Pro-Obama super PAC links Romney to death of former steelworker's wife
August 7th, 2012
08:33 AM ET
2 years ago

Pro-Obama super PAC links Romney to death of former steelworker's wife

(CNN) – Priorities USA Action, a super PAC supportive of President Barack Obama, released a new ad Tuesday, tying Mitt Romney to the death of a former GST Steel worker's wife after the employee lost his job when the plant closed down.

Romney's former private equity firm, Bain Capital, acquired GST Steel in 1993, but the company went bankrupt in 2001, two years after Romney ceased day-to-day oversight of Bain.

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The ad features Joe Soptic, a former worker at the Kansas City-based steel plant, as he tells the story of how he lost health insurance benefits when the plant shuttered and reveals that his wife passed away of cancer soon after that.

"I don't know how long she was sick and I think maybe she didn't say anything because she knew that we couldn't afford the insurance," Soptic says in the ad, adding that after he took her to the hospital, they found she had stage four cancer. She died 22 days later, he says.

"I do not think Mitt Romney realizes what he's done to anyone, and furthermore I do not think Mitt Romney is concerned," Soptic says.

Soptic said his wife became ill "a short time" after the plant closed down in 2001, but Ilyona Ranae Soptic passed away in June 2006.

Romney's campaign responded to the ad Tuesday, calling the spot a "contemptible effort."

"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," Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement.

She continued: "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."

Bain Capital has previously hit back against Priorities' attack ads and praised the private equity firm's success.

"Bain Capital is focused on growing great companies and improving their operations. Mitt Romney retired from Bain Capital over 13 years ago. We are not a political organization, and take no public position on any candidate. We are extremely proud of our employees and management teams, who have grown revenues in over 80 percent of our 350 companies, which include over 100 start-up investments," the company statement read.

Priorities has released four other ads this year hitting Romney over his record at Bain and spotlighting the stories of former workers at companies once purchased by Bain. The group says the latest commercial, "Understands," is part of its $20 million television and online buy, and the 60-second spot will run in the battleground states of Iowa, Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio.

Last week, CNN reported that Priorities has reserved $30 million this fall for broadcast and cable time.

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Ads • Mitt Romney • Priorities USA
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. enuff

    One man cannot change the way Washington works when the only goal is to see him fail. And all of the issues Romney's camp issues state begin and end with the republican held legislative branch. The do not initiate with the president. Budget issue... congress. deficit: congress (fiscal cliff- congress). refusing to let tax cuts expire for the wealthiest 1% – congress. and as far as Mitt Romney's plan for the middle class... I haven't heard one idea of WHAT he will do, just that he is going to do something. I guess that part is top secret = like his taxes.

    August 7, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  2. themench

    So talking about Romney's time as gov is out of bounds. Talking about his hidden Olympic files is out of bounds. Of course we're not allowed to ask why he won't follow the standard practice of EVERY presidential candidate for MORE THAN FIFTY YEAR and release his full tax history. And discussing his business record is either "contemptible" or means you "hate the free market."

    All we are left with is that poor dog tied to the top of the car as the Romney's sped off to Canada....

    August 7, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  3. SafeJourney

    Mitt, you are done even before you are nominated. look at the polls, you are slipping more and more every week.

    August 7, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. Don

    Lets not go there people.

    August 7, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  5. george of the jungle

    the romney adds use actors the Obama adds use real people. Show us your taxes mittens.

    August 7, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  6. Wake up people

    I am sure there are plenty more stories just like this one. Robmey was in business to make money, he could care less about the people he stepped on to get there. I worked in the steel industry also and I can verify that the price of steel doubled between 2006 and 2007. My company did it's first round of layoffs in May 2006. We were a small family owned company with maybe 40 employees, by September 2008, we were down to 10. I lost my good job, health and life insurance. If it weren't for President Obama fighting for our unemployment, there is no telling where I would be. Thank you Mr. President.

    OBAMA 2012!

    August 7, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  7. The Elephant In The Room

    Republican politicians will finally come to rue the day they convened in their cabals to plot the demise of Democrats by any means neccesary. Casualties included Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Al Gore, and man other good & righteous men & women.

    Democrats aren`t the wimps, the pushovers, the punks, that the so-called, pro-defense, pro-military, pro-police, tough guy chickenhawk Republicans have tried to convince American voters they are. I ahve no sympathy for any GOP`er that didn`t call out Rove, Murdoch, Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, O`Reilly, Beck, Malkin, Laura Ingram, or any of the other rightwing liars & character assasins.

    Take the gloves off Democrats. The Republicans started these fights. You finish them.

    August 7, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  8. chuck weidemann

    These are the problems of the way our system is set up......slimey adds ...no matter who puts them out there!!!

    August 7, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  9. Donkey Party

    Let's get a few facts straight here folks. Romney was still listed as the active CEO of Bain in 2001 according to filings Romney himself made with the SEC. Wall Street has been posting record numbers since President Obama took office, especially the past few quarters, CEO pay is at record highs, and corporations are flush with over 2 trillion dollars that they refuse to spend on hiring stateside. They had over a decade of favorable tax breaks, yet they still shipped jobs overseas, while CEOs raised there own pay, while only raising production quotas with no raises for their workers. The President reversed a trend of net loss jobs per month to net gain jobs per month since he took office. If not for GOP obstructionism, the numbers would be even better. It is obvious the wealthy and corporations also want to portray the President as a failure, so they can get a puppet (Romney) in the White House to do their bidding. Romney has absolutely no moral convictions, he won't make a stand on any issue, he'll just take every side of every issue, and say anything he possibly can to win the Presidency. To quote Rick Santorum, "Romney is the worst Republican to ever run for President".

    August 7, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  10. marisombra

    Talk about desperate !!

    August 7, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  11. Myviewis

    Wow, I didn't think Obama's re-election numbers were going so bad that they are stepping this low to tell a story that cannot be confirmed, hope this is not another Axelrod stunt like the lie he told Harry Reid of Romney not paying taxes for 10 years. Really desperate, huh.

    August 7, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
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