Priorities USA: Mitt Romney Killed A Lady
A Pro-Obama SuperPAC is out with what may be the most despicable ad so far this election cycle.
The pro-Obama SuperPAC Priorities USA is out with a new ad that strays into Daisy ad absurdity in the assertions it makes. Essentially, it features a former steelworker who contends that Mitt Romney killed his wife:
(CBS News) As Mitt Romney tries to reshape his campaign message to focus on the middle class, the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action is hitting back with an attack on his record at Bain Capital.
The super PAC’s new ad revives a specific line of attack employed by the Obama campaign and stars the same disgruntled steelworker featured in an Obama ad in May.
In the new Priorities ad, called “Understands,” former GST Steel employee Joe Soptic recounts how he lost his job and health benefits after Bain Capital — the private equity firm founded by Romney — purchased and shut down the Kansas City plant. Soptic’s wife was ill but could not afford to go to the doctor; by the time she went to the hospital, she was already dying of cancer.
“I don’t think Mitt Romney understands what he’s done to people’s lives by closing the plant,” Soptic says in the minute-long spot. “I don’t think he realizes that people’s lives completely changed.”
The ad is part of a $20 million television and online campaign that scrutinizes Romney’s business record and its impact on the middle class.
Here’s the ad:
Soptic is no stranger to anti-Obama ads as he appeared in one from the Obama campaign itself earlier this year. The Romney campaign issued a statement about the ad earlier today:
Romney spokesman Ryan Williams responded to the Priorities ad with the standard Boston pushback on Bain attacks: that they all amount to a distraction from Obama’s economic record. “President Obama’s allies continue to use discredited and dishonest attacks in a contemptible effort to conceal the administration’s deplorable economic record. After 42 months of unemployment above 8 percent, it is clear that the president and his campaign do not have a rationale for reelection,” Williams said in an email. ”He focused on health care instead of the economy, he hasn’t been able to pass a budget through Congress, he hasn’t been able to cut the deficit like he promised and he’s done little to change the way Washington works. Mitt Romney has a Plan for a Stronger Middle Class that will jumpstart the economy and bring back millions of jobs.”
The ad itself strikes me as being fairly despicable. It’s not about the issues, it’s not about health care. It’s an accusation that Mitt Romney is responsible for a decision that led to the death of this man’s wife, and it’s littered with factual inaccuracies and misrepresentations. First of all, as Politico’s Alexander Burns points out, the timeline doesn’t make any sense at all:
The Romney campaign has pushed back on other GST Steel-related attacks by arguing that the plant in Kansas City closed after he stepped away from his management job at Bain. (Democrats counter that Romney was still listed as a top executive at Bain through 2002, and that he built up the private equity firm during the time it invested in GST Steel.)
In the case of this particularly jarring super PAC ad, it may also be relevant that Soptic’s wife died in 2006, years after the GST factory closed down.
A 2006 story in the Kansas City Star reported the death of Ranae Soptic, a former champion roller skater: “Soptic went to the hospital for pneumonia, but doctors found signs of very advanced cancer, and she died two weeks later on June 22.”
I asked Priorities USA strategist Bill Burton to explain the connection between Romney, Bain and a cancer fatality that happened near the end of Romney’s tenure as governor of Massachusetts. The lapse in time between the plant closing and Soptic’s death doesn’t mean the ad is invalid, but it raises questions about the cause and effect relationship here.
“We’re illustrating how long it took for communities and individuals to recover from the closing of these businesses,” Burton responded. “Families and individuals had to find new jobs, new sources of health insurance and a way to make up for the pensions they lost. Mitt Romney has had an enduring impact on the lives of thousands of men and women and for many of them, that impact has been devastating.”
Glenn Kessler isn’t convinced either:
[T]here is less than meets the eye here. Bain Capital Inc. was the management firm, which was paid a management fee to run the funds and actually made virtually no profit, since it existed to pay salaries and expenses. After Romney formally left Bain in 2001, a new entity called “Bain Capital LLC” took over the management function.
We have given the Obama campaign Pinocchios for blaming Romney for Bain deals that took placeentirely after he left for the Olympics gig. This case is a different matter. It falls into a gray area, because the investment and many key decisions were made while Romney was running Bain, as he has acknowledged — even if the denouement came when he was no longer in charge. Romney, in fact, in the past has tried to claim credit for jobs created at companies years after he left Bain, so it’s no surprise the Obama campaign would try to tag him for job losses.
And, CNN calls the ad inaccurate:
A new attack ad by a Super PAC backing President Obama appears to blame Mitt Romney for a woman’s death from cancer after his company, Bain Capital, shut down the steel mill where the woman’s husband worked.
The ad makes it seem like Joe Soptic’s wife, Ilyona, lost her battle with cancer shortly after he lost his job at GST Steel in Missouri, where he had worked for almost 30 years.
“When Mitt Romney closed the plant I lost my healthcare, and my family lost their healthcare,” Soptic says in the ad put out by Priorities USA Action, the main pro-Obama super PAC. “A short time after that, my wife became ill. I don’t know how long she was sick and I think maybe she didn’t say anything because she knew we couldn’t afford the insurance.”
It’s a very heart-wrenching story, but it’s not accurate. Here is the actual timeline:
Romney stopped his day-to-day oversight at Bain Capital in 1999 when he left to run the Salt Lake City Olympics, though he officially remained CEO until 2002. Bain Capital shut down GST Steel in 2001, costing Soptic his job.
According to Mr. Soptic, his wife received her primary insurance through her employer – a local thrift store called Savers – and retained it even after his layoff. Soptic’s policy through GST Steel was her secondary coverage.
