FoxNews —”If [then-Obama communications director] Robert Gibbs started running a [independent political expenditure group] and I called Robert Gibbs and said, ‘Stop running ads on my behalf,’ are you suggesting I would have no influence over Robert Gibbs?”
– Then Sen. Barack Obama, as quoted by Politico, in West Des Moines, Iowa in December of 2007 attacking opponent John Edwards for negative ads being run by an outside group run by a former Edwards aide.
President Obama is now starting to pay the price for his intensely negative, very personal campaign against soon-to-be Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
On Monday, Power Play predicted that the intense personal animus that Obama had for Romney as described in a forthcoming Politico book could cause serious trouble for Obama’s campaign. The danger when the man or woman at the top really despises his opponent is that underlings will go too far in their attacks.
On Tuesday, the Obama-backed political action committee unleashed the nastiest ad of the presidential contest so far. The group, Priorities USA, is led by a former top Obama aide, has the president’s blessing and has received fundraising help from top Obama deputies, including his campaign manager.
The new ad stars a steelworker from Obama’s first attack ad of the general election, which accused Romney of being a “vampire” because of the shuttering of a steel mill in Kansas City. The PAC ad picks up the story of the steelworker after the closure and lays the blame at Romney’s feet for his wife’s death from cancer five years later because their health insurance had been disrupted.
The Obama-backed group can’t coordinate with the campaign, but it can use the campaign’s work. In this case, the campaign had already known about the cancer story since the steelworker, Joe Soptic, had already told the tale on a conference call with reporters when the Obama ad first ran back in May.
Obama’s campaign knew that its opening attack on Romney would be heavily scrutinized. The highly negative and personal nature of Obama’s campaign has raised eyebrows even among the most docile members of the media. The campaign also knew that the ad tugged at the truth a bit. Romney had left the firm when the plant closed, the intervention had preserved many jobs for several years, etc.
But they could walk that line and survive, given the low standards for veracity in campaign ads. Accusing Romney, with several more leaps in logic, of killing a man’s wife, though, was too much for the campaign of a sitting president, even one that has decided to be nasty.
But for what is now called a “super PAC,” groups that Obama once called “shadowy” but subsequently embraced in his bid to win a second term, perhaps the consequences would not be so bad.
The Obama-backed Obama backers at Priorities USA thought they were doing a favor for the president: going where he couldn’t go. And given what Obama has said about Romney and the months of character attacks on the Republican, they certainly had every reason to think that the president would be pleased that they had found an even uglier way to go after Romney.
Henry II asked, “Will no one rid me of the pestilent priest?” and some enterprising knights offed Thomas Becket. Obama’s campaign called Romney a possible felon and a vampire, and his former aides decided to go all the way and call him a murderer.Continue Reading on www.foxnews.com