The former Kansas City steelworker featured in a scathing ad tying his wife’s death to Mitt Romney has appeared in Obama campaign videos before — despite claims by a top Obama adviser Wednesday that he doesn’t know “the specifics of this man’s case” amid revelations that the ad is inaccurate and misleading.
The Romney campaign and other fact-checkers have pushed back hard on the ad, released Tuesday by pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA. The ad, featuring former GST Steel worker Joe Soptic, suggests Romney was in some way responsible for the death of Soptic’s wife because his plant was shuttered after a takeover by Romney’s firm and others — and because his wife died of cancer after he lost his health insurance.
However, the ad hides details about the timeline of those events. Soptic’s wife died five years after GST filed for bankruptcy. His wife reportedly had her own health insurance after Soptic left GST. And Romney had long since left Bain Capital at the time of her death.
Further, the Obama campaign certainly is familiar with the story of Soptic, despite claims by top campaign aides that they’re not as they tried to make the case Wednesday that the super PAC ad had nothing to do with the campaign’s work.
This week, Soptic reemerged in the Priorities USA ad telling how his wife got sick, and later died of cancer, after he was let go at GST steel.
Asked about the spot, Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs stressed that the super PAC is not connected to the campaign.
“This is an ad by an entity that’s not controlled by campaign. I certainly don’t know the specifics of this man’s case,” he said on MSNBC.
Asked about the Priorities spot on MSNBC Wednesday morning, Robert Gibbs said he doesn’t “know the specifics” while Stephanie Cutter said on CNN: “I don’t know the facts about when Mr. Soptic’s wife got sick or the facts about his health insurance.”
And [spokeswoman] Jen Psaki told reporters on Air Force One that “we don’t’ have any knowledge of the story of the family,” according to Yahoo! News.
But Cutter hosted an Obama campaign conference call in May in which Soptic told reporters the very story featured in the Priorities spot.
Both the campaign and the Priorities USA Action said there was no coordination about Soptic’s appearances. In the campaign’s ad, Soptic speaks only about the plant. In the Priorities spot, he tells the personal story he relayed during the Obama campaign conference call.
“We have no idea when Priorities shot their spot,” an Obama campaign official said. “We’re not allowed to coordinate with them – but we can tell you it wasn’t when we shot ours.”
The aide didn’t answer questions about when the Obama campaign shot its Soptic footage or explain Cutter’s televised statement.
Breitbart.com’s Ben Shapiro gets direct and to the point:
These were lies. The Obama campaign has known for months all about Joe Soptic. In fact, the Obama campaign website ran a slide on Soptic:
That slideshow appears to have been put up in May, coincident with the campaign’s video about GST Steel featuring Soptic.
But that wasn’t all. On May 14, Soptic spoke on an Obama campaign conference call.
For the Obama team to claim ignorance about Soptic while spinning his story precisely the same way as Priorities USA Action did — and then to run a conference call off the story — shows both coordination and lying.
I’d say a full court press for answers is in order to get, among other crucial bits of information, the exact dates and times of the production of the ads to determine, as Victoria Taft firmly believes, if collusion did occur. We won’t get that from the prObama MSM (not directly, anyway), but I know there are some intrepid bloggers out there who will dig and dig … and hopefully soon we’ll get those answers. In my opinion, this is just too coincidental to be anything other than collusion, which is illegal.
As they say, stay tuned …