Thursday, August 9, 2012

The worst political ad (so far) in 2012?

In the deep and wide muck of political advertising, a few ads have caught our attention as particularly misleading or slimy, including this one from Mitt Romney and this beauty from Robert Pittenger's 9th District Congressional primary. There are other headshakers out there, certainly, but a new ad from the pro-Obama super-PAC Priorities USA Action might be the worst yet of the election season.



In the ad "Understands," a former Kansas City steelworker suggests Mitt Romney shares some blame for his wife dying of cancer. The man, Joe Soptic, worked at a plant bought and closed by Bain Capital, and he lost his health care as a result. His wife became ill "a short time later," he says in the ad, and she was subsequently diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and died.

"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.

It's a powerfully damning - but misleading - ad. A CNN report revealed that Soptic's wife died more than five years after Soptic's plant closed, and she had health insurance from her job after he lost his.

The Obama camp spent Wednesday stumbling over itself to get as far away from the ad as possible. Administration and campaign officials rightly noted that by law, they don't get to tell super-PAC's what to put or not put in their ads. They also lamely noted that Romney also is running misleading ads, including a recent one on Obama "gutting" the welfare-to-work law.

What the Obama camp didn't do, however, is the one thing that might actually earn it some political capital. That is to say, simply, that the Priorities USA ad went way over the line, and no matter what anyone else might be saying in their ads about the president, Obama doesn't want his supporters saying Mitt Romney helped kill someone.

Yes, we know: That's politically naive, a possible display of weakness, and all that. But such a denunciation from either candidate might be the kind of candor a fatigued voting public finds refreshingly, and uncharacteristically, credible.

Peter St. Onge

23 comments:

Europeanexpat said...

And now it turns out the campaign new about it back in May
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/obama-camp-denies-knowledge-cancer-tale-told-may-195237581.html

Shamash said...

I think the ad where Obama is staring off to the viewer's right is pretty weird.

I've seen it during the Olympics and each time, I look over at my wife (sitting to my right) to see why Obama's talking to her and not me.

I don't pay much attention to what he says.

His stare off to my right is much too distracting.

I'm planning to switch seats next time and see if we can somehow meet eye to eye.

Brian Goodman said...

Well, you got part of it right. The ad was wrong to try to connect Romney to killing someone. However, what you forgot to mention is that the man in the ad lost his job after Romney left Bain Capital. Furhtermore, when he lost his job, his wife had health insurance. Then, a couple years after that, his wife lost her job and, therefore, her health insurance and then later diagnosed with cancer. So, to sum it up, not only is the add trying to connect Romney to her death, but it's using lies and half-truths to do it!

Wiley Coyote said...

What the Obama camp DID was lie about knowing this guy and what the Super PAC did.

There is taped evidence to the contrary with an Obama campaign honcho on the same radio show with the man several months back.

J said...

The creators of this ad are definitely the slime of the slime. It's also not the first time a Democrat support group has pulled this stunt. Lest we forget, while the Wisconsin governor was trying to put reasonable restraint on government workers' benefits, some of his detractors made an ad showing a Republican pushing an old woman in a wheelchair off the edge of a cliff.

But of course, we must remember that Democrats, and only Democrats, are capable of tolerance and civility. If you don't believe that, ask a Democrat. The Democrat will gleefully inform you that any human being that is a member of, or aligned with, the Republican Party is evil, bent on destroying the universe.

Whatever........

Larry Comrades said...

Can we get Obama to also sing America the Beautiful?

John said...

The reality is that the Obama campaign has no choice but to run negative ads... they have no positive record upon which to run!

Unemployment is no better than when they took office, the deficit has grown at a record pace, religious freedom is under attack and every administration policy has only added to the economic misery! The best they can do on the economy is to blame people who have been out of office for three years! That's "leadership"?

misswhit said...

From the Observer's lead editorial on November 5, 2008, the day after Obama was elected:

"This year, the Republican Party tried - again - to divide us......

Obama's victory has - we fervently hope - buried that old division..... Obama won, not with a divisive campaign, but by appealing to the voters' better instincts: For unity, for an end to partisanship, for change......

Republicans launched a disgraceful and divisive campaign of lies, aiming to mislead gullible people..."

Observer editors, Can we expect any time soon to read the words "disgraceful, divisive" applied to Obama's campaign in a lead editorial?

PJ said...

These campaign ads from both sides, especially from the so-called SuperPacs, are nothing but white noise to obscure the debates that are not taking place. If anyone believes that the Superpacs are not involved in back channel chatter with the campaign organizations and helping guide the ads, I have some prime S.C. swampland I will sell you, cheap.

I want to hear about policy decisions and proposals that will strengthen the country and put people back to work - not in government jobs - but real jobs that produce something and pay taxes. I want to hear about an energy policy (that is 40 years behind schedule) to use domestic oil to wean us away from countries that don't like the U.S. I want to hear how the candidates (and parties) plan to streamline government. I want to know how the candidates plan to reduce our debt before we go the way of Greece, Italy, and other socialist countries in the European Union.