In 2002, Mitt Romney formally left Bain. Sometime in 2002 or 2003, Mr. Soptic says his wife injured her rotator cuff and was forced to leave her job. As a result she lost her health insurance coverage and Mr. Soptic’s new job as a janitor did not provide coverage for his spouse.
It was a few years later, in 2006, that Ilyona Soptic went to the hospital with symptoms of pneumonia. She was diagnosed with stage four cancer and passed away just days later.
As President John Adams once said, facts are stubborn things.
The truth about the GST Steel matter, of course, is that the company was close to death by the time Bain stepped in and was given a few more years of life at the best. If Bain had not come in when they did, the this guy would’ve lost his job years earlier than he did. However, thanks largely to foreign competition, though, they weren’t able to turn the company around sufficiently. That’s no surprise. Dozens of American steel companies didn’t survive the onslaught of foreign competition. Like it or not, that’s how capitalism works and it isn’t Bain’s fault, and especially not Mitt Romney’s , that an already weak company ended up dying.
What’s particularly outrageous here, though, is that this ad isn’t about the soundness of the business decision that Romney and his colleagues made. It’s a blanket assertion that Mitt Romney is personally responsible for the death of this man’s wife. As much as a sympathize with anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer (I’ve lost far too many), that is simply an absurd and outrageous allegation. CNN reported yesterday that Soptic’s wife continued to work after the steel plant closed and had health insurance through her employer. She left her job in the 2002-2003 time frame and thus lost her insurance. Then, sadly, she got ill and her cancer was too far gone by the time it was detected. While I sympathize with Mr. Soptic’s loss, the accusation he is taking part in is simply absurd and he should be ashamed for being part of this ad
Politics as usual. As this country’s moral fiber continues to shred, distortions like this will be applauded by the cynical and self centered. Doug, don’t you get weary commenting on this sort of mindless drivel? Who ever coined the phrase, “Politics is Hollywood for ugly people,” may not have realized that ugly described their souls as well as their looks.
While I do feel sorry for this fellow (And how can you not. His grief is apparent.) this ad should not have been run. Burton stepped on his crank on this one.
It’s off the rails on a crazy train, agreed, but again I actually admire this degree of sheer ruthlessness. It’s a play to the lowest common denominators (ignorance and fear) of a very specific demographic (white working class) in a very specific area of the country (OH and western PA) that just so happens to be absolutely critical to Obama’s chances of holding onto power. You can’t accuse them of not wanting to win, that’s for sure. The other point is that negative attack ads in most instances can be extremely effective, from Daisy, to Willie Horton, and now to this bomb blast of negativity. I have no real problem with it. Politics in this day and age is a knife fight, not a game of chess. Granted, I would have tamped it down from 11 to 10, but generally speaking if I were part of Team Obama I’d be doing the same sort of thing.
Now, that all said, let’s address the elephant in the room: This nearly is an unfathomable indication of panic and desperation on the part of Team Obama. That would be the case if they were running this ad during the last week in October. The fact it’s being run in August, the dead of summer, speaks volumes about what’s actually going on with this contest. You don’t need a ouija board to know what the internal (not for public consumption) polling is saying about this election. This sort of ad is the ultimate tea leaf.
I think what they’re trying to create is the meme: “this is what Mitt Romney did while he was in charge of Bain. Imagine what he’s going to do when running the country.” (cue scary music.)
However, when trying to draw these sorts of lines, you have to be absolutely rock-solid on your facts and connections. Just waving a hand and muttering “well, there’s a connection” isn’t enough. And frankly, this looks to me to be a big stinkin’ case of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.
Thumbs down on this one. There are so many other things to go after Mitt Romney for, there’s no need to make up stuff like this. Fail.
As a political hack…you have jumped the shark.
Really? The man explicitly states that he thinks his wife did not say anything because she knew they could not afford insurance.
Did Romney kill the woman? Of course not. Did he profit handsomely on the backs of others? Yes he did, including you and me, because he was and is a corporate welfare queen. Is politics about making connections? Yes it is.
Romney is currently out with at least 3 ads and lines of attacks that are blatantly untrue. Someone called it a campaign of comical mendacity. You have not written word one about them.
You have lambasted Reid. And now this.
Are you a paid flack for Romney? Or a volunteer?
No, it is “about the issues.” It’s about the key issue. The important words in the ad are these:
The most important thing to understand about Mitt is that he has lived his entire life inside a bubble of privilege. And his business career and his politics are grounded in the same underlying philosophy: that everyone outside the bubble exists to serve him and his friends inside the bubble.
Mitt is a narcissist/sociopath. This means he has no empathy and no remorse. This is how it was possible for him to build a career on the concept of dismantling companies, without being impeded by the realization that a lot of little people were getting crushed. Mitt has no understanding of what it’s like to live outside the bubble, and he doesn’t care that he doesn’t understand. That’s why the ad is called “Understands.” The ad is about who Mitt is, and it tells us the truth about who he is.
In addition when you defend Citizens United…which you have…you defend this crap.
This ad would never run if it had to have a personal disclaimer…”I approved this ad”.
Once again Libertarian ideology fails when exposed to the real world.
You got what you asked for and now you don’t like it. Boo-f’ing-hoo.
The Swift Boat ads ran before there were SuperPACs. Remember 527s? Priorities USA would still exist in some form.
Also, yes I defend Citizen’s United because I strongly value free speech and as much speech as possible, especially in politics. But when someone speaks and says something wrong, stupid, or outrageous, there’s nothing at all hypocritical about criticizing them for it.
Keep telling yourself that.
Not being a fan of political ads in general, this one certainly sounds like a bridge too far for me. But then I change the channel even when a positive political ad comes on for a candidate I support.
