Obama pushes back on welfare attacks, addresses controversial Priorities ad
August 20th, 2012
05:01 PM ET

Obama pushes back on welfare attacks, addresses controversial Priorities ad

(CNN) – President Barack Obama responded to a controversial ad from an outside group backing his presidential campaign while pushing back on Republican claims that his administration would drop the work requirement from welfare-to-work programs, in an unannounced appearance in the White House Briefing Room Monday.

Asked about the ad created by a pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA Action, which linked presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney to the death of a steelworker's wife during his tenure at Bain Capital, Obama said that he does not think that Romney is responsible for the woman's death.


August 9th, 2012
06:14 PM ET

Ad linking Mitt Romney to woman's death continues to dog Obama campaign

A television ad by Priorities USA Action, the main super PAC backing President Obama, linking Mitt Romney to a woman's death continues to dog the Obama campaign.

For the third day in a row, reporters peppered the White House and Obama campaign about the new ad, which CNN fact-checked Tuesday and found to be inaccurate.

The ad features Joe Soptic, a steelworker who was laid off from his job at a Kansas City, Missouri steel plant in 2001 after the plant was taken over and eventually shut down by Bain Capital, Romney's former company.

The campaign has not endorsed the claims in the ad, but it also has not denounced the impression the ad gives, that if Soptic had not been laid off by Bain Capital perhaps his wife might not have died from cancer.

"We had nothing to do with the ad," Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday. "We can't speak to what they were trying to convey by the ad or communicate." FULL POST

Topics: 2012 Election • Bill Burton • Campaign • President Obama • Super PAC
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
Morgan Freeman gives pro-Obama PAC a million
July 19th, 2012
10:04 AM ET

Morgan Freeman gives pro-Obama PAC a million

(CNN) – Actor Morgan Freeman, currently starring in the latest installment of the Batman franchise, donated $1 million last month to the super PAC supporting President Barack Obama, the group's filings with the Federal Election Commission will show on Friday.

In a statement, Freeman listed the accomplishments he said spurred his donation to Priorities USA Action.

"Pres. Obama has done a remarkable job in historically difficult circumstances," Freeman wrote. "He ended combat operations in Iraq, put in place sensible reforms of Wall Street, saved the auto industry and protected the health care of every American. He has led our nation to be more tolerant and placed impressive, accomplished women on the Supreme Court."


Topics: President Obama • Super PAC