Remember when President Obama condemned negative PAC ads?
posted at 3:21 pm on August 9, 2012 by Erika Johnsen
At a campaign stop in Colorado on Wednesday, the President was all too willing to denounce Republicans’ PAC activities as “going crazy” while strangely failing to scold or even mention the outrageous misdoings of the pro-Obama PAC of late.
And as the RNC points out in their latest ad, the Obama campaign’s spokespeople are eager to distance-without-denouncing and to point out that they have no control over the doings of outside political groups:
Buuuut, President Obama has definitely made it a point to deplore all super-PAC activities, and hate on negative rhetoric, and assert that candidates could have an influence in reining in their supporters, in the past. And anyways, why is his campaign so intent on feigning ignorance about the featured steelworker’s story when they are so clearly not ignorant?
“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. …
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. …
Obama surrogates tried that on Wednesday, saying they had no knowledge of the story and washed their hands of the ad. And in true political PR fashion, made the pivot to say that while they didn’t know anything about the ad, it was true that Romney didn’t care about workers having health insurance. …
The Pontius Pilate defense did not work because Priorities USA had so carefully hewed to the original Obama attack — the same steelworker, the same story — that there was no plausible deniability.
Now, Obama finds himself with his campaign having been caught feigning ignorance about an unsavory ad produced by an organization he supports. For a sitting president whose pitch is so tied to reforming politics that he forgot to take a lamentation of “super PACs” out of his stump speech amid the controversy on Wednesday, this is not a good situation.
I merely inquire.