Lanny Davis, a former top adviser to President Bill Clinton, today issued a scathing rebuke to a controversial new Democratic super PAC ad that ties Mitt Romney to a woman's death from cancer.
"I'm pretty sad for our country that we have presidential candidates engaging in sophomoric - and that's a compliment - sophomoric name calling," Davis said in an interview on WMAL radio in Washington.
Davis says both Romney and Obama, and their supporters, have sponsored ads "that make us all want to take a shower." But when it comes to the cancer ad, he said the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action has gone too far.
"Bill Burton needs to go back to ethics school," Davis said of the group's senior strategist, who is a former Obama White House spokesman. "He knows perfectly well that the ad is misleading and disgusting and he needs to apologize for it."
The former Clinton aide, however, says Romney and his supporters "dumped garbage" into Iowa. Davis is particularly critical of a Romney TV ad that features Obama out-of-context, citing a quote from the 2008 campaign in which he referred to John McCain's view of the economy.
"This is disgusting on both sides," he said.
Davis said the president shouldn't allow his supporters to suggest that Romney is in any way to blame for the woman's death.
"President Obama owes it to the American people to repudiate this ad," he said.
Obama campaign officials have refused to disavow the ad, claiming independence from the outside group and no knowledge of the woman's story. Priorities USA strategists insist the ad is factually correct and will air as scheduled later this week.