Team Romney blasts Obama campaign for 'desperate tactics'
August 10th, 2012
12:49 PM ET
9 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. Just When You Thought They Couldn't Get Any Dumber

    Your candidate is 9 points down in the latest Fox News poll–QUICK: What do you do?

    You roll out Newt Gingrich to race-bait and call President Obama "the food-stamp president."
    You roll out John Sununu to say that President Obama is "not American enough" and call him a "wuss."
    You roll out Donald Trump to say that he has "real doubts" about President Obama even being a citizen of the United States.

    Then, in all your infinite wisdom, you attack your opponent for "desperate tactics."

    I don't know about everyone else, but I love to hear the whining coming from the Romney campaign, and It's a real treat when the candidate himself is doing it too.

    August 10, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. America1sts.

    How does a guy who makes a quarter billion dollars get to write off a MULTI-MILLION dollar Olumpic riding horse as a "medical expense" while telling eveyone "Day one, I'll kill the affordable healthcare off" for all you peasants. I guess only the rich need and GET healthcare at taxpayer expense.

    August 10, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. v_mag

    Anna 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"."
    But the right wing always says Obama is wrong, so it must be that he's going to win re-election. They CAN'T agree with the President! That's heresy!

    August 10, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. once upon a horse

    this week the Obama team had President Bill Clinton come out in their support......the Romney team had John Sununu. Now WHICH sounds more desperate to you?

    August 10, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. America1st

    Hidden Swiss bank accounts, notorious Cayman Island tax cheat havens, and Bermuda shell companies. You wonder why we want to see this man's records. He certainly insisted his previous opponents show their tax records. Hypocrite and fraud. Nothing more.

    August 10, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  6. myviewis

    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.

    You are aware that Jonathan Lavine was running Bain when Joe Soptic was laidoff? And in the New York Times there is a very good article that states that Romney had left Bain in 1999 and had nothing to do with decision making as he transfered his position out to the other executives because they weren't going to let him make decisions if he left Bain in 1999 so he lost his power in the company and just because he got payment for his deal didn't give him the power to run Bain anymore. Those executives jumped on the chance to take over Romney's position and pay.

    August 10, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. lolo

    He has it twisted. No party is using dirty tactics like the republican racist party. The lies are being told by the republican. The man did not say Romney killed his wife, that is the republican spin. You people as the Romney's like to say need to get more educated so that you can understand what people are saying. He blames Romney for coming in and taking over the steel mill and then declaring bankruptcy and filling his pockets while the workers lost their medical care, savings, 401 and everything else, but you will spin it to suit you. The only reason you want to repeal Obamacare as you call it, so that Romney or any other white president can attach their name to , because you do not want the black president's name attached to it.

    August 10, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. America1st

    Quit dodging the tax question Romney! Are you one of the 47% who pay no income taxes. We already know you pay ZERO social security taxes, and ZERO state income taxes. What else do the peasants not need to know?

    August 10, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. NinetyNinePercent

    @Anna – Then I guess Obama is definitely going to be a second term president, because stocks are hitting record highs and my 401k has been kicking some serious butt since he took office. And when Bush was in office, we were LOSING hundreds of thousands of jobs per month. Today, we may not be gaining as much as everyone would like, and the unemployment rate is not where we had hoped, but I would still call this a decent economical turn around compared to where we were four years ago.

    August 10, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. v_mag

    me said: "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"
    When I hear the word 'conservative', it reminds me of a small puckered sphincter.

    August 10, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. Peggy - TX

    The facts are the facts and it is fair and appropriate to show that when factories are shut down many people that come to depend on the steady employment from the factories are severely adversely affected when they close. People’s quality of life is often destroyed. Romney may be perfectly with in the law, when he takes over a company, sells it’s assets, fires the works and then pockets a huge chunk of cash for himself, but it is still morally wrong. The laws are wrong for allowing that to happen and the laws that then allow people like Romney to then not even pay taxes of such excessive earnings is even more wrong. Just demonstrates how devoid of moral standards Romney is and just how wrong Romney would be for America.

    August 10, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. NinetyNinePercent

    Stop avoiding the subject Romney and show your returns already. The people are never going to let up until you do.

    August 10, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  13. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans have allowed people like Rush Limbaugh and others to show no respect for President Obama and now they want respect, I don't think so. Republicans need to stop crying like babies and wetting their pants because they planted the seed of "how low can you go" so just own it. LOL

    August 10, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  14. Prosperid


    Instead of wasted our time (which is what you've done in congress these past 4 years), why don't Romney's campaign just focus on HIS GREAT (um...bush) POLICIES.....It seems that all they do is REACT TO ANYTHING obama throws out there & lead from behind. Let's hear some more 12 million job know the equivalency of 250,000 per month for the next 4 years.

    August 10, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. Governor 47th In Job Creation (Excluding Off-shored to China and India)

    Litte D wrote:
    "The tax returns will come out when Obama releases his papers from Columbia."

    Since no candidate has ever been requested to release college papers, etc, we'll allow Willard to go first (and show his long form certificate, too). Meanwhile on a 30+ year tradition of releasing tax returns started by Willard's own daddy to show that multiple years would provide insight and not a fluke.....what's Willard hiding? To quote the eloquent speaker and Gov. of Texas, Richard Perry, "Oops."
    Dropping like a rock in the polls because of the tax dodge. You keep on playing college papers there junior, the adults and vast majority of voters (63% to be exact) are demanding to see the returns.

    August 10, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. HenryB

    Dirty campaigning? Mittster, you have a lock on that one. Your Republican opponents will attest to that. Loser!

    August 10, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  17. v_mag

    Thanks to Claudia from Houston my brain just made the connection between Limbaugh and the limbo: How low can you go? They must have named the dance after Rush.

    August 10, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
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