Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Earned media backfire: "Controversial pro-Obama ad hasn't actually run yet"

While the spot has garnered plenty of media attention over the past 24 hours, the commercial apparently has yet to actually run.

The ad, announced yesterday by the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action, appears to blame Republican challenger Mitt Romney for the cancer death of the wife of a man who was laid off from a steel mill after the company he worked for, GST Steel, was shut down by Bain Capital, the private equity firm co-founded by Romney.

A closer look by CNN poked holes into the ad's timeline.

Why Team Obama Ran with the Dishonest ‘Mitt Killed My Wife!’ Ad - Bryan Preston/PJM

Allahpundit begins his post dissecting the CNN fact-check with a question:
I wonder if Bill Burton and crew knew about this and greenlit the smear anyway or if they didn’t care enough to even find out. Why would they?
In answer, yes, Burton & co likely knew the ad was hokum from the first frame to the last, and green lit it anyway. Why would they, knowing that it’s likely to fall apart in short order? Didn’t they think that even CNN would have to throw a flag at some point?

The Obama campaign has read the economic numbers, and they are aware of the history. Incumbent presidents in the kind of economy that we’re in right now don’t win.

The Obama team ran four years ago selling a product that didn’t exist. They created a hologram dream candidate, multi-racial, capable of great oratorical performances as long as he stuck to the script, with not much of a legislative record that could be used against him, and with a career prior to politics that could be made to sound romantic rather than fringe. He was a teacher! He organized communities! He cared. They marketed this product the way Hollywood might market a movie: “In a world..where a country is divided by race, and by wealth, and by a long and drawn-out war…comes a man…the perfect man…post-racial…post-partisan…promising peace. That man…is Barack Obama.” Cut to smiling, waving young man, flash bulbs pop as the adoring crowd roars, fade to black.

People voted for Obama because they got caught up in the emotions of electing the first black president, the young man who had reportedly taken Harvard by storm, the bright fresh face with no long political career and the baggage that builds up around even the best and most principled political actor. Obama was a mass-marketed president to a country that wanted to feel good, and didn’t want to do its homework on the man who wanted to lead them. He smiled broadly, said nice things, and got handed the keys to the country.

But now, that same team has to sell a very real and very damaged product. They know they can’t sell that product on its own merits. They know that Obama has had too many revealing and unscripted moments, the latest killer line being “You didn’t build that!” His job performance has been poor, and the people who elected him four years ago are skeptical of him now. Four years ago they wanted to feel good. Now, they just want jobs and to know that the future holds the promise of something good.

Team Obama knows that the hollow man from 2008 is a real candidate now, and that he is not a particularly good one. They have seen him up close more than the rest of us have, and they know that he is an ideologue incapable of real leadership. But they have to keep him in power to keep themselves in power....

The Obama campaign has gone from accusing Romney of boyhood bullying to adulthood felony, to being a murderer in all but name. What accusation is left to throw at him? There aren’t many, but rest assured that the Obama campaign and its allies will find one.

◼ UPDATE: Priorities USA tells CNN that ad has yet to air, but will soon be added to its swing state media rotation.

Team Obama denies knowing story of man in its TV ad, call - Reid J. Epstein/Politico

Asked about the Priorities spot on MSNBC Wednesday morning, Robert Gibbs said he doesn’t “know the specifics” while Stephanie Cutter said on CNN: “I don’t know the facts about when Mr. Soptic’s wife got sick or the facts about his health insurance.”

And Jen Psaki told reporters on Air Force One that “we don't' have any knowledge of the story of the family,” according to Yahoo! News.

But Cutter hosted an Obama campaign conference call in May in which Soptic told reporters the very story featured in the Priorities spot.

Both the campaign and the Priorities USA Action said there was no coordination about Soptic’s appearances. In the campaign’s ad, Soptic speaks only about the plant. In the Priorities spot, he tells the personal story he relayed during the Obama campaign conference call.

“We have no idea when Priorities shot their spot,” an Obama campaign official said. “We’re not allowed to coordinate with them – but we can tell you it wasn’t when we shot ours.” (Soptic also appeared, wearing what appears to be an identical shirt, in a May television ad for the Obama campaign.)

Democrats: The Party of Lies - The Other McCain

The hardest thing about this post was the headline. My first idea was, “Godd–n Worthless Motherf–king Democrat Party, Go to Hell,” but that seemed likely to offend the “family values” conservatives. So then I tried, “Will the Last Honest Person Leaving the Democrat Party, Please Turn Out the Lights?” but it was a couple words too long to fit.