A Democratic Super-PAC that launched an attack ad against Mitt Romney using footage from the 2002 Olympics has been told to take the web ad down and to not air a TV version.
The ad featured at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, using athletes from countries where the presumptive GOP presidential nominee has held foreign investments, including Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and Switzerland, as well as countries where the ad accused him of “outsourcing” jobs.
Romney’s tenure running the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games after they were scandalized with allegations of corruption – saving the Olympics, in the parlance of his hagiographers – is one of his calling cards, one that Democrats are seeking to undermine in various ways. But the U.S. Olympic Committee put a stop to this attempt.
“The Olympic Games are a celebration of friendship, excellence and respect,” said U.S. Olympic Committee spokesperson Patrick Sandusky. “While we are absolutely confident that neither presidential candidate nor campaign has participated in the production or distribution of these negative ads , the attacks, using Olympic themes and images, need to stop. Tomorrow we will celebrate America’s finest athletes’ accomplishments and watch Team USA march in the parade of nations. For anything even remotely negative to be associated with that time-honored, inspirational moment would be extremely unfortunate.”
Mark Adams of the International Olympic Committee said the IOC stands by its US counterpart. “The IOC does not allow footage of the Olympic Games or an association with the Olympic rings to be used for political purposes, in line with the Olympic Charter,” he said in a statement. This has always been the case, he told ABC News. “It’s based on the charter our fundamental document you simply can’t use the rings for political purposes.” The Super-PAC, Priorities USA Action, is run by two former staffers in the Obama White House, including former deputy press secretary Bill Burton. The ad, “Romney Goes for Gold,” was a web ad that posted Wednesday morning. Burton told ABC News that he was contacted by an official from the U.S. Olympic Committee Wednesday afternoon. The web ad was taken down from the group’s website this morning. A planned TV version of the ad will not air.
“Once we were assured that Mitt Romney and his allies would be held to the same standard, we were glad to take the ad down from our website,” Burton said in a statement. “Go Team USA!”
Officials from the Romney campaign said this action would have no impact on their ads. “We’ve been aware of the rules on the use of Olympics footage going back to Mitt’s 2002 campaign for governor,” said Romney strategist Eric Fehrnstrom.
The ad also highlighted reports that the Olympic Committee outsourced the production of some uniforms to Burma, and that during Romney’s tenure as CEO of Bain Capital some of the companies in which Bain invested outsourced jobs to China and India. The Romney campaign has disputed that Romney had anything to do with decisions to outsource U.S. jobs while at Bain Capital.