So yeah, ok, thumbs down from me.
Any comments about Romney’s latest lies, Doug?
Romney makes me ill. It wouldn’t surprise me if continued exposure proved fatal.
@Doug Mataconis: The law, in its majestic equality, gives Sheldon Adelson and Stan an equal voice in the political process.
The story would make a far better Pro Obamacare ad instead of an Anti-Romney ad.
Maybe you should write about the issues then, and ignore campaign advertising that doesn’t engage those. Lord knows you’ve gotten plenty of practice writing about things that don’t matter.
It looks to be blatantly about health care. The ad, aside from specious “who killed whom” claims, does remind one that Romney’s campaign (and the Republican party) don’t have a health care reform to propose in lieu of Obamacare.
I don’t particularly want to watch the ad. It seems nasty.
That said, I think if it connects it will be on health care. Here is a woman who died without health care, here is a party that does not want universal health care.
You know I really hate this kind of ad. I really hate it. It is the wost kind of political pandering. But I’m also very conflicted. In the pantheon of despicable political ads\tactics this ad and the Harry Reid flap barely a spit in the wind against a tsunami driven tidal wave of utter bull-crap that has been coming out of the GOP super Pacs \ Mitt Romney campaign.
The GOP has proven that flat out lying works because the people who end up electing the president are that 5 to 10% sliver of the electorate that simply doesn’t take the time to investigate the issues beyond even the most minimal superficial level. They don’t care about politics, they don’t have anything that is even recognizable as a political philosophy, and spend the bare minimum time considering the issues. They don’t understand the policy issues\differences, they really don;t care and simply can’t understand the difference between democrats and republicans in the first place.
The Republicans figured this out a long time ago and the Democrats have been losing elections because of it. I mean really, Obama and Clinton are the only ones who so far have been able to combat it but it has been an uphill battle.
My problem is that I hate this clap trap with every fiber of my body but I am coming to the conclusion that without out it progressives will continue to lose close elections and I don’t want that either. I also think that Citizens United will unleash a liberal id that has been put on a short leash for too long. Thay have been saying for a long time that liberals need to get down into the mud and go toe to toe with GOP and conservatives and frankly, thanks to CU now there’s no amount of denouncing that sort of thing that will stop the mud from slinging.
If the GOP was as full throated in denouncing the birtherisum, death panels, Obama is a communists anti-American white hating thug, “you didn’t build that”, gun banning, FEMA trailer gulag creating, and terrorist fist bumping, that John McCain was in telling that old lady that Obama wasn’t an Arab I might do the same, but right now I’m feeling more like maybe a few liberal flame throwers might not be such a bad thing. Anyone who has been paying attention isn’t changing their vote so why not pander to the terminally uninformed, they aren’t going to know the difference anyway and are totally malleable. Why should liberals have to surrender the coin flip vote?
Another argument from incredulity. It doesn’t work with the missing tax returns and it doesn’t work here.
On the plus side, Mrs. Soptic voted for Obama in 2008, and will again this November. Since her passing, she apparently moved to Chicago…
Wow… The fact that you can write that sentence says you lack understanding what the word “Irony” means. With a few exceptions, and for which you constantly pat yourself on the back, you have remained silent while the Romney campaign has created LIE after LIE while attacking Obama.
Cry me a river, Doug. Cry me an effin-river.
Well that’s one way to spin it…
But then again, the guy clearly states his wife died of untreatable cancer, not Mitt Romney’s cruelness.
The main charge, and the thrust of the ad, is that Mitt Romney doesn’t give a crap about the people hurt by his noble pursuit of money.
Which is why you shouldn’t focus too much on the “personally responsible for the death of this man’s wife” nonsense. Romney is innocent of this woman’s death, but does he give a rip?
Except that, under Obamacare, Mr. Soptic should be fined for not buying health insurance.
Did Obama ever directly address Larry Sinclair’s charges? Were they ever properly investigated?
Worse than the anti-Goldwater “Daisy” ad from 1964.
Obviously Obamacare is a compromise, as it’s conservative roots testify.
I think under Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act the family would be encouraged to own insurance, finding it in a low-cost exchange, or failing that, through a subsidized program.
If we had a system like Israel’s, the family would receive vouchers and be required to pick a provider with them, ensuring 100% coverage. I’d prefer that, by far.
The republicans proved that this kind of thing wins elections. Thank God the democrats have finally woken up. It ain’t good, no doubt, and will get worse before better, but once Rove destroyed Kerry with the swift boat smear, the political world changed and its either eat or be eaten. Obviously Doug would prefer his team to be doing the devouring and is distressed to see democrat supporters sprinkling a little salt on the republican carcass, but he and his created this through their refusal to challenge their own party’s outrageous behaviour over the last ten years. Yep, payback sucks.
BTW, I suggested this piece to OTB because I think it provides a strong grounding to discussions like these:
Luck vs. Skill
Ignoring the crappy ad, the question might be how this couple got in their position, and how Mitt got in his position.
If luck is involved, that is a pretty strong argument for broad social insurance.
@Jay Tea #13:
Did Obama ever directly address Larry Sinclair’s charges? Were they ever properly investigated?
You are just pathetic, Jay.
Soptic is no stranger to anti-Obama ads as he appeared in one from the Obama campaign itself earlier this year
I think you meant anti-Romney.
@mantis: Harry Reid is repeating hearsay. Sinclair is making the assertions himself — a far more direct source.
And while we’re at it, let’s talk about how Obama helped murder US Border Patrol Officer Brian Terry and several hundred Mexicans. Since he’s asserted Executive Privilege over Fast & Furious, he OWNS that scandal — and all its consequences.
