAWS THAT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN. I KNOW OBAMA TRIED, BUT THESE ARE HANDS THAT WERE DEALT. IF YOU THOUGHT CHICAGO STYLE POLITICS IS UGLY, YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHING YET.

      August 8, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
      • Mike

        The capital letters was completely painful to read, but you are right.

        SuperPAC ads will not be able to be controlled and attempting to tie them to the candidate is a fruitless effort. There are too many, they are too awful and there is no metric for what is acceptable and what isn't.

        August 9, 2012 at 11:19 am |
      • bb

        It always amazes me when stupidy is blind, that would be you

        August 9, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
      • Howard

        DEcember 2012 ... is obviously just another sleazy, lying obama stooge, like bill burton ... who will trash anyone, in a desperate attempt to get their liar and thief reelected.

        August 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  4. 1crusader

    It was probably right to distance themselves from this ad;BUT there is a good chance that Romney was still profiting from Bain during this period, even though he had left.With tax proposals , such as his, and his embrace of Paul Ryan's plan that hurts seniors,Romney has demonstrated an indifference-even callousness- towards the plight of the average person.

    August 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Brian R

      Profits from Bain aren't in question.......it has never been denied that any were made. Also, show me where "his" embracing of Paul Ryan"s plan hurts seniors.....I guess if you repeat it enough you'll believe what your told.

      Follow the below link and read it; all of it (pictures not included).

      http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2011/dec/20/lie-year-democrats-claims-republicans-voted-end-me/

      August 8, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  5. Frank Marshall Davis

    Who cares? We aready know Obama is a liar so why expect wine in a water bottle? It's like expecting a fish to stop swimming.

    August 8, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  6. como1

    If Obama wants to distance himself from this ad he needs to condemn it and recommend publically in all the media that the ad be pulled. He also should issue an apology for this disgusting ad as it was his PAC.

    August 8, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • DEcember 2012

      WHY? HAS ROMNEY EVERY APOLOGIZED FOR ALL THE SLIME HIS SUPERPAC HAS EVER THROWN AT HIS REPUBLITARD COMPETITORS? HELL NO. MAYBE IT IS TIME TO TURN THE HYPOCRISY DOWN A FEW NOTCHES.

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

      August 8, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Lizzie

      Why would he, David Plouffe does exactly what David Axelrod tells him, and David Axelrod plays Chicago style politics, always has and always will.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  7. judy

    one super pac for the demos any multipul super pacs for the repos. Yet all the right wing idiots seem to think that they are the only one who can put this stuff out. You are getting exactly what you keep dishing out. But you sure can't take it. Whiney babies. Forward 2012

    August 8, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  8. judy

    frank sounds like you drank all the wine out of the bottle you ass .

    August 8, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  9. neil

    Please help us save these jobs.
    http://www.indiegogo.com/save-our-jobs
    Anything you can do is welcomed.

    August 9, 2012 at 8:20 am |
  10. uncdig

    obamalony

    August 9, 2012 at 8:25 am |
  11. Joanne Renshaw

    "Team Obama denies knowing story of man in its TV ad" (laid off, Baine/Romney to blaime)

    When I read the "real" story, my initial reaction was that this "pro-Obama PAC" is actually a "pro-Romney PAC" bent on sabotaging the Obama campaign. Obama does not sanction this ad with "I approved this ad", but Romney will not accept the statement by Obama that he did not know about this ad. I can only take Obama's word on this, as I have no proof otherwise. It is not as the situation when Romney claimed he hadn't seen an attack ad against Gingrich (Spanish-language ads that say Newt called Spanish “the language of the ghetto.”): At the end of the ad, Romney said, in Spanish, "I am Mitt Romney. I am running for president, and I approve this message". or

    "The blind trust is an age-old ruse" (1992); don't even know where offshore accounts are... because they are "managed in a blind trust." (2012).

    Claimed Romneycare was never intended to be a model for a national plan: In 2007, Romney said in a Baltimore speech that he hoped Romneycare would be a "model for the nation." Gov. Mitt Romney signed a bill requiring all Massachusetts residents to purchase health insurance. He’s now a critic of his own biggest achievement.
    My list is very long and may become infinite.

