August 8th, 2012
04:44 PM ET
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.”