One day after claiming the Obama campaign had no knowledge of the story of the man included in a pro-Obama super PAC ad, spokeswoman Jen Psaki admitted the campaign had worked with him before.
“No one is denying that he was in one of our campaign ads,” Psaki told reporters aboard Air Force One, referring to Joe Soptic, who was shown in a Priorities USA Action ad linking Mitt Romney to Soptic’s wife’s death.
“What’s clear here, again, is that we’re focusing so much on an ad that has not run yet, that was done by an outside group,” she stressed.
In the ad, which Priorities USA Action still plans to air later this week, Soptic, a former GST Steel worker, explains how he lost his job and health benefits when Romney’s Bain Capital closed his plant. Soptic’s wife later became ill and died shortly after she was diagnosed with cancer. “I do not think Mitt Romney realizes what he’s done to anyone, and furthermore, I do not think Mitt Romney is concerned,” Soptic says in the ad.
Psaki cautioned against comparing the Priorities USA ad to Romney’s campaign ad attacking the president’s welfare reforms, which she called a “bold-face lie.”
“We know that there’s a debate that’s going on out there between ads on the airwaves,” she said. “But there’s been a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison here, when we’re comparing an ad that has not even run, by an outside group we have nothing to do with, with an ad that is the basis of Mitt Romney’s campaign right now, that is a bold-face lie about the president’s record on welfare. And I think that’s frustrating to us because they’re being compared at the same level.”
Going a step further, Psaki said that no one was asking the Romney campaign to explain ads being run by the Republican super PAC.
“I saw an ad yesterday that is being run by a Republican outside group that questions whether the president was born in the United States and shows a picture of his birth certificate with a question mark on it. No one is asking the Romney campaign about that ad and what they think about that ad. So as we talk about apples and oranges, that’s the apples-to-apples comparison I’ll leave you with,” she she said.
In response, the Romney campaign said the president’s campaign had been caught lying.
“The Obama campaign acknowledged today that it ran a television ad and hosted a conference call that promoted the same despicable attack that was used in a discredited ad run by President Obama’s Super PAC,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said. “The Obama campaign has now admitted that it lied to the media and the American people in a disgraceful attempt to conceal their connection to this shameful smear. Americans deserve better – they deserve a president who’s willing to run an honest campaign and be honest about his own record.”