    August 9, 2012 at 8:54 am |
  12. mikle

    Obama talk about Romney, because he don't have nothing say good about himself. Why he don't talk about his achievement. Nada, nothing, zero, Yes we cannot.

    August 9, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  13. gman

    It just goes to show that Obama can not run on his pathetic record. Obama is so incompetant that he makes both Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush look like rock stars. People who vote for Obama get what they deserve. I will be fine either way since I am a 39 year old millionare that does not believe in hand outs, and has worked for what I have. Oh yeah! I guess "I did build that".

    August 9, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  14. Mike

    It's a SuperPAC ad. The GOP literally brought this on themselves, Citizens United is 100% their decision on the SCOTUS.

    Does the advertisement at the end say "I'm Barack Obama and I support this message"?

    I didn't think so. The media can try to run the "condemn or be condemned" campaign, but they can't keep up with it. New SuperPAC ads, from both sides and full of distortions and lies, are being released daily. A lot of them are going to cross the line. Is the media going to scrutinize every single one in every state with an arbitrary scale of outrage for both candidates in the presidential race? How about the senate or house candidates?

    Or, what seems more likely, this is the first thing in a long time the media has had an opportunity to "bash" Obama, so they'll play it out as best they can to appear unbiased. Unfortunately in our media, bias isn't about actual bias, but about perception among idiots and echo chamber media reverberation.

    The media tells the candidates to stick to the issues. Well, are crappy, under the belt and over the top advertisements the issue? I didn't think so. Move on, media.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:15 am |
  15. cj1

    All you Obama supporters listen up. Anyone who believes that sack of crap needs to really think about some things. He knows nothing but negativity, and only losers like you would believe it

    August 9, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  16. gonzobob

    This is the way Obama has operated since he entered the house of rep . Superpac bull he knows he ok ed it him and axe had the plan from day one . CNN you are going down hill giveing one sideed info

    August 9, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  17. bb

    Please dont try to tell me Oblunder didnt know this. he hasnt told the truth on anything. Transparent gov my bu$$.
    Oblameo said he wouldnt run if unemp was over 6%, he said he wouldnt run if he didnt cut the deficet in half. MAN UP
    OBLUNDER JUST GO AWAY YOU TOTALLY STINK Wait till u meet your maker.

    August 9, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  18. Patriot Awesome

    What's the matter Republicans? Citizen's United decision not working out for you anymore? i agree this ad is terrible, but you have no right to complain when Republican Super Pac ads are just as, if not more full of lies and half truths.

    August 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  19. Michael

    Patriot Awesome, can you please point out a Super Pac ad that is pro-republican and as blatant of a lie as this one. With the exception of the swift boat ad against Kerry in 2004 I can't think of one.

    As a general point, the Obama campaign claims to have no knowledge or ties to this ad, which would be fine under the Citizens United decision, but Jeff Soptic wearing the same clothes and interviewed at the same location was used in an Obama campaign ad in May. This should prompt at least a look at if the super pac got the footage from the Obama campaign or vice-versa, or if the 2 groups produced the interview together. Any of these three situations likely violates the Citizens United decision. If both groups independently obtained the footage from 3rd party, it might not be an issue.

    August 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  20. TheSteelGeneral

    Romney, very sanctimoniously wants some sort apology because somebody played a little dirty????
    This, after 24 outright LIES by Romney? Gimme a fat effing break here.
    According to factcheckers, Romney lies more, A LOT!

    Obama is FOUR(4!) times as truthful as Romney, who even lies when he doesn't have to.
    This can be backed up by facts:
    http://www.politifact.com/personalities/mitt-romney/
    http://www.politifact.com/personalities/barack-obama/

    Out of 392 Obama statements
    91 were True
    91 were Mostly True
    99 were Half True
    47 were Mostly False
    58 were False
    6 were Pants on Fire

    Out of 153 Romney statements
    24 were True
    21 were Mostly True
    43 were Half True
    24 were Mostly False
    27 were False
    14 were Pants on Fire
    The weighted scoring of their statements shows that
    Obama has a truth-score of 373/392 = 95% and
    Romney has one of 37/153 = 24%
    Which means that Obama is FOUR times as truthful as Romney.

    August 26, 2012 at 3:05 pm |