Political ads have never been about telling the truth. They are about telling people what they want to hear so that they will blindly follow one guy or another. While it’s true that Swift Boat and these types of ads existed before Citizens United, the fact of the mater is that the Citizens United has propelled this type of garbage to whole new levels.
Citzen’s United was never about Free Speech. It was about hiding behind a logo. Thanks for that.
@mantis: As this ad and Harry Reid make clear, “pathetic” is the new standard for this election. So go whine to someone who gives a crap about your judgments.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Yeah and “superficial” is the new GOP.
“…And while we’re at it, let’s talk about how Obama helped murder US Border Patrol Officer Brian Terry and several hundred Mexicans…”
Do you have any idea whatsoever how f’ing stupid you are?
I mean…I’m not comfortable saying that…the mentally disadvantaged deserve respect…but that comment warrants it.
The Republicans have sown the wind, so they are reaping the whirlwind.
Is this worse than
Clinton’s lesbian wife murdered Vince Foster?
Clinton was somehow involved in the Whitewater scandal?
John McCain illegitimately fathered a black baby?
Kerry is a coward who doesn’t deserve his war medals?
Not really. Is it even worse than:
Obama is going to change back the welfare system so that his people can once more get free access to our hard earned money?
That was the the thrust of a new Romney ad that somehow escaped Doug’s attention. Doug’s response to all this is to fall on his fainting couch and open up a gallon jug of False Equivalence, laced with some “Shame on You” .
It seems to me that if you want to actually do something about this:
1. You acknowledge that the Republicans started and perfected this.
2. You then admit that Citizens United was wrongly decided and start advocating that it be reversed, or at least modified.
3. You urge that Republicans stop blocking the passage of campaign finance disclosure laws.
That’s how you do it, Doug. When will you start?
lol, EXCELLENT turn of phase.
@Jay Tea #13:
As this ad and Harry Reid make clear, “pathetic” is the new standard for this election.
It is rather sad that the Democrats have had to stoop halfway to Republicans level. Sorry if you don’t like something sort of approaching a fair fight.
What a tool you’ve become.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Newsflash: The effort to pin Fast and Furious to Obama’s lapel like a loyalty-proving flagpin didn’t work.
Next time though.
That was true even before Romney wrapped up the nomination. Cain? Bachmann? Gingrich? Santorum?
And ole Mitt was the best of the bunch. “Pathetic” captures that dynamic better than any word I can think of.
So does this mean you are in favor of single payer, where she would just get treated, without having to go through any hoops?
The problem with your analogies has already been explained. You had no answer in the other thread, and you still have no answer.
Yes, Obamacare was a compromise. It was a compromise between liberal Democrats and moderate Democrats. No Republicans supported it, co-sponsored it, or voted for it (except for maybe one guy from Louisiana if memory serves). So, we could have had a system like Israel’s, if the Democrats had wanted it.
And yes, under Obamacare, a family is “encouraged” to own insurance. You either buy it or you pay a fine. If the Soptic’s really had no money to buy insurance, they would have qualified for Medicaid, which has been around for decades.
I can’t take you seriously. You ignore the origins of individual mandate.
@jukeboxgrad: Missed that. So, the standard of accusations is not ‘how credible are they,” but “how readily can they be proven or disproven by the accused?”
I see some things have never gone out of style on the left.
I recall the mainstream press put a LOT of effort into trying to prove Bret Kimberlin’s claim that he had sold pot to Dan Quayle. Funny how they did NOTHING for Larry Sinclair’s charges.
Then I guess Heritage Foundation and Romney are Democrats, since Heritage promoted the idea of an individual mandate, and so did Mitt.
There’s no point in telling him that. If he can’t volunteer it, he’s a superficial bullshit artist.
Reid’s accusation is credible. This is something else that has already been explained.
And “how readily can they be proven or disproven by the accused” is relevant in evaluating the fairness of an accusation. An accusation that is impossible to disprove is inherently more unfair than an accusation that can be easily disproved.
What happens here over and over again is you demonstrating that you don’t understand simple things that most people learned in kindergarten.
Well, there’d be no point if my purpose was to convey information to him. I realize he’s impervious to facts. But my purpose is about communicating with people other than him. He provides an inadvertent public service by creating the opportunity for me to do that.
Here’s the thing. According to you, Romney, and the Republicans, time and chance happen to us all, and we shouldn’t bother with a social safety net that helps folks who lose their jobs through global competition. You could offer such folks help finding jobs and you could arrange for a universal health insurance system that offers medical care for those who lose their jobs or who shift to lower paying jobs. But Romney , the Republicans , and apparently you, Doug, don’t think government should be in the business of doing anything like that. THAT’S the issue this ad is addressing -Romney’s callousness in causing this destruction and then not caring about the consequences. I note nowhere in the ad does it say , ” Romney caused that woman’s death ” (though it does hint it). What the ad says is “Romney created the conditions that led to the woman’s death-and doesn’t give a damn”.
Is it any wonder that I get sick to my stomach when I see either candidate show up on TV. One of the thousands of reasons I watch so little. Thank the good Lord for DVR….
Somehow, that rule never seems to apply to Republicans.
I get that, in principle. It’s just that forty-some posts into an OTB thread, I think everyone here gets it, and … dings on Democrats just feel so incredibly superficial today.
“Except that, under Obamacare, Mr. Soptic should be fined for not buying health insurance.”
Most likely false. If he had no, or very low income, he would not be subject to a fine. For higher levels of income, it would be cheaper, when Obamacare is really in effect, it would be cheaper to have insurance, which he says he wanted, than a fine.
