WASHINGTON – A controversy that flared around an ad run by a “super PAC” supporting the reelection of President Obama does not appear to have hurt the group’s fundraising.
Priorities USA Action, a group launched by two former White House aides, unveiled a new television commercial Tuesday hammering Romney for his economic record as Massachusetts governor – part of what the super PAC said will be a $30-million advertising buy attacking the Republican ticket as bad for the middle class.
The new spot features a Cape Cod caterer named Olive Chase, who says she supported Romney as governor but was dismayed by his stewardship of the state’s economy, which ranked 47th in job creation during his tenure.
“I’m an independent. I voted for him, I contributed to him,” Chase says in the ad.
“Gov. Romney promised that he would bring jobs to this state. By the time Gov. Romney left office, we had fallen to 47th in the nation in terms of job growth.
“Gov. Romney cares about big business, he cares about tax cuts for wealthy people and I certainly do not believe he cares about my hard-working employees. I feel like I was duped by Mitt Romney. I’m going to vote for President Obama.”
Priorities USA Action said the ad is airing in Florida, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio and Virginia.
“This is a desperate attempt by the President’s allies to try and distract voters from President Obama’s failed record,” said Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg. “President Obama’s policies have devastated the middle class and led to record unemployment and less take-home pay. We are happy to compare the 4.7% unemployment rate Mitt Romney achieved with President Obama’s record of 42 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent any day.”
Earlier this month, the group set off a sharp back-and-forth between the campaigns with an ad in which a former steelworker talks about how his wife died of cancer after he lost his job and health insurance when Romney’s private equity firm shuttered his steel mill. The commercial failed to note that when the mill closed, his wife was employed and had her own health insurance, and that she did not die until five years later.
Romney has attempted to link Obama to the ad, saying it is part of a “vicious” campaign being run by the president.
In a news conference last week, Obama defended the tone and focus of his reelection campaign as “pretty standard stuff,” distancing himself from the super PAC commercial.
“Keep in mind this is an ad that I didn’t approve, I did not produce, and as far as I can tell has barely run,” Obama said.
[For the Record, 9:58 p.m. PST Aug. 28: This post has been updated to include the Romney campaign’s response.]