Team Romney blasts Obama campaign for 'desperate tactics'
August 10th, 2012
12:49 PM ET
2 years ago

Team Romney blasts Obama campaign for 'desperate tactics'

Boston, Mass. (CNN) – Seizing on a controversy that has dogged President Barack Obama's campaign in recent days, a top adviser to Mitt Romney accused the president of diminishing his office with "unbelievable distortions" in his reelection effort.

Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior member of team Romney, faulted what he called the Obama campaign's "desperate tactics," over a pro-Obama super PAC's advertisement that linked Romney to the death of a steelworker's wife.

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"They've gone from what started as petty distortions and untruths to unbelievable exaggerations that diminish the office of the president and insult the American people," Ferhnstrom said. "I don't think a world champion limbo dancer could get any lower than the Obama campaign right now."

The ad, released by a super PAC supportive of Obama's candidacy but yet to actually run in a paid commercial slot, features a steelworker who lost his job after Romney's private equity firm took over GST Steel.

Former steelworker Joe Soptic says his wife died without health insurance after he was laid off, though the ad does not that Soptic was let go in 2001 and his wife did not get sick until 2006. She had also previously had her own insurance through another job which she later lost due to injury.

Though the super PAC, Priorities USA, legally must operate independently of the president's campaign, Obama campaign officials were drawn into the controversy after campaign advisers denied knowledge of the man and his story. But Soptic had told his story on a campaign conference call in May.

The escalating offensive by the Romney campaign come as three national polls show the president's support growing among voters. A campaign adviser downplayed those polls, saying daily tracking polls did not show the same movement and that voters were not paying attention at this stage in the race.

"There's been three polls over the last 36 hours showing us down from anywhere from six to nine points or so," said the adviser. "It's the middle of summer. It's the doldrums. It's the middle of the Olympics. There's not been any national news, anything that would push these numbers from minus three to minus nine points."

Romney advisers also downplayed the effects of a European trip plagued by gaffes and a lingering gap in likeability polling between Romney and Obama.

"I wish you could see the governor interact with people the way I see him," Fehrnstrom said. "I think Americans of all types find Mitt Romney an appealing public leader."

As Romney was set to embark on a four-day bus tour through swing states won by Obama in 2008, Fehrstrom vowed Romney would continue to focus on issues such as small business growth and changes in the welfare program instituted by the Obama campaign.

"We are betting that a substantive campaign conducted on the high ground and focused primarily on jobs and the economy will trump a campaign that is designed to appeal to our worst instincts," he said.

Beginning Saturday, Romney will travel to Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio.

Responding Friday, a spokeswoman from the Obama campaign said Team Romney's briefing was "extremely hollow."

"The Romney campaign's faux outrage over an ad run by an outside group separate from our campaign rings extremely hollow," Lis Smith said in a statement. "Mitt Romney won the Republican primary only by tearing down each of his opponents with ruthlessly negative campaigning, including ads funded by outside allies. His campaign has questioned whether the President understands what it is to be American, attacked his patriotism, and is currently running an ad that a former president and authors of the welfare-to-work legislation have called a flat-out lie. When the Romney campaign finally reaches the high ground, we look forward to greeting them there."


Filed under: 2012 • Ads • Massachusetts • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. cali girl

    Get off your rant there, Sheriff of Nothingham, you just want to tax the poor to keep it for yourself.
    By the way, the add running of the man who lost his wife was done by a super PAC, and has no direct relation to President Obama, hence he did not approve or make the commercial.

    August 10, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. Michael

    The case of the "pot calling the kettle black." Have Americans forgot how Mitt Robme annihilated his repuglican foes during primary season, with lies, distortions, inuendos, misrepresentations and outspent all of them while playing cards from the bottom of the deck! TYPICAL REPULICAN HYPOCRISY AT ITS ZENITH!

    August 10, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. CryBabies

    Gaffes????? Blown way ouy of proportion by the media! Its laughable what the American public will believe. C'mon you angry libs, get your fix and comment.

    August 10, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    '"I don't think a world champion limbo dancer could get any lower than the Obama campaign right now."

    Even when projecting their own faults onto Obama's campaign they can't help but mouthfart distortions at us. The ad was from a PAC. If Rove and his minions can go attend closed door meetings in Aspen with GOP governors and Mittens in the vicinity and claim that they won't be discussing strategy, which is strictly prohibited between PACs and campaigns...well.... it's by far more reasonable to believe Obama's campaign actually had nothing to do with that PAC's ad, considering there were no closed door meetings involved. This is just Mittens trying to deflect from the Rove nonsense by accusing Obama of it first.

    August 10, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. freidamurray

    Really Mitt? Untruths and distortions? Seriously? What about taking sentences from Obama's speeches out of context and placing them in your ridiculous ads? What about you flip-flopping on almost every issue? Aren't those untruths? Oh, and by the way, what about releasing your taxes? Oh that's right, no one needs to know but you and your financial adviser. Really sinking to a new low. But we'll wait for the next new low – should happen some time today or tomorrow.

    August 10, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. JustMe

    What is more desperate than lying in almost every ad you've run like Romney has done? Give me a break, Mittens and if you can't stand the fire you need to get the hell out of the kitchen.

    August 10, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. California Gary

    Wasn't it Romney that claimed during a debate that he had no control over the ads run by a super pac? So how can he now slam Obama for what a super pac is running? Romney has no credibility on anything anymore......and he had very little credibility to start with. While Obama is stretching out a lead in the polls, Romney is talking about how the Obama campaign is desperate......this guy is living in an alternate reality apparently.

