August 8th, 2012
07:01 PM ET
Representatives from the Obama campaign tried to distance themselves on Wednesday from a new ad released by the pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA that links actions taken by Bain Capital to the death of former steelworker Joe Soptic’s wife.
Aboard Air Force One, campaign spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters that the campaign had “no involvement with any ads that are done by Priorities USA.”
“We don’t have any knowledge of the story of the family,” Psaki said when asked about Soptic’s story.
On CNN’s Early Start Wednesday morning, Obama for America Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter also denied that she knew the details of Soptic’s story.
“Well, you do know that we don't have anything to do with Priorities USA,” Cutter told CNN’s John Berman. “That by law, we're not allowed to coordinate with them, and by law we don't have anything to do with their ads. I don't know the facts of when Joe Soptic's wife got sick or when she died.”
But in an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Soptic said that the campaign had asked him to appear at events on behalf of the president to talk about his experiences with Bain.“I was asked to fly to some of the battleground states, but I have been unable to do that,” Soptic said in a phone call.
On a May 14 Obama campaign conference call featuring both Soptic and Cutter, he even told an almost identical story to the one he tells in the new Super PAC ad.
In the ad Soptic claims that when Bain shut down the Kansas City steel mill where he had worked for nearly 30 years, his family lost their health insurance. His wife Ilyona became ill “a short time after,” and he says in the ad, “I think maybe she didn’t say anything because she knew that we couldn’t afford the insurance.”
He then describes taking his wife to the county hospital only to discover that she had cancer.
“She passed away in 22 days,” Soptic says.
On the conference call, Soptic phrased his story this way:
At the end of his remarks, Soptic turns the call back over to Cutter.
“We really appreciate you sharing your experiences,” Cutter said.