Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney blasted the controversial ad from the Obama-affiliated super PAC, Priorities USA, in a Thursday interview with the Bill Bennett Show. The ad suggests that Romney may have been responsible for the death of a steelworker’s wife after his plant was closed down.
Prominent media outlets such as CNN have panned the ad as "not accurate" and the founder of Priorities USA struggled mightily to defend the ad Wednesday in an interview that aired on "The Situation Room."
When asked about the ad by Bennett, Romney said:
It’s interesting too when the various fact checkers look at some of these charges in the Obama ads and they say that they’re wrong and inaccurate and yet he keeps on just running them. In the past, when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns either pulled the ad. They were embarrassed. Today, they just blast ahead. You know, I am seeing some of the ads out there. I don’t know whatever happened to a campaign of hope and change. I thought he was a new kind of politician. But instead, his campaign and the people working with him have focused almost exclusively on personal attacks and not at all on the issues of the day, which is how to get more jobs and more take home pay. It’s really disappointing.
The Obama campaign has yet to repudiate the Priorities USA ad and instead has gone so far as to claim no knowledge of the story of its protagonist, Joe Soptic. This assertion is belied by Soptic’s earlier appearance on an Obama campaign conference call with Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter, and by his appearance in an Obama campaign commercial in which the Republican presidential candidate is referred to as a "vampire" that was released in May.
Late Wednesday, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt released a statement to Politico standing by the ad’s claims.
"Joe Soptic suffered when he lost his job in the aftermath of the GST Steel plant closing, and no one is denying that he discussed that when he appeared in a campaign advertisement and on a conference call," LaBolt said in the statement.