Back on OT, while this ad has problems, the larger point remains true. Romney is advocating for the repeal of the ACA, and has no replacement plan. Whether or not one has worked at companies affiliated with Bain, the loss of employment means the loss of health insurance which could lead to results as described for this man’s wife.
@jukeboxgrad: Let’s go to the actual charge from Reid (before I leave for work).
So, an investor in Bain — not a partner, not an employee — said that Romney didn’t pay taxes for ten years. Not “income taxes,” “taxes.” No sales taxes, no property taxes, nothing.
The only thing that gives Reid any credibility is that — as a man who’s become a multi-millionaire while living on the government payroll for about 30 years — he’s probably an expert on shady finances and corruption.
Beyond that? Nothing.
This ad makes me so damn angry. My father, who died from Stage IV lung cancer less than four months after the initial diagnosis, had insurance and having insurance didn’t save him. Lung cancer, like many others, usually doesn’t exhibit symptoms until it is far too late, usually reaching Stage IV before the patient begins to feel ill. Whether or not Mr. Soptic’s wife having insurance seems to have had no bearing on whether or not she not only contracted cancer, nor did it have any bearing on whether or not it was treatable.
The ad is full of weasel words, misleading innuendo and outright lies. Mr. Soptic might have lost his insurance when the steel plant closed, but his wife didn’t lose hers, provided by her employer, until she left her own job a number of years after Mr. Soptic lost his job. Even after she lost her job, it was another two to three years before her diagnosis, so the causality factor is even more dim.
If I lose my job and insurance due the current state of the economy helmed for the last 3+ years by President Obama, and I subsequently develop an illness that kills me at some point in the future, can my husband go on national TV and insinuate that President Obama is responsible for my death? If so, I guess Crossroads GPS and other Republican affiliated PACs are getting ready to roll out the endless line of folks that have lost their jobs and insurance in the last few years and then lost loved ones to some illness or another. The difference between me and some of the more partisan commenters here? I’d condemn those ads just as quickly as I am to condemn this one.
Over the line is over the line. This one is over the line.
I’ve stopped reading Jenos’ comments. I recommend this policy to others.
If Obamacare was such a “conservative” idea, why didn’t any conservatives in Congress vote for it? Why didn’t the Republicans propose it and pass it when they controlled Congress and the White House from 2001-2007? Why didn’t any state (other than Massachusetts) that was controlled by Republicans pass a similar law? Why did Romney’s opponents in the Republican primary try to use his support of the law in MA against him? Why does the current Republican majority in the House constantly pass bills to repeal it?
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Dude, you seem to live in such an insular world that it’s difficult to know what you’re talking about half the time.
Larry Sinclair? Say that name in a crowed room and count the number of people who go, “Who?”
And while you may chalk that up to some kind of media conspiracy, have you considered the possibility that Larry Sinclair and his charges just aren’t that important in the big scheme of things?
Now, granted, you probably have such a skewed view of “what’s important” that you think anything that can poke at Obama’s credibility goes to the top of the list….but man…..get some awareness of how other people actually live their lives.
Agree. My father in law died of lung cancer a few years back too. To tie a death into a political campaign, in this way, is over the line. But, what is that ‘line’ anymore?
Bringing in human interest stories has always been a political gimmick of both parties. But, IMO, abused more by the left. It’s done to appeal to the ‘feelings’ of voters, making them construct their vote around fears, disgust etc. rather than more objective data, such as facts.
For instance, Obama basically won the office of POTUS on such feelings (that he was ‘the one’) rather than having any kind of glowing record of achievements behind him. It was all about ‘hope and change,’ rather than bringing forth concrete policies of his own. Now, ironically it is all about ‘hopelessness and hanging on, ‘ and vote for me because the other fellow will be worse than myself.
It struck me, as I took my shower (west coast time), why responses to this ad have to be superficial. It’s all they’ve got. They must attack form and not content.
Because seriously, what is the GOP answer to this couple’s plight?
Cut taxes on Mitt Romney.
(Oh, and of course “repeal Obamacare” will help people with cancer so much.)
Well the answer to that is simple. Republicans don’t WANT to pass universal health insurance in any form-even its most conservative form.
That simple enough for you?
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Why would President Obama address the allegations of human garbage like Larry Sinclair?
Man, Bob Newhart has become pretty partisan.
(Anyone else notice the similarities? Just me?)
The answer to this is pretty obvious – Republicans in Congress aren’t really Conservatives anymore. They have become what is properly titled as Radicals.
Just as an example, their position on taxation (that no new taxes are ever okay, ever, no matter what the situation or budget deal is) is radical. Their position during the debt ceiling debate last year? Radical.
I could go on but you get the point.
Slowly, but surely, the Democrats are finally beginning to play the game like Republicans and this has Doug all a-flutter. Not one post on Rmoney campaign ads lying about Obama’s stances on welfare, military voters, and “You didn’t build that.” But at least two–count ’em, TWO–posts on the Harry Reid/tax return bitchslap and now this.
Poor Doug. Poor, poor Doug.
I think the real Republican complaint with this ad is that it’s too subtle.
After all of their standard blunt instrument trauma attacks on Democrats – all of the Birther insinuations, the Clintons had Vince Foster killed, John Kerry was a coward who faked to get his war medals – this ad seems nuanced – it attacks the purpose of Bain Capital and suggests that health insurance is a problem too.
Clearly you have missed the rather good analysis done in books like “The Righteous Mind” which points out the fact that one of the things that the left regularly misses (or tends to discount) is the “emotional” aspect of Conservative positions.
That isn’t to say that simply having an emotional connection to an argument invalidates the view point. Rather, I’m citing that as an example of how important emotional values voting is to conservative politics.
