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Priorities USA Action

"Understands" +
:60 ad from Aug. 7, 2012 to run in FL, IA, OH, PA and VA (source Tampa Bay Times).

[Music] Joe Soptic: I don't think Mitt Romney understands what he's done to people's lives by closing the plant; I don't think he realizes that people's lives completely changed.

    TEXT: Romney and Bain Capital made millions for themselves and then closed this steel plant.  Reuters 1/6/12

When Mitt Romney and Bain closed the plant, I lost my health care and my family lost their health care and a short time after that my wife became ill.  I don't know how long she was sick and I think maybe she didn't say anything because she knew that we couldn't afford the insurance.

    TEXT: Joe eventually found work as a custodian.  The job paid less than half his previous salary.

And then one day she became ill and I took her up to the Jackson County Hospital and admitted her for pneumonia and that's when they found the cancer, and by then it was Stage 4; there was nothing they could do for her.  And she passed away in 22 days.

I do not think Mitt Romney realizes what he's done to anyone.  And furthermore I do not think Mitt Romney is concerned.

Male Announcer: Priorities USA Action is responsible for the content of this advertising.

Notes: This ad backfired, drawing widespread criticism.  Romney produced a response ad "America Deserves Better."
Quotes assembled by the Romney campaign:

 ABC’s Jonathan Karl: “The Single Most Outrageous Ad Of The Campaign…” KARL: “But the single most outrageous ad of the campaign comes from a Super PAC supporting the president and run by his former spokesman.” (ABC’s “World News Tonight,” 8/9/12)
Former Clinton Adviser Lanny Davis: “Bill Burton Needs To Go Back To Ethics School. … The Ad Is Misleading And Disgusting…” “Bill Burton needs to go back to ethics school. … He knows perfectly well that the ad is misleading and disgusting and he needs to apologize for it.” (Steve Portnoy, “‘Disgusting’ Pro-Obama Ad Criticized By Democrat,” ABC News’ The Note, 8/9/12)
CNN’s Erin Burnett: “Just Plain Wrong.” BURNETT: “Blaming Mitt Romney personally for her death is just plain wrong.” (CNN’s “Out Front,” 8/9/12)
Chicago Tribune: “What A Vicious, Shameful Ad. … A Disgrace.” “What a vicious, shameful ad. … Mr. President, lift the campaign. Call this ad what it is: a disgrace.” (Editorial, “Scraping Bottom,” Chicago Tribune, 8/9/12)
The Wall Street Journal: “Smear…” “A postmodern postscript: The Obama campaign was at first more than happy to slipstream behind the Priorities USA smear, refusing to disavow the cancer ad and deflecting questions by claiming not to "know the specifics" (Robert Gibbs) or "know the facts" (deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter).” (Editorial, “The Postmodern President,” The Wall Street Journal, 8/9/12)
The Washington Post’s Nia-Malika Henderson And David Nakamura: “Widely Skewered As Over-The-Top And Irresponsible…” “The anti-Romney ad released this week by Priorities USA has been widely skewered as over-the-top and irresponsible, condemned for insinuating that Mitt Romney is to blame for the death of a woman whose husband lost his job and health insurance after Bain Capital bought his steel mill.” (Nia-Malika Henderson and David Nakamura, “Obama, Romney campaigns Run Provocative Ads To Draw Attention In Crowded Media Landscape,” The Washington Post, 8/9/12)
CBS News’ Brian Montopoli: “Nasty … Unfair … Not True.” “The story is certainly affecting, and it fits into the Obama camp's narrative that Romney doesn't care about working people. There's just one big problem: It's not true. … And the Obama campaign's refusal to disavow the spot speaks to just how nasty the campaign has already gotten - a full three months before Election Day.” (Brian Montopoli, “Due Diligence: An Unfair Attack On Mitt Romney,” CBS News, 8/9/12)
The Hill’s A.B. Stoddard: “It’s Extremely Offensive.” STODDARD: “The implication is that Mitt Romney is responsible for her death, and it’s extremely offensive.” (Fox News’ “Special Report,” 8/9/12)
Fox News’ Trace Gallagher: “All Facts In This Case That Prove Why Many Publications Have Given This Four Pinocchios.” (Fox News Channel’s America Live, 8/9/12)
The Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer: “Almost Beyond Comprehension.” KRAUTHAMMER: “Look, this is plain language. The guy is saying that he doesn't realize what he has done to anyone. He’s talking about the woman. To link Romney to her death is almost beyond comprehension.” (Fox News’ “Special Report,” 8/9/12)

>The Romney campaign continued to issue a stream of releases on this ad, including this one from Aug. 16.

