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

    The man is hollow. The only genuine emotions he has are connected to making money and becoming the president at ANY cost. We're doomed if this tax evading zombie becomes our president. He doesn't want to help the American people. It's just his turn to be president. Where is his soul? It ain't there!

    August 7, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  2. i Nomaly am silent.

    I normally dont reply, but when does it become appropriate in presidential politics to accuse someone in this manner. Romney no more killed that dear Lady than Obama did. This Presidential cycle is getting old, and I love to follow Politics. but i have been turned off at it now. America needs a God Called Leader to take us back toward him. Obama should condemn this PAC for this ad. Romney did not kill her, its not his fault she didnt speak( no disrespect to the Lady) and its not his fault she had the heart breaking cancer. Come on Let's get real and debate the substance of this election cycle and talk about going in the right direction, not all this negativity and attacks on others personal integrity!!

    August 7, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  3. i Nomaly am silent.

    after re-reading let me amend something. He did not cause her death no more than Obama did. Kill is not the right Word to use. I apologise for using that word.

    August 7, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  4. Puddin

    It's biblical........that the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. The love of money is the root of all evil. I feel for this family who suffered such a loss because of it.

    August 7, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  5. 4merRepubCT

    The Repubs claim that POTUS focusing on healthcare was a bad thing. In reality, this will have direct positive impact on the personal economies of those who are no longer denied health insurance, and young people who can remain on their parents' policies through the age of 26. This is a huge improvement in the economy for many. Why are Republicans denying this?

    August 7, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  6. racegirl1

    Sir, I am sorry about your wife but glad you are speaking out because people need to know Bain, I mean Romney want to repeal the Affordable Care Act and let many more go without insurance and die. This person do not care about the little people only his 1% friends. The republicans want to repeal the ACA because they have to use the same heath care and they want to go back to the premier health care they had before.

    August 7, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |

    Far left BS

    August 7, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  8. Sandy

    What a sad story! Romney doesn't understand the pain he caused when he bankrupted companies, shipped jobs overseas and robbed workers of their pensions and healthcare. What a HORRIBLE and uncaring person Romney is.

    August 7, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  9. RealityBites

    Using this faux logic, Obama is responsible for all deaths related to the 4 million people who lost their jobs on his watch. Not to mention the additional 12 million workers added through population growth over the last 4 yrs.

    August 7, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  10. RealityBites

    Personal destruction and innuendo. Clearly Obama's choice of tools for re-election.

    August 7, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  11. rashad

    VERY SAD Barack Obama U JUST LOST MY VOTE....

    August 7, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  12. Brooke

    This could be true. Romey is getting a tease of his own MEDS.........

    August 7, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  13. Sniffit

    "Mitt Romney has a Plan for a Stronger Middle Class that will jumpstart the economy and bring back millions of jobs.""

    For just $2000 per year each, only $5.48 per day, you too can contribute to making sure that the wealthy continue to enjoy the comforts and advantages they so richly deserve more than you do. Please, won't you help?

    August 7, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  14. Really?

    Wow! This the best straw you can grasp PAC for Obama?
    Chances are, even with insurance coverage, his wife, unfortunately, would have died anyway.
    With Obamacare, chances are she would not even get an appointment with an oncologist until long after she was buried. Don't be fooled again folks; if we don't repeal Obamacare we ALL lose decent coverage... Oh wait...except congress and the President.

    August 7, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  15. Catherine

    Speaking of comtemptible efforts. It is the business of Congress to do the budget. Obama never said that businesses didn't build their businesses. He said they alone didn't build the infrastructure that made their businesses possible. Obama isn't opposing the Ohio early voting law to suppress the military vote. He is opposing the law to make it possible for ALL VOTERS to vote early since Ohio seems to have difficulty providing enough voting machines in areas with large populations that can increase the time to vote to 7 hrs. or more. Granted, I don't think this ad is quite fair either, but it does demonstrate that all actions by someone in power have consequences that they either don't anticipate or don't care about. Perhaps if Romney didn't have the funds to treat his wife's MS, he would have been more compasionate.

    August 7, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  16. Zechariah14 third mishkan

    GST STEEL KANSAS CITY MO.was doing good
    but that greedy mitt and bain company took jobs from the American Steel Workers
    And their 401k plans and mitt says he create 12 MILLION JOBS WOW MITT YOU ARE A EDUCATED FOOL

    August 7, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  17. tammyk tammy

    Romney and Bain keeps referring to the fact that they have grown revenues. Revenues DO NOT EQUAL jobs and health benefits for Americans. I wonder how Romney would feel if he couldn't afford basic healthcare for his wife who has MS? Not only does she have coverage, but has a $77,000/yr Olympic therapy horse. Obama focused on affordable healthcare which has been desparately needed for the majority of Americans and which has been continuously blocked by the GOP which has also blocked any progress toward jobs as well. Thank you Mr. PRESIDENT for looking out for Americans. Meanwhile, the therapy horse dances on.....

    August 7, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  18. demwit

    Bane took Bob Hopes job too??

    August 7, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  19. Rosslaw

    The Mittens camp says everything about the add except as to whether or not its true.

    August 7, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  20. enuff

    Did Romney not listen with this before he sent out his old repetative statement? The ad says the woman did not tell her husband about the illness because they could not afford healthcare, due to Bain laying him off. All Romney's camp can do is release a statement that says Obama focused on healthcare? They aren't listening anymore – just keep hitting the send button on the same message over and over. Maybe Romney will reverse his "retroactive" resignation and now say he wasn't part of this.

    August 7, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  21. Randy, San Francisco

    GOP/Tea Party believe good health care is only for the rich. Romney cannot run away for his moral failures for his role with Bain Capital in causing so much pain and suffering. His failure to pay taxes for 10 years erodes any excuses he may try to give.

    August 7, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  22. stars

    If Robmey happen to be the winner you will see many more death there will a lot of homless starving ppl in the great usa. All their jobr will be shipped to china, inda and every where he can make himself richer he want to be the riches man in the world.

    August 7, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |

    Romney the goof started the whole thing of negitive adds in the primarys againest his own party and where's your tax returns ???????? I love when all these Gop bafoons stick up for the goof romney without ever having seen them just like us . I wouldn't stick up for a proven lier ,Gop train wreck coming with BACHMANN and the wimp !!!!

    August 7, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  24. Trey

    That's not a stretch at all. bain acquired in 93. Romney left in 99. They went bankrupt in 2001. Obviously Mr Romney himself shuttered the company because this guy's wife had cancer and he knew it before she did. He was being greedy and didn't want to pay for her medical expenses, ergo Romney is responsible...

    The company obviously shuttered because they didn't want their insurance rates to go up because of his wife's cancer. That's the only reason. Had she not had cancer, they would've maintained their jobs, the company would still be making money, etc...

    Look, I'm sorry this guy's wife passed away. I've had loved ones with cancer pass away. But come on, really?! What person thinks this is legitimate?

    August 7, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  25. g

    Let's talk about Romney's record as governor of Massachusetts and him being a miserable failure as job creator.

    August 7, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
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