Beyond that, there’s something ironic about reading you, of all people, lecture us on how the left tends to ignore “objective data” — especially given your openness in past comments about how your views are constructed from your own (subjective) experience rather than (objective) data presented by experts.
The idea of the insurance mandate was borne of conservative efforts to enforce a measure of individual responsibility into public health insurance programs, it is also part of the funding blend. It came out of the very conservative Heritage Foundation and was supported by conservatives until a Democratic president utilized it.
You left out the part where he said this:
This indicates he’s talking about income taxes. No one thinks that Mitt doesn’t pay gas tax when he drives his car.
I think the real Republican complaint is that Obama isn’t pulling any punches. They thought he wouldn’t show up at 3:00PM behind the field house and not only did he show up, he brought some friends.
When I was a kid, I got into a fight with a bully who, after challenging me to a fight, tearfully instructed me not to punch him in the face. I choked him out instead. Over the line? I’m sure he thought so.
He also probably thought he could get through a fight without getting socked in the kisser. Not too bright, that kid.
I’m certainly willing to admit the ad went too far, There really is no chain of causation between Bain’s closing the factory and the woman’s death. Still, the ad asks an important question: “Who can we trust to help workers who are displaced by foreign competition and who lose their health insurance as a result”. It asks the question by telling a story, albeit a story with gaps in it. It does it in that way because doing it policy wonk fashion with graphs and equations wouldn’t reach the blue collar audience it aims at (though it would delight folks like us).
I would have done this by finding a different , more accurate story to tell. But I would ask the question.
@Septimius: Psst. Perhaps you haven’t heard, but the President is a ni-CLANG.
“Despicable” is a strong word. I wonder if Doug is uncomfortable with the implication that Romney’s actions might actually have had life-and-death consequences for people. He shouldn’t be; companies’ actions have life-and-death consequences for other people all the time. That’s why they carry liability insurance and that’s why people can sue them.
But is the ad untrue? Yes, the company that became GST was in a tough, competitive business. It’s not at all clear from the record (and I’m mostly using the Reuters report of 1/6/12 as a source) that the company was doomed absent Bain. And it does seem that Bain’s management of the plant was problematic:
I think it’s fair to say that decisions that Bain made were in part responsible for GST’s bankruptcy. The bankruptcy was responsible for Soptic losing his health care. If he’d still had that healthcare when his wife began displaying symptoms, would she have still died from cancer? It seems likely that her odds would have improved with timely treatment.
So it doesn’t seem a stretch to me that Bain’s actions were in part responsible for Soptic’s wife premature death.
But that’s not really the point of the ad. The point is that Romney didn’t really care about the effects of Bain’s actions on the employees of GST. As a private equity manager, that’s not really his job, of course. The question the ad raises is that Romney’s business experience does not suit him for a position with immensely more impact on people’s lives.
That seems a fair point to me.
PS: it’s a little ironic that, had GST been a Massachusetts firm that closed in, say, 2007, neither Soptic nor his wife would have been unable to get health insurance when they lost their jobs. Massachusetts, in 2002, was smart enough to elect a Governor who understood that capitalism needed a robust social safety net in order to be sustainable.
Too bad that guy isn’t running for President this year.
It came out of the very conservative Heritage Foundation and was supported by conservatives until a Democratic president utilized it.
Which conservatives in Congress supported an insurance mandate prior to Obama’s election?
Do you know how to work the Google?
I did it for you, and there is a Yahoo answer all lined up.
I called you a a superficial bullshit artist above. It is lack of minimum diligence that makes me think that way.
This ad is an excellent vehicle to demonstrate how Mitt’s vulture capitalism background will play out translated to the presidency. A voter is going to ask himself if he’s going to be mourning his wife if Romney wins. It’s very powerful and can only be responded to in ways that expose the sordid underbelly of unrestrained creative destruction without a safety net. Coupled with suspicions about where his loyalties truly lie – multinational Mitt Inc or America? – and perhaps we’re looking at a different nominee at Tampa.
@rudderpedals: Which would help explain why Mitt hasn’t yet released 12 years worth of his tax returns. Perhaps he will do so after the convention?
@Nikki: Tampa’s the last clear chance to salvage it. I agree with you. I suppose I have to say I’d be dismayed by but not surprised if forged returns were produced in lieu of an actual release or leak in time for Tampa. This is a big deal to partner up with someone this evasive.
Does anyone doubt that layoffs were a big part of Bain’s standard operating procedure? I think I’m pretty safe in assuming that people lose their insurance after being laid off, and delaying treatment for financial reasons is unfortunately too common here in the USA. A situation the GOP and the current Romney are determined to make worse by the way, so what’s the problem with this ad again?
Related: Economists to Romney campaign: That’s not what our research says
Doug, I think that you, and others who are criticizing this ad for being factually inaccurate, are missing the point. This is Joe Soptic’s perception. These are his feelings about the series of events and circumstances that led to his wife’s death. He feels that his wife did not say anything about her symptoms because Soptic had lost his job and thus his insurance. She may not even have been thinking she had cancer. She just ignored symptoms until she was Stage 4 because she knew that the insurance wasn’t there and her family couldn’t afford the cost of medical care and she did not want to worry or put more stress on her family.
What’s crucial, though, is that this woman’s husband believes that Romney is a cold, unfeeling man who has no idea what it is to lack money or health insurance, who is completely out of touch with people who cannot go to the doctor even when they’re sick. He believes Romney made his business decisions with regard only for himself and with no thought or concern for the consequences of his decisions on real people.
If Soptic did NOT get this sense from Romney that he is heartless, then he very likely would not blame Romney for his wife’s death.