This is what one unaffiliated, retired, tax-paying American (part of the 52%) wants to hear - not outright lies or half-truths. Voters need to put their party affiliation on hold and stop being gullible to ads from candidates, political parties, and SuperPacs. After all, we're not buying a used car or a hamburger in November.

TexGirl said...

Why would you want to hear campaign promises? President Obama has broken almost all the promises he made in 2008. What you need to look at is what the candidates have done. Actions speak louder than words.
If you want a federal government that inserts itself in every aspect of your life, a president that rules by executive order, and a supreme court that trashes the constitution, by all means, vote Democrat.
On the other hand, if you think the United States grows stronger because of individual effort, talent and ingenuity, if you believe the government's role should be less intrusive, if you believe in three equal branches of government, if you believe the supreme court should follow the constitution instead of some fleeting emotion or fad, vote Republican.

The Tax Mule said...

To add to this disgraceful and disgusting example of how the Obama campaign will tell any lie about anyone without shame, it turns out that Robert Gibbs and Stephanie Cutter in saying that they knew nothing about the "Soptic story" were both lying through their teeth.Soptic was used in an Obama campaign ad which was approved by Obama, Gibbs and Cutter before going on air. Interestingly enough if you look at both the Obama ad and the super-PAC, Priorities USA Action ad, (a group that by law Obama is suppose to have not contact with) you will see that Soptic has on the same shirt and the backdrop is the same. Both ads were obviously shot on the same day. The law has been broken, again, by this lawless bunch of Chicago crooks. Will anyone ever be prosecuted? I doubt it.

The Tax Mule said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tandemfusion said...

Well, so far Romney has been accused of being a tax cheat, a robber baron, a thief, a felon and now complicity in killing a woman.

Why would anyone be surprised that the folks who are running in the mud are also lying about it?

the good news is that we've had political campaigns in which one candidate has engaged in wholly unfounded lies in service of character assassination of his opponent before. In the end we recover.

Craig Anderson said...

ReallY?

Craig Anderson said...

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SCBorn said...

This is incredible. First of all his wife did have insurance BEFORE he or she lost their jobs. Why isnt this commercial about HER employer??? Second, this man should be ashamed of himself for deciding he didnt need to buy insurance for his wife once he was working again. He has stated that he "felt" he could not afford the insurance. I have been in that spot and guess what, I got rid of cable TV, my Cell phone, my internet, cut back on food and other things in order to be SURE my family had insurance. He made his bed and now is going to blame someone else for thast!?!?!? Sickening, he should be ashamed of what he decided to do and what followed!

Veronica said...

"Administration and campaign officials rightly noted that by law, they don't get to tell super-PAC's what to put or not put in their ads."

And yet Romney was held accountable by the Obamas as well as the media for the Super PAC ads (which never ran) about Jeremiah Wright.

That is the pinnacle of hypocrisy.

Skippy said...

What would you expect from President Coward?

grizzy4884 said...

I recall Mayor Foxx waiting until the day after he was elected to inform us as to his plans. Not that it made any difference to the sheep.

EMcNally said...

NO - this is the worst political ad so far. It is a blatant lie AND Romney approved it (but, hey, we are getting used to these etch a sketch moments): http://live.wsj.com/video/romney-campaign-ad-welfare-reform/FFCCFA03-3555-4B1D-B428-6B63F72BFBFA.html#!FFCCFA03-3555-4B1D-B428-6B63F72BFBFA

Hervy said...

I don't even watch television any more. Seems I am doing the right thing.

Good for you guys for pointing out the issues with the ads though.

Critical Thinker said...

This ad run by a PAC is no more distasteful than the PAC ads run by the Rove and Koch brothers which accuse Obama of being unAmerican, a socialist kenyan, a monkey, a theif, etc.

Romney who has to date released one incomplete income tax form ( the 2011 form is yet to be released) clearly has something to hide in his offshore accounts and financial manipulations, but we are told that "you people" (Mrs. Romney's words) are not going to get any more information about taxes, even though all presidential candidates in the last fifty years have released anywhere from 6 to 15 years of returns. After all, says Ann Romney, they'd just provide more "ammunition" for attacks. If there's no smoking gun, why the worry about ammunition?

The point for all you Obama haters out there is that America is a free country, and you get to vote for whom you please.

That being said, your reliance on Fox News as your ONLY source of information suggests that your voting decisions are made from gut emotions rather than through a thoughtful and critical review of objective facts.

Despite all this, I am completely confident that President Obama will be re-elected and serve four more years. Sorry to disappoint you!

Jim said...

Isn't it time to retire this offering? It's been up here since "swift-boating" (it seems)!