Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter appeared on CNN Wednesday morning to say, among other things, that “I don’t know the facts” about the case of Joe Soptic, a steelworker who appeared in a controversial ad for the pro-Obama super-PAC Priorities USA. In the ad, Soptic, recounts how his wife died of cancer after he lost his health insurance when his plant was shuttered after a takeover by Bain Capital and other companies working with the private equity firm.
Cutter said she didn’t know when Soptic’s wife fell ill, or about his health insurance.
Yet in May of this year, Cutter herself hosted a conference call in which Soptic detailed his case to reporters. During the call, as he did in the ad, Soptic explained how his wife fell ill after he lost his job, and how he lost his health insurance. The call took place as Soptic began appearing in Obama campaign ads, and was featured in a profile on the Obama campaign website.
The campaign profile listed Soptic as one of the “faces of Romney economics.”
Cutter wasn’t the only Obama campaign official caught up in the controversy.
“This is an ad by an entity that’s not controlled by campaign. I certainly don’t know the specifics of this man’s case,” campaign adviser Robert Gibbs said on MSNBC. Another Obama campaign spokeswoman separately told reporters that the campaign had no knowledge of the family involved.
Super PACs and the presidential campaigns are technically separate organizations, or are supposed to be. Both presidential campaigns have in the past cited that separation whenever challenged on super PAC ads. Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt again stressed Wednesday, in response to the criticism, that “we can’t coordinate with super PACs and didn’t produce” the ad.
In an email to FoxNews.com, LaBolt also acknowledged the conference call but suggested that was beside the point. The email did not address the allegation that anybody had lied.
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