Both the White House and the Obama campaign today refused to disavow an ad by the pro-Obama SuperPac Priorities USA Action which suggested Mitt Romney’s actions at Bain Capital had resulted in the death of a woman.
Speaking today to reporters aboard Air Force One as President Obama traveled on a two-day political trip to Colorado, both White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and Obama campaign press secretary Jen Psaki declined to comment on the ad and sought instead to switch the subject to a Romney campaign ad they object to.
From the White House transcript:
Q Jay, I wanted to follow up on a question from the briefing yesterday. You said you’d get back to us on your assessment of the Priorities ad and whether it was appropriate to essentially tie Mitt Romney to the man in the video’s wife’s death. And Jen, I’d like to get your assessment of that ad as well.
MR. 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. And I would just state that, again, the ad is categorically false and blatantly dishonest . . .
Q This is a separate issue.
MR. CARNEY: No, no, no, this is not a separate issue. This is about Romney campaign’s advertising about the President’s policy . . .
Q Jay, this isn’t a one-for-one thing. This isn’t, well — my question is about the White House and the President’s assessment of whether it’s appropriate for a third-party group that supports Obama to put out an ad that essentially ties Mitt Romney to a worker’s wife’s death.
MR. CARNEY: I still haven’t seen the ad. I’ve read about it. I don’t speak for a third-party group. I speak for the President and the administration, and I explain and defend his policies . . .
MS. PSAKI: I will echo some of what Jay said here, which is that 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. At the same time, while we’re talking about this ad, which we all know we had no involvement in, Mitt Romney’s team is running a dishonest ad . . .
Carney has in the past commented on actions by such “third party organizations.” Just last April, he commented about an online petition being circulated by a Republican SuperPac calling on Obama to voluntarily pay more in taxes:
“Gimmicks by SuperPACs funded by multi-millionaires who are advancing an agenda that would protect them from having to pay their fair share in taxes, protect them from having to pay a tax on their income at a rate similar to middle-class Americans, are not things that we take very seriously,” he said.