POLITICS

Obama quotes super PAC, but his team ‘can’t speak’ to ad that backfires

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

President Obama and his campaign revealed their policy on his favorite super PAC today: When his super PAC supporters coin clever phrases, he’ll adopt their joke as his own; when his super PAC supporters blame Mitt Romney for a woman’s death by cancer, then the campaign doesn’t know anything about anything.

“[W]e have about as much to do with the Priorities ad — the super PAC’s ad — as we do with Michael Phelps winning gold medals last week; I can’t speak to the ad,” Obama campaign spokesman Jen Psaki told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer this evening.

“Our Briana Keilar did a fact check of that ad and it’s full of falsehoods,” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer replied. “Obviously, you had nothing to do with it — the campaign is not associated with the super PAC  — but you can say, ‘you know what, we want to disassociate ourselves from that ad; we think it’s repulsive,’” Blitzer prodded.

Psaki wouldn’t repudiate the pro-Obama TV spot. “Well, look Wolf, we have nothing to do with the ad,” she said. “We can’t speak to the superPAC ads, we don’t have anything to do with them, so I don’t have anything further on that super PAC ad,” she said moments later.

The Obama campaign’s agnosticism about the super PAC comes a day after the president stole a clever joke from a Priorities USA email.

“It’s like Robin Hood in reverse,” Obama said at a fundraiser yesterday as he accused Romney of planning to raise taxes on the middle class in order to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy.

The collective wit of the Priorities USA strategists furnished Obama with that joke. “The reverse Robin Hood economics in Mitt Romney’s plan have finally been revealed,” super PAC strategist Bill Burton wrote in an email last week, as ABC’s Devin Dwyer noticed.

The ad that Psaki and Blitzer discussed blames Romney for a woman’s death by suggesting that she didn’t go to the doctor because her husband, who worked at a company owned and ultimately closed by Bain Capital (two years after Romney left the company), didn’t have insurance.

“It’s a heart-wrenching story, but it’s not accurate,” CNN’s Briana Keilar explained earlier in the day.  Keilar reported that the woman had insurance through her employer for three to four years (Joe Soptic, the man featured in the ad, was uncertain about the exact date) after Romney left Bain Capital to take over the Salt Lake City Olympics. Keilar adds that the woman discussed in the ad was diagnosed with cancer in 2006: three or four years after she left her job due to an injury; five years after her husband lost his job; and seven years after Romney left Bain.

“This is kind of a case of the super PAC being able to do the dirty work and the campaign and candidate, and in this case, the White House, trying to keep its hands clean,” Keilar concluded, after reporting that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney would not comment on the ad.

 

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