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. ST

    Oh! this woman with big face is back (Rachel Streitfeld). Whenever I write something, she never post it. I wrote my comment earlier without checking who wrote this article. Oh! She is back!!

    August 10, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    After all the trash Romney has thrown at the President and his primary opponents, he has the nerve to complain because it boomeranged on him? ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Back atcha anal-cavity.

    August 10, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. Malory Archer


    Let us look at what libs think is fair game in campaigning. Attacking your opponents wife.


    The libs haven't been the ones attacking Michelle Obama, babe – that's all coming from your whiny, hateful ilk.

    August 10, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  4. J

    Obama was getting slammed over his big government, spread the wealth line "You didn't build that." So what does he do he has Reid go out there and take one for the team make some stuff up about Romney then his superpac makes an ad claiming Romney contributes to killing people. Bottomline is Obama is desperate and has nothing to run on except trying to make Romney look bad. Bring back the "you didn't build that" on ads again I bet you see all of the democrats scrambling to make stuff up.

    August 10, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  5. Politics Ain't Beanbag

    Bullies always whine, when you stand up to them. Eric needs to call a wwwhhhhaaaammmmbulance . . . .

    August 10, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  6. Expat American

    So this is Romney when no one is there to ‘hold down his opponent’ for him; all of a sudden the world is unfair for golden boy?

    Keep crying, Unich.

    August 10, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  7. BLKMANinAmerica

    This yoyo is so out of touch with Reality, but then which repuk in our mist dosen't live on the banks of DENIAL? Not 1.

    August 10, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    @once upon – boy – Ann Coulter sure is pretty when she's angry (not). She looks like a bleach blond walking skeleton.

    August 10, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  9. Montykoolaid

    It is absolutely silly the "outrage" being manufactured by the Republicans.

    They are like the playground bully who runs around hitting whoever he wants and the one time someone stands up and punches him back he runs off crying for his mother.

    Romneys last ad about welfare was a downright LIE. Even the legislators that made the law and Bill Clinton said so. And it is obvious, republicans pushed and pushed for more states involvement with welfare.

    So Obama gave the states more flexibility with welfare.

    And now they cry foul? For what? It is what you wanted!!!

    As for Joe Soptic. Romney bought his steel company, and then ran it into the ground. He then denied all 750 now unemployed workers their benefits and health insurance that he had PROMISED THEM and also cut their pensions by $400 a month. He then negotiated a FEDERAL TAXPAYER FUNDED BAILOUT FOR $50,000,000 of which BAIN took $12,000,000 IN PROFIT!! Joes wife lost her insurance due to inury and Joes new job was paying $15,000 a year with NO BENEFITS. Barely a job compared to the full benefits $45,000 a year good old fashioned American manufacturing job he had that Romney destroyed for profit.

    August 10, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  10. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    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.
    How nice!! The Obama campaign getting caught up in their own web of LIES. The phone call is quite specific too. This guy thanks Stephanie Cutter specifically and she thanks him for his story! Yes, just another in the long trail of sleazy lies told by Obama and his corrupt band of thugs. And THESE are the people you want running your government? They have ALREADY gotten people KILLED with their sleazy disregard for the laws of this country. Do YOU want to be their next victim???

    August 10, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. Eric

    well the Super PAC acts independently from the presidential campaign. Stop blaming the President for something someone else is doing. Attack the PAC not the person they support.

    August 10, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  12. rokkitman

    It's hard to learn your opponent is both stronger and smarter than you are, isn't it, Mittster? As long as the thinks-he's-a-tough-guy death-squad-money-made-vulture-capitalist is huddled in the corner, sobbing, he's losing. Hit him again, Mr President. his lips are still moving.

    August 10, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. me

    sorry , liberal will always be a filthy word as far as politics goes. The liberals were the inventors of dirty pool and never miss a chance to show us how good they are at it

    August 10, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  14. Donkey Party

    Sniffs – Being an out of the closet racist sure must save you a ton on your linen bill.

    August 10, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. Fair is Fair

    @ call girl...

    "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."
    Obama's campaign vehemently denied knowing the gentleman in the ad. His campaign is also tape with the gentleman in question. His campaign therefore has coordinated with a super PAC, which is illegal. Obama has done nothing... zilch, zip, nada to address the facts. Seriously... that doesn't bother you??

    August 10, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. Jerubbaal

    Has he been following the polls lately. The old Jedi mind trick ain't cutting it.

    August 10, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  17. Bob

    Rmoney is a proven liar and cheat. He has yet to utter ONE SINGLE HONEST word about the President.

    August 10, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. scott

    Obama has stooped to a new low, he is no longer worthy of respect, he is a liar that cares nothing for the middle class, except to use them for political gain. He has failed in everything he has done from the ecomony to healthcare. He is a racist, closet muslin who is out to destroy the United States from inside. Thru the Presidency he is trying to pattern this country after Europe.

    August 10, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  19. SuperD

    The tax returns will come out when Obama releases his papers from Columbia. So, it looks like we'll get neither because Obama knows damn well if they came out, he would be disqualified to be President.

    Do you know why Romney is clobbering Obama in fund raising? It's because a LOT more people don't want him as President anymore than people who foolishly do. There's no shortage of those on this board.

    August 10, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  20. Doug in NYC

    Where are YOUR tax returns RobMeHood? Also, anyone that is unemployed and can't afford health insurance, you can move to Mass and be covered by RobMeHood Care, because you know, it's that good! Andrea Saul sayed so yesterday or ,was it the day before, in response to that ad!

    August 10, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. Yuri

    LOL. I am most enjoying watching your country divide it's self..... You american's, killing your own country! Soon you will no be in position to tell anyone what to do! GO USA! GO USA! GO USA! LOL. You american's, killing your own country!

    August 10, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. robone

    Dont forget to add Romney's "Obama's War on Religion" comment to the list of blatant lies used as personal attacks. Romney seems to be the more desperate one to me.

    August 10, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. mike

    Romney what a hypocrite!

    August 10, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. v_mag

    Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior member of team Romney, faulted what he called the Obama campaign's "desperate tactics,"
    "Desperate tactics" was a slip of the tongue. What he meant to say was, "Romney's desperate over taxes", i.e., his own tax returns that show him paying little to nothing while the middle class hands him welfare checks.

    August 10, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  25. America1sts.

    Desperate is how hard Romney is trying to keep the voters from finding out he's one of the 47% who pay no income taxes. SHOW YOUR TAX RECORDS.

    August 10, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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