Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is escalating his campaign against a recent dubious super PAC ad, airing his own ad declaring that Obama “will say or do anything to stay in power.”
Ad trackers show that the Priorities USA Action ad has not actually aired on television. But Romney is hitting back with his own ad, which according to the campaign will run on TV.
“What does it say about a president’s character when his campaign tries to use the tragedy of a woman’s death for political gain?” the narrator asks. “What does it say about a president’s character when he had his campaign raise money for the ad then stood by as his top aides were caught lying about it? Doesn’t America deserve better than a president who will say or do anything to stay in power?”
Aides to Obama claimed no knowledge of the details of the Priorities ad, in which steelworker Joe Soptic suggests Romney and Bain Capital are partly responsible for his wife’s death by closing his plant. (Our Factchecker gave the spot Four Pinocchios.) Super PACs are not allowed to coordinate with campaigns.
But Soptic has also appeared in an Obama ad and on an Obama campaign conference call. And Obama does support the super PAC — although it’s misleading to say that the president raised money for this particular ad.
As we wrote earlier this week, complaints about unfair attacks rarely resonate with the public, but Obama and his allies have gotten an unusual amount of heat over this spot. The media has highlighted facts that make Soptic’s story far less damning — most notably, that his wife died five years after the plant closed. White House Communications Director Jay Carney has been pressed repeatedly on the ad.
Romney’s campaign is now trying to use that scrutiny to make a larger case that Obama is untrustworthy. Unlike an Obama ad released Friday morning on welfare, Romney doesn’t even discuss the attack; his focus is entirely on Obama. If it works, it would be an unusual case of an ad backfiring.