In a break with his 2007 statement about a candidate’s control over outside groups, President Obama refused to denounce a video made by his former White House spokesman that suggests Mitt Romney caused a woman to die of cancer.
“I don’t think that Gov. Romney is somehow responsible for the death of the woman that was portrayed in that ad,” Obama told reporters today. “But keep in mind, this is an ad that I didn’t approve, I did not produce, and as far as I can tell, has barely run. I think it ran once.” He was responding to a reporter why he wouldn’t tell his super PAC that the ad was “out of bounds.”
When Obama was running for president in 2007, he attacked John Edwards — who called for an outside group run by a former staffer to cancel an ad campaign scheduled on his behalf – saying that if the group refused to pull the ad, it proved that Edwards was not a strong leader.
As Politico reported at the time:
“The fact is this is somebody who worked for John Edwards, for the last who knows how many years, who’s a good friend and colleague of Edwards, who’s now running a 527 that is running ads on behalf of John Edwards. [Laugh] You’re telling me he has no influence over him? That’s not true. If [Obama communications director] Robert Gibbs started running a 527 and I called Robert Gibbs and said, ‘Stop running ads on my behalf,’ are you suggesting I would have no influence over Robert Gibbs?”
Priorities USA Action, the Obama-approved super PAC that produced the ad, is led by Bill Burton, who worked on Obama’s campaign and in his White House press office under Robert Gibbs.