    August 10, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. Logic N LA

    I guess the King of sleaze campaigning doesn't like it when its reversed. Just like with all his discliaimers, the ad he is complaining about was not produced by the Obama camp- only supporters.
    Romney knows a lot about just barely staying within the law, so if anything, he should applaud the campaign for their pluck!

    August 10, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  9. Amused

    The President continues to play chess, while Romney's playing checkers.

    August 10, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  10. Governor 47th In Job Creation (Excluding Off-shored to China and India)

    Another ginned up controversy. The only thing "dogging" anyone lately other than poor Seamus on the roof, is Willard the wimp refusing to release his taxes. That's it. Nothing else.
    The Joe Soptic ad is not controversial in the least. Joe Soptic says that he lost his job due to Bain: true. His wife died from cancer: true. He BELIEVES (read opinion) that Mitt Romney does not realize waht happens to people when they lose their job, and he BELIEVES that Mitt does not care about those people who have lost their jobs while Willard continues to fatten his pockets.
    The GOP is the one that is making the leap that Soptic is saying Mitt killed his wife.
    Let's bring in Andrea Saul who highlighted the heart of the matter: healthcare is a great thing for everyone to have. And now that it does not have to require everyone to live in MA, that's even better. There is no spinning this Romney. You want to repeal a potential lifesaver for the middle class. Heartless. I'm inclined to agree with Mr. Soptic's opinion: Willard does not care about people other than himself.
    The fact is, people without healthcare stand a worse chance of surviving illness, and in this country prior to the ACA, there was a very good chance that if you lost your job, you also would not have health insurance.
    Spin away Mitt, the healthcare and tax issues will be dogging you, and that's why your poll numbers are dropping and that's why you will lose in an epic fashion in November. No etch-a-sketching away from the butt-kicking coming to you Willard in 89 days.

    PS Poor job of false equivalency again CNN!

    August 10, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  11. Expat American

    Dear Lord..Look in the mirror, coward.

    August 10, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. Richard

    Coming from the Party of Karl Rove?

    You've got to be kidding.

    August 10, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    Obama's Presidency and campaign is nothing but a lie! He is the poorest example for young Americans. He teaches them to lie and never take responsibility for mistakes.

    August 10, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  14. Howard

    Why believe your own experience of paying more for everything, layoffs, inflation, and a shrinking economy ... when Obama and the main stream media keep telling you everything is getting better ... oh that's right, you believes what Obama tells you over your own eyes and ears. Conclusion ... you deserve to be lied to ... and, you deserve the coming economic melt down, and accompanying hardships ... but, don't worry about the Obama's, George Clooney or Anna Winter ... they will still be able to afford their lives of luxury.

    August 10, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. Howard

    After all the unsubstantiated accusations and insults ... the bottom line still comes down to who can save America ... bring us out of the 15+ Trillion dollar debt ... and restore America to her former greatness ... #1, the person who over the past 4 years put us in debt, and dragged America down to the depths we're in now ... or #2, A man with a lifetime record of achievement and success. It's a no brainer ... Mitt Romney for President in November !!!

    August 10, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. Sandy

    LOL. Romney, you are so funny!

    August 10, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. Age of Fools....

    Right Romney Desperates...go with desperate- tactics and use over the top camaign-ads...So, Mr Romney please take the moral- high-road ...and give the country the boost it needs..........!

    August 10, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. B.

    LOL, Romney is the most Desperate person in the GOP right now and for good reason to be so, because he is over his head now and knows it!

    He will say Anything now to divert attention from his secrets concerning his Tax history.

    August 10, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  19. Sam

    Let us look at what libs think is fair game in campaigning. Attacking your opponents wife. Calling your opponent a murderer. Can Obama and his team get any lower? We will see.

    August 10, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  20. DAVID

    this is politics winny baby! this president was reported to be a muslum in the last election. he was reported as not being a US president last election! he was reported as being a black racist because of the church he went to along with the church being investigated. he was accused of crooked dealing when he bought his house. all we are asking of you mittens winny baby is to release your tax returns.BIG BABY!

    August 10, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. drake mallard

    More than $200 million of it in secret accounts around the world, in fact. But when he launched Bain Capital in 1983, Romney had trouble raising the cash for the private equity project. So he turned to super-wealthy Central American families in Miami and quickly raised $9 million.

    But the money was bloody: a handful of Bain Capital's biggest early investors in Miami had ties to Salvadoran death squads,

    August 10, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. Hey, Mittens, got any more of those 100K Bain jobs for doing nothing? 'Call Me, Maybe'?

    Blah, blah, blah Obama bad blah, blah, blah.

    Is everyone getting as tired of these tedious scatter-shots of "faux outrage" as I am?

    It is just more cement on the coffin of the Robme campaign.

    August 10, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  23. Governor 47th In Job Creation (Excluding Off-shored to China and India)

    "I wish you could see the governor interact with people the way I see him," Fehrnstrom said.

    etch-a-sketch fehrnstrom either chooses to see Romney in a strange light or is ignorant to the fact that the rest of the world sees Romneybot as a wimpy liar, who is out of touch, and a weirdo that just happens to have been born on third base and acts like he hit a triple.

    August 10, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  24. jimzien

    Let me count the ways that Romney operatives and the Republican right can find to play the race card. Just put “limbo dancer” into a Google search window and click on “Images.”

    August 10, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. Has Mittens "RETROACTIVELY RETIRED" as the GOVERNOR of MA back to before he signed ROMNEYCARE???

    "I wish you could see the governor interact with people the way I see him," Fehrnstrom said

    We did see Mitt the Twit, in action with 7 students and it wasn't pretty.

    One was already eating the bribe, er, take out lunch Team Mittens provided, instead of listening to Mitt's "pearls of wisdom"!

    August 10, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
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