I watched the ad and it says nothing that is inaccurate or untrue. It is one man talking about what happened to his family and how he feels about it. There is nothing “despicable” about it.
No, no…the Romney campaign agrees with you!
So perceptions are now facts?
The facts are:
The steel company was already in trouble, which is why Bain bought it. Had Bain not made the purchase, the present owner was going to put it into bankruptcy. Bain’s purchase allowed the gentleman in question to continue to draw a paycheck and have employer sponsored insurance for a number of years he otherwise would not have.
When the gentleman in question was laid off in the bankruptcy, his wife was employed elsewhere and had her own insurance, which she maintained until she suffered some sort of injury and had to leave her employment.
When he was laid off, Mr. Romney no longer was involved in day to day management of Bain. However, one of President Obama’s large campaign bundlers was. Perhaps it might have been more appropriate to throw the laughable blame in his direction instead.
By the time his wife lost her job, the gentleman had a new job and had insurance for himself. He felt that he could not afford to insure his wife as well. He made a calculated gamble with her health. If he should blame anyone, he should blame himself, for not making sure his wife had coverage.
We have absolutely no idea when his wife might have shown any symptoms of suffering from cancer. He doesn’t tell us. It could have easily been at the point she was admitted to the hospital with symptoms of pneumonia. Instead, there is a five year gap between when he was laid off from the steel company and when his wife was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer, dying less than a month later.
As I said above, my father was insured, but that didn’t stop him from dying from Stage IV lung cancer (and he never smoked a day in his life, by the way) in less than four months from when he was diagnosed. And no, he didn’t shy away from going to the doctor when he wasn’t feeling well. It’s just that once he actually started not feeling well, it was too late. As is the case with many forms of cancer, particularly lung and ovarian cancers. By the time you have symptoms, it usually is just too damn late and there is very little that can be done.
I put this one in the same category as Harry Reid’s “Do I know this to be true? Well, I don’t know it to be untrue.” bullshit. I am sick of the lies, sick of both sides of the aisle and the negativity of their campaigns. I don’t need a reason to vote against someone, I’m just looking for a reason to vote for someone. To the candidates: Tell me what your plans are to fix things and how you are going to go about it, because there is a whole lot that needs fixing. That’s what I want to know from each of the candidates so I can decide who deserves my vote. I just don’t give a shit about stuff that has absolutely no bearing on one’s ability to lead the country, including prep school pranks, birth certificates, pastors, or teenage drug use.
Likening perception to fact, or justifying it, is just pure partisan hackery and Kathy is obviously a shameless partisan hack.
Irrelevant, there’s no way of knowing he would have been laid off earlier. Bain made enough money during the years in between the purchase and bankkruptcy that it doesn’t seem to be likely the layoffs were inevitable.
And that’s why his layoff and loss of benefits is relevant.
Bain is Romney, there is no difference. He built the company, and they continued to follow the path he laid out after he left.
Again, shows why the initial layoff and loss of benefits was a real issue.
No one thinks Romney went around looking for people to lay off for no reason. It was just the standard business practice at Bain to increase their profits as much as possible, and it wasn’t a concern if people were let go. Now Romney and the GOP want to gut the safety net so people like this will be worse off, and rig the tax code so the people doing the firing have even more of an advantage.
Romney is getting killed by Republicans because his spokeswoman said if these people had been living in Mass Romneycare….the model for the PPACA would have saved her.
Rushbo was apoplectic.
Someone else said Romney lost the campaign today.
All for talking about his biggest accomplishment as a Gov.
This is awesome…
A Citizens United Group puts out a shitty ad that is arguably about health care.
It’s widely panned by both parties.
Romney’s flack (no, not Doug, the other one) says in effect…if you are going to hit Romney for Bain you have to give him credit for Romneycare because it helps the people fired by Bain.
And the Republican base says “Oh no we don’t, girlfriend”.
And Obama will be left with another opportunity.
Oh…I forgot the part where Romney wants to repeal the national version of Romneycare so there is no safety net for those displaced by Mathematically impossible Romneyomics.
So perceptions are now facts?
Nobody said perceptions were facts, but perceptions are important when they go to the way Americans feel about a candidate. This man perceives Mitt Romney as a cold, unfeeling man who has been so wealthy all his life that the concerns of normal Americans don’t touch him, and aren’t even on his radar screen. This man is not the only American who has gotten this impression of Romney; they have gotten it through Romney’s words, behavior, attitudes, and expressed values from the day he became a candidate.
From what I understand about cancer in general, it takes a while to go from first symptoms to Stage IV. The cancer that killed Soptic’s wife could easily have begun, with no or few overt symptoms, around the time he was laid off, and if his wife was worried and knew her husband was worried about health insurance coverage, and that influenced her to keep her physical symptoms to herself, it’s entirely understandable, in my view, that Soptic would feel that Romney’s actions helped create the circumstances that led to his wife’s death. I certainly would, in his place.
By the time his wife lost her job, the gentleman had a new job and had insurance for himself. He felt that he could not afford to insure his wife as well. He made a calculated gamble with her health. If he should blame anyone, he should blame himself, for not making sure his wife had coverage.
He didn’t “feel” he couldn’t afford to insure his wife. He couldn’t afford to insure his wife. I don’t know how you think Soptic could have “made sure his wife had coverage” if he did not have the money to do so.
But the attitude you express here has nothing to do with facts, reason, or logic. It has to do with an inability to empathize with others and a disinclination to do so. What you wrote above is not just nonsense in a factual context, it’s cruel. It’s heartless. And it’s exactly the attitude Mitt Romney projects in everything he says and does. I would never vote for a man like that, and it’s entirely understandable to me that Soptic would not want to, either.
