If ever you needed an explanation for why Obama should not be re-elected, he and his team provided it this week with one of the most disgusting, slimy and dishonest ads in the history of political advertising. And when called on it, they flat-out lied about it.
The ad concerns a former steelworker named Joe Soptic. The steel mill at which Joe worked was losing money and was purchased by Bain Capital - led by Mitt Romney - in 1993, and Bain tried to turn the company around. Six years later, in 1999, Romney left Bain to go run the Salt Lake City Olympics.
In 2001 - two years after Romney had left Bain - the mill went bankrupt (amid a variety of troubles all across the American steel industry) and Soptic lost his job (after being offered - and rejecting - a buyout offer).
Soptic's wife continued to work at her job, which gave her health benefits. A couple years later, in 2003, she lost that job, along with her health benefits. A couple of years later, sadly, she developed cancer and died.
And the Obama campaign - through a "super PAC" supporting the president - claims that Mitt Romney is responsible for her death. "I do not think Mitt Romney realizes what he's done to anyone, and furthermore I do not think Mitt Romney is concerned," says Soptic, in the ad.
So, let's put that timeline together again:
Romney leaves Bain in 1999.
Soptic loses his job in 2001. He also loses his health benefits, but his wife still has hers.
Soptic's wife loses her job and health benefits in 2003
She dies in 2005.
Therefore, according the Obama campaign, Mitt Romney killed her.
With this kind of logic, her death can be pinned on anyone. For example:
In 1995, Paul Wellstone voted for trade sanctions against Japan
As a result, U.S. steel exports suffered
As exports lagged, Joe Soptic's plant struggled, eventually closed and left him without health benefits
Then Soptic's wife lost her job
Then she got cancer and died.
Therefore, Paul Wellstone murdered her.
Now that we've found the real killer, let's get back to the ad. It was quickly and loudly condemned virtually everywhere, with even lefty outlets like CNN and The Washington Post calling it disgusting and false.
Confronted with the absurdity of the ad, Obama's deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, tried to distance herself from it, but she did so by telling one whopper of a lie. "I don't know the details of this man's story or the ad," she said.
We know that's a lie because back in May, Cutter hosted a conference call for reporters that featured - you guessed it - Joe Soptic himself. He peddled his little tale of Mitt's complicity in his wife's death, and at the end of the call, Cutter said "Thank you, Joe. We really appreciate you...sharing your experiences."
This is big problem for Obama for a couple of reasons. First, it's against the law for campaigns to coordinate with PACs, and here we have the campaign up to its eyeballs in the preparation of a slimy, disgusting ad. An FEC investigation seems likely.
Secondly, it shows the depths the White House will sink to in an effort to win re-election. They can't win on their record of high unemployment, record deficits, record national debt, corruption and general incompetence, so they've chosen the road of gutter politics.
It's a losing road, and the act of a desperate campaign.
I only wish Wellstone had lived long enough to be called to account for the blood on his hands.