“President Obama and his advisers are officially out of excuses for why they haven’t condemned the Obama Super PAC’s ad. From claims of ignorance to pretending no money went into promoting the ad, every excuse from the President’s advisers has fallen flat. It’s time for President Obama to say, once and for all, whether he stands behind this despicable ad.” – Ryan Williams, Romney Campaign Spokesman
To View This Press Release Online, Click Here: http://mi.tt/Omw73X
Today, The Obama White House Tried Another Excuse To Justify Why President Obama Hasn’t Condemned His Super PAC’s Disgraceful Ad:
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, On The Obama Super PAC Ad: “A Third-Party Ad That Essentially Had No Money Behind It…” CARNEY: “A third-party ad that essentially had no money behind it, never appeared except accidentally on one station once versus a focus on the issues that’s backed up by the President’s campaign in all the efforts that it’s engaged in.” (White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, Press Briefing, 8/16/12)
But President Obama’s Official Super PAC Has Aired The Ad On Television And Paid For Significant Online Advertising:
More Than 40% Of The Super PAC’s Online Views Come From Paid Web Ads. “But the ad, which mistakenly aired on Ohio TV early this week, has over 819,000 YouTube views, with more than 40% coming from paid web ads, according to YouTube's analytics feature.” (Zeke Miller, “SuperPAC Spent Online To Boost Controversial Ad,” Buzz Feed, 8/16/12)
·         “This Runs Contrary To The Obama Campaign's And The White House's Spin That The Ad Is A Distraction From The Issues…” (Zeke Miller, “SuperPAC Spent Online To Boost Controversial Ad,” Buzz Feed, 8/16/12)
The Obama Super PAC Ad Shipped And Aired Its Disgraceful Attack Ad On Ohio Television. “The controversial Obama super PAC ad accusing Mitt Romney of contributing to the death of a woman whose husband lost health insurance is hitting TV for the first time.” (Zeke Miller, “Obama Super PAC Ad Accusing Romney Of Contributing To Woman's Death Now On TV,” BuzzFeed, 8/14/12)
The Super PAC Blamed The Airing On A “Station Error.” “A pro-Obama super-PAC blamed ‘station error’ after a controversial ad tying Mitt Romney to a woman’s death from cancer aired Wednesday in the key swing state of Ohio.” (Meghashyam Mali, “Obama Super-PAC Blames ‘Station Error’ After Cancer Ad Airs,” The Hill, 8/15/12)
It’s Just The Latest Excuse From Obama Advisers – They’re More Concerned With Making Excuses Than Condemning The Ad:
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: “Well, I’ll Simply Say That I Haven’t Seen The Ad.” CARNEY: “Well, I’ll simply say that I haven’t seen the ad but I have read about it.  And I speak for the President. I do not speak for a third-party organization. This was in the context yesterday of a discussion about the categorically false and blatantly dishonest advertisement from the Romney campaign -- not a third-party group -- from the Romney campaign with regards to the President’s policy on welfare reform.” (White House Press Gaggle, 8/8/12)
DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, On The Obama Super PAC Ad: “I Have No Idea The Political Affiliation Of Folks Who Are Associated With That Super PAC.” ROBERTS: “Should the Democrats be releasing an ad that accuses a presidential candidate, through inference, of being responsible for a woman’s death?” WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: “First of all, that’s a Priorities USA ad. That’s not a Democratic ad; it’s a Priorities USA Super PAC ad.” ROBERTS: “Do you deny that they’re Democrats?” WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: “I have no idea the political affiliation of folks who are associated with that Super PAC.” (Fox’s “Fox News Sunday,” 8/12/12)
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: “We Do Not Control Third-Party Ads. … I Do Not Have Any Role In Third-Party Groups…” “Deflecting continued questions about a controversial ad from a Democratic-aligned super PAC, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney insisted Friday that a candidates’ campaign is powerless over third-party ads. … As he and campaign spokespeople have in the past few days, Carney maintained that the Obama camp has no say over outside groups’ ads. ‘We do not control third-party ads,’ Carney said, adding later, ‘I do not have any role in third-party groups that produce these ads.’” (Ali Weinberg, “White House Press Secretary Changes Tune On Super PACs,” NBC News, 8/10/12)
Obama Campaign Spokesperson Jen Psaki: “We Don’t Have Any Knowledge Of The Story…” PSAKI: “We have nothing - no involvement with any ads that are done by Priorities USA. … We don’t have any knowledge of the story of the family. As you know, campaign finance rules in that regard are in place for a reason.” (Adam Aigner-Treworgy, “White House, Obama Campaign Distance Themselves From Super PAC Ad,” CNN’s White House Blog, 8/8/12)
Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter: “I Don’t Know The Facts…” CNN’S JOHN BERMAN: “He’s suggesting she died because of the action that Mitt Romney took. Mitt Romney of course had left Bain years before that Bain took over this company and then his wife died years after. What’s going on? Is that accurate? Is that fair?” CUTTER: “Well John, here are the facts. I don’t know the facts about when Mr. Soptic’s wife got sick, or the facts about his health insurance, but here’s what I do know. That Mitt Romney personally handled the deal to take over GS Steel and he personally handled some of the decisions made to load that company up with debt so much that it went underwater.  It went bankrupt.” (CNN, 8/8/12)
Obama Campaign Senior Adviser David Axelrod: “It's Not Running, By The Way, The Ad Hasn't Been On The Air.” STEPHANOPOULOS: “Does the President stand behind that ad? Does he agree with what was in that ad?” AXELROD: “I don't think anybody - anybody believes that Mr. Soptic's wife, that Governor Romney can be blamed for the death of Mr. Soptic's wife, and frankly, I don't think the ad says that either.” STEPHANOPOULOS: “It suggests it, though doesn't it, David?” AXELROD: “But, you know, the irony of all this, the irony of all this, George, is that this ad is running at the very same time that Governor Romney's campaign is running an ad that he paid for - it's not running, by the way, the ad hasn't been on the air…” (ABC’s “This Week,” 8/12/12)