Thursday, August 9, 2012

Message to Job Creators ... Don't Do It

Perhaps there will be a worse political ad than the following during this campaign season, but I hope not. This one is insane.

A Harsh Anti-Romney Ad Sparks Criticism has the story:

"A new TV ad that suggests Mitt Romney's business dealings contributed to a woman's death from cancer by depriving her of health insurance enraged Republicans and left even some supporters of President Barack Obama troubled by its tone.

Meanwhile, the woman's husband, featured in the one-minute ad from a pro-Obama super PAC, said Wednesday that he doesn't blame Mr. Romney for her death.

The ad by Priorities USA Action drew protests from Republicans for suggesting that Mr. Romney's leadership of Bain Capital, the private-equity firm he once ran, played a role in the death of Ilyona Soptic at age 55.

The ad features Joe Soptic, 62, of Missouri, who lost his job when GST Steel of Kansas City—owned by Bain and other investors for eight years—was closed. As melancholy music plays, Mr. Soptic says that when the plant closed, he and his family lost their health-care coverage and "a short time after that, my wife became ill." Her illness was diagnosed five years later. "I don't think Mitt Romney understands what he's done to people's lives by closing the plant," Mr. Soptic says in the ad. . . .

Mr. Soptic said that his wife was receiving health insurance through her employer at the time he lost his job at GST Steel, though she later suffered an injury, left her job and lost her insurance coverage. {NOTE: She didn't work at and wasn't insured by GST Steel.}

He could not say precisely when this occurred.

Mr. Soptic said that after he lost his job, he found work as a school custodian about six months later and had the option to put her on his insurance plan. But he opted not to, he said, because he could not afford the more than $350 monthly premium on the $25,000 salary he was making, on top of paying his mortgage and a daughter's college tuition. Ilyona Soptic was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 and died that year.

Bill Burton, a former Obama White House aide who co-founded Priorities USA Action, said the ad was running in five battleground states, including Ohio and Florida. He said the ad was part of a $20 million project but would not say how much of that money was devoted to putting the ad on the air.

When ads are provocative, even a small investment in airtime can lead to outsize attention from the media and viewers who watch the ad online.

Some say the Priorities USA spot ups the ante in an already negative political ad culture. Even some Democrats are recoiling at the negative tone. "I thought the ad was wrong in terms of trying to tie a presidential candidate to a personal tragedy of a family," said former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, a Democrat from Pennsylvania. "This ad goes over the edge."

Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, accused the super PAC of "exploiting the tragic death of a woman with cancer to further their political agenda. Tactics like these show the lengths President Obama and his allies will go to distract voters from Obama's failure to turn the economy around."

Mr. Burton said the ad was fair, noting that Mr. Soptic couldn't afford insurance for his wife after GST Steel closed. "Anyone who suggests the impact of a factory shutting down isn't felt for years later is wrong,'' he said. . . .

The ad comes as the campaign rhetoric is coarsening, with Messrs. Obama and Romney taking to name-calling. This week, President Obama trotted out a new phrase to impugn Mr. Romney's tax plan: