Ace and Moe Lane are already all over this, but readers always enjoy video detective work so let’s get in on it. Two screenshots for you, the top one from the Obama campaign’s ad released in May and the bottom one from the sleaze grenade tossed at Romney by O’s Super PAC yesterday:


Remember, the campaign can’t coordinate legally with the Super PAC so if they’re working off of the same footage, that could (but wouldn’t necessarily be) problematic. According to Bill Burton, the Super PAC spot (the bottom one) was shot in a union hall in early February, more than enough time for footage taken at the same shoot to have made it into Obama’s campaign ad this past spring.

Ace notes that the steelworker’s wearing the same shirt in both clips. Moe points out that the hardhat he has on at the beginning of the campaign clip (the first one below) appears to be on the shelf behind him at the union hall, which seems odd. And yet, the locations do look different to me. If you look closely to the right of the door in the Super PAC ad, you can see what looks like the reverse side of a “No Parking” sign stuck to the window. Obviously, that’s not a residence. The campaign ad does look like it was shot in a residence, though. The lamp and even what appears to be a glass of milk next to it look too homey to be a room in a union building. That doesn’t mean the footage wasn’t taken on the same day — the producers might have wanted to film in both locations so they could show both work and home — but it’s a small data arrow pointing away from coordination.

Does any of this matter, though? Ask yourself this: What’s the best-case scenario here for Obama’s campaign and his Super PAC? I think it’s that the campaign discovered this guy and shot their own ad and then the Super PAC saw the ad and decided they couldn’t resist a piece of the “Romney causes cancer” storyline, whereupon they went back and shot an entirely separate interview with the steelworker so that they could give it the full smear treatment. It’d actually be a comfort to think that they’re working off of the same footage since that could possibly be explained as laziness. If instead they’re being proactive in smearing Mitt by independently pursuing interviews with Soptic, hoo boy.