Team Romney blasts Obama campaign for 'desperate tactics'
August 10th, 2012
12:49 PM ET
6 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. once upon a horse

    sounds to me like it's you guys on the right having times of desperation. Did you see the hissy fit Ann Coulter threw the other day...the conservative who tweeted that Romney may have just lost the election due to what one of his team members said on FoxNews? Then trying the "welfare card" and it turning out not to be even true, digging up of all people New Gingrinch who called Mitt a LIAR on national television to try to help. And you're also asking Rick Santorum to help and he doesn't even think Mitt is able to beat Obama!! Oh yeah folks the Obama team is really desperate.

    August 10, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Well, bless his heart, Mr. Eric Fehrnstrom has managed to top my GOPer Yawn-O-Meter at it's highest "spinning out of control" level yet.

    August 10, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. Griff.

    "What difference does it make? You need to start nibbling at Obama's feet, and stop knit picking. Hit him where it hurts, underneath the dirt he's standing. Obama's policies are like soiled-garments, and ready for the wash."

    August 10, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. vic , nashville ,tn

    Stop whining and crying

    August 10, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Oh please Mr. Romney, there are no desperate tactics on President Obama's part, he's not down in the poles because Americans and the World favor him. I suggest Mr. Romney find some other desperate talking points.

    August 10, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. Tony

    Desperate? Who is 9 points behind in the FOX News poll? Is Romney trying to make Obama overconfident?

    August 10, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. Jon

    Obama is diesparate ... the polling is showing that he is loosing ... CNN's polls last Presidential election was the 8th most accurate while Rassmussen's polls along with the Pew polls were dead on right. WHich means that Obama is 4 point behind Romney right now ... it will only get worse

    August 10, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. tigerakabj

    Mitt, stand up and get ready to lose this election in a landslide like a man. Crying about this isn't going to put a stop to President Obama, his supporters (who run this ad), and others making sure the country knows exactly what you're about.

    And to think, this is the guy who said, "What's sauce for this goose..." and other affirmations about the attacks he was launching at his GOP opponents in the primaries.

    Obama/Biden/E.Warren 2012

    August 10, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  9. Ray E. (Georgia)

    I always try to give credit where credit is due. But the Liberal Democrat Machine has sunk about as low as they can go. There is no other way to put it. Is it the recent Polls that more and more people ar pesimestic about the Economy??

    August 10, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. Jesus Christ Superstar

    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.

    Would you like to give an example? Because from my count, Romney has lied abuot 4358923149324 more times than Obama...

    August 10, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. The Other Dale

    "Ignore the economy?" You mean the one that is doing better thanks to the President and in spite of well-known determined blockages by the GOP? The one President Obama has been constantly talking about since Day One and continues to do so on the campaign trail? The one that the GOP and Romney is ignoring except when throwing out random words during their tantrums? Then again, what can you expect from people who can't even spell the President's name in a proper, mature manner?

    August 10, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  12. Donkey Party

    Sam – "Attacking your opponent's wife"?? Saying Ann Romney never worked a day in her life is an attack? What is it called when the right calls the first lady a monkey or fat? And as far as calling Romney a murderer, that ad came from a Super PAC, not the Obama campaign, but it's ok to call the President the anti-christ, and for the Romney campaign to say President Obama is waging a war against religion? You right-wingers are sick, delusional idiots.

    August 10, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. Maxx

    This ain't bean-bag, stop whining.

    August 10, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  14. jsmoulder

    All of you Obama lovers need to look up the slogan Forward in past politics. Like hitler youth, Stalin, and Mao zedong.

    August 10, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  15. blue19

    Every time the dems put out an ad that highlights the shortcomings of Mittens, he cries foul. Yet his ads can distort the thruth, edit out keys parts of the POTUS' message or downright lie and that's OK. What a hypocrite. Where are the tax filings for the last ten years Romneyhood, show us how you avoided paying taxes (albeit legally) while at the same time saying tax cuts are needed for the wealthy because they are the job creators. Paying your fair share pffft.

    August 10, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. Desmond, a Canadian

    Do not be silly. The people who take the SUPER GOLD FOR DISTORTIONS with callous aggravation are the GOP folks. You are really banking on the emotional stupidity of the US electorate, I see. Well, you never know. Bush did and got in – twice!

    August 10, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  17. Bill


    Even a Fox New poll yesterday showed Obama up by nine points. Romney will get hammered in the general.

    August 10, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. Donkey Party

    "Desperate", is lying about welfare reform, or lying about a "war on religion", or saying anything to distract from what is so damaging in your tax returns that you refuse to release them.

    August 10, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. John

    Romney King of the carpet bombing now whining like a spoiled brat. People in glass houses should not throw stones....

    August 10, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  20. DAVID

    the repubs are not getting away with inventing and rewriting facts this election! liberal is no longer the dirty word you repubs tried to make! liberal means a person that can remember facts back past the last FOX NEWS CYCLE. whats wrong repubs did you really think liberals never got angry? we are slow to anger but even slower to cool down. by the way mittens how about those tax returns!

    August 10, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. Marie MD

    If anyone is desperate it's this psycho bully and his staff. No matter what he says or does he can be countered with what he has said and done in the past.
    You can't outrun your own liberal record. That's why the people of Masachussets voted for you and now you have flip flopped on everything you ever stood for to be president. Sort of like mccain losing any respect when choosing that woman to be his running mate and he still can't say he made a mistake.

    August 10, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. Trickle down doesn't work

    You reap what you sow Romney. You destroyed lives in your pursuit of profits. Face your legacy.

    August 10, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. Ancient Texan

    The polls now mean...NOTHING. At this time in the Carter/Reagan race, Carter was far ahead and we know how that turned out.

    August 10, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. Anna

    Team Romney is correct, but really all they have to do is use Obama's own words in every single commercial – show the interview with Matt Lauer – nuff said:

    While being interviewed by the Today Show on February 2nd 2009 President Obama said that if he can't turn the economy around after three years "then there is going to be a one term proposition".

    August 10, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. Malory Archer

    mittens is joking right? Joking or projecting.

    August 10, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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