Press Confronts White House on ‘Romney Killed My Wife’ Ad — Response: Sorry, Our Hands Are Tied
The pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA on Tuesday released an ad accusing Mitt Romney of being somehow responsible for the death of the wife of Joe Soptic, a former GST Steel employee and a known Obama campaign operative.
But despite the fact that the ad has been proven 100 percent false, and therefore reflects poorly on the administration, the White House maintains that it can’t say or do anything about it because it was produced by a third party group.
You keep trying to refer to it as an outside group,” NBC’s Chuck Todd said to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney during Friday’s press briefing.
“This is a group that David Plouffe has raised money for. David Plouffe works in the West Wing. This is a group that the campaign has asked to come to the cabinet to help raise money. This isn’t just some third party group. So, you do have standing. How do you not have standing when you speak out about this?” he asked.
“Again, as a matter of, as I understand it, the law, [the White House] has no control over what third party groups –” Carney began to say before being cut off.
“The law says you can’t condemn an ad?” Todd asked.
Carney reiterated that the White House has no opinion whatsoever on the ad.
Here‘s Fox’s Ed Henry questioning Carney over the same point [via Mediaite]
Todd wasn’t satisfied with Carney’s response.
“You made this general request…to the Romney campaign: Mitt Romney ought to distance himself, whether it’s a Donald Trump thing, whether it was Mr. Ricketts,” Todd said.*
So you’ve actually made those same requests, so, if you believe that they either stand by it or don’t stand by it, how are you not held to the same standard?” he persisted.
Carney argued that the ad is a campaign issue. Todd replied by pointing out that the White House has gone after “false” advertising before and that the decision to have no opinion on an ad tying Mitt Romney to someone’s death is kinda’-sorta’ arbitrary.
“Again, millions of dollars spent by the other campaign in states across the country, blatantly misrepresenting the president’s policy on an issue –” Carney started to say before he was caught for his obvious mistake.
“So on that, you will speak for the campaign?”
“It’s on policy!” Carney responded. “I know what the policy is and I take issue, as someone who speaks for and defends and explains the president’s policies, uh, with that representation of it.”
“What I’m not going to do is become a judge and assessor of every third party ad that’s out there. Again, just the other day, there was an ad — again, broadcast with real money, paid for by some group out there, conservative group — questioning the president’s citizenship,” he added.
Unsurprisingly, as noted before on TheBlaze, the reaction to the ad has been a mixture of shock and disgust. And because the common reaction has been a big, hearty “Are you Serious?”, Team Obama has tried to step away from the ad.
Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter claimed that neither she nor the Obama campaign knew anything about the details of Soptic’s family situation. Meanwhile, campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday “we don’t have any knowledge of the story of the family.” Even Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs pleaded ignorance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when the panel asked him what he thought of the fraudulent ad.
But there are two major problems with Cutter’s and Psaki’s claim. First, Soptic is no stranger to Team Obama. You see, the laid off steelworker is a veteran of anti-Romney ads and he spoke personally with Cutter and others during a conference call in May:
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