When President Obama’s aides said they weren’t familiar with former Missouri steelworker Joe Soptic’s life story, all they had to do was check their own campaign archives.
Soptic, laid off from Bain Capital-owned GST Steel, stars in a Priorities USA Action spot this week in which he tells of how his wife died without health insurance after he lost his job. Soptic also appeared, wearing what appears to be an identical shirt, in a May television ad for the Obama campaign.
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 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.
It’s astonishing that the Obama campaign won’t condemn this ad. It was done by a super PAC — they can say very easily oh, no, we disapprove and we have no coordination with them — and then the super PAC can keep on running the ad (because Obama doesn’t get to decide what they do!), and the campaign would have it both ways: get the benefits of the nasty ad (unless it backfires and makes people distrust the Democrats) and look like they’re taking the high road by distancing themselves. Instead, they’re not only refusing to condemn it, but are making laughable claims about having never heard of Scoptic — someone who the campaign has clearly identified as useful when slamming Romney on layoffs.
Also, considering all the layoffs that have happened at Bain companies, isn’t it a little bizarre that both the super PAC and the campaign are so heavily relying on just one guy? Is it possible that many — or close to all — of these laid-off employees don’t hold Bain (and by extension, Romney) responsible for the layoffs? If Romney really was the villain that he’s being depicted as, it seems like there ought to be oh, at least a dozen people who are ready and willing to go on TV spots to blast him.