Yeah, Kathy, Mitt doesn’t care about anyone. Particularly anyone with cancer. Like his wife.
Once again, the facts interfere – she had insurance. For more than two years after he was laid off. I’m guessing here, but I’d guess that her employer sponsored heath insurance picked him up while he was jobless. Do I know this for a fact (the non-Harry Reid kind)? No. Just as you don’t know for a fact when she developed the cancer. And, given it appears it was lung cancer – no, generally people don’t show any symptoms until it reaches at least Stage III, usually Stage IV. Just like my father.
sure, dying steel mills hemorrhaging money from shoddy management and overseas competition. what about it? i grew up in the NE, place was dying 40 yrs ago and still is. great place to be from, glad i left. of course this lame ad has 0 to do with romney, just someone looking for a “willie horton” moment!
I mean, Romney has pretty much embraced birtherism, and I don’t hear any complaints from Republicans. Its just so unfair that the Democrats won’t just stand there and be punching bags anymore…
Don’t forget that we’re talking about the party of this:
They might as well have been cheering for the death of Ranae Soptic. For the heartless sociopaths in the GOP, Mitt’s sociopathic heartlessness is a feature, not a bug.
Mitt was for Romneycare before he was against it before he was for it again.
The GOP is having a hard time deciding what it wants to say to people who are afraid of being the next Ranae Soptic. Consider these two answers:
A) Up and die already. We’ll stand here cheering.
B) Better move to Massachusetts before it’s too late.
What we heard from that GOP debate crowd was A. What we just heard from Andrea Saul is B. It’s just like you said: hilarious.
Also hilarious is this from a commenter at Althouse:
I have no doubt that Romney cares deeply about his wife, and that her health problems have been very hard on him.
That being said, he seems to have little or no ability to empathize with the suffering of people he does not know and their suffering. Or does he? It’s hard to say sometimes, after all, he was for health care reform before he was against it.
I will go for # 1 – little or no empathy, combined with a lack of imagination that makes it hard for him to comprehend that not everyone is in a position to provide unlimited resources (or little, or none) to care for a loved one that is ill.
This is a very bad thing in a President.
I’m actually going to disagree about Romney, based on his previous implementation of health care reform in Mass. I think he is proud of what he did there, and genuinely wanted to improve people’s lives, including ones that were struggling. If it was a different time, he would not stop a Democratic Congress from enacting Obamacare.
However, that ceased to matter once he became the 2012 GOP nominee. He wants to be president, and if that requires turning his back on the millions that would be hurt by repealing the health care reform then he is willing to do that, even if he knows it’s wrong. He’s completely lacking in genuine convictions beyond doing what is necessary to be elected president, so I think it’s safe to assume he will follow the GOP line on health care reform, which you absolutely nailed above. He willingly represents the worst of the GOP, and adopts their nonsensical policies, but I don’t think he believes it. (Whether he believes it or not doesn’t matter, he’s not going to cross the GOP if elected.)
I wonder if Democrats and progressives who support the ad realize that they are supporting the idea that Dukakis was responsible for the murders committed by Willie Horton.
After years of claiming that the Willie Horton ad has horrible, progressives have now adopted the same logic.
After years of claiming the Willie Horton ad was perfectly fine, the GOP is now whining about fairness. As someone said above, “Yep, payback sucks.” And notice what NR said about Willie Horton just yesterday:
English translation: IOKIYAR.
Speaking of interesting ideas, here’s another one: the idea that Obama is responsible for what Bill Ayers did when Obama was 9.
So you are saying the Democrats have now started doing the same kinds of ads the Republicans have been doing constantly since 1988?
Very few people above actually support the ad. Most of us dismissed it and them moved on to more substantive issues.
There were smart people above who tied it to campaign reform. On that:
If we’d had campaign reform, if we didn’t have this “not allowed to coordinate with super-PACs” structure, we probably would have fewer dirty ads out there.
Mr. Burton, head of Priorities USA, defends his ad:
I have to say that this has been a highly successful ad, based on the raging incoherence of the right wing response to it.
And another day goes by in which Romney’s message isn’t focused on the economy.
I don’t know. You should probably test for blowback from the independents.
Yes, you’re right. Republicans have been kicking Democratic ass across the country for years with campaign ads like this, and Democrats passively accepted the beat downs and lost election after election. Finally, Democrats have decided that it’s not a good idea to let Republicans run the table with this stuff.
lol you need to stop worshiping your idiot liberal leaders and believing their lies and believing that they are worth anything to this country or to humanity when it truly comes down to it.
This add is not only a lie,it is a stupid idiotic lie for idiots…
And look who’s defending it.
Or not. I think that professed independents who are so focused on the factual inaccuracies in the ad that they can’t see that it is raising the wider issue of helping those who lose health insurance and pension benefits because of layoffs caused by venture capitalists aren’t truly independents anyway. They’re Republicans pretending to be independent. Heck, their response is no different than the folks at Ace of Spades HQ. They, too, are outraged at the factual inaccuracies while ignoring the larger issues raised.
I think you miss the point. The few remaining undecideds are not ideologues of either stripe, and they are going to tilt on things like likability.
A dirty ad is intended to create more “dislike” on one side, but it is never a pure play. The dirtier the ad the more “dislike” that bounces back on the sender.
Behind The Steely New Democratic Resolve
What “independents”? There are so few “Independents” out there – I suspect that it is 5% or less. People have their minds made up. Both campaigns are hoping to ramp up the turnout (or in the case of the GOP, supress turnout). If “Independents” are offended by these kinds of ads, why would they all of sudden become partisan to one side or the other? This stuff has been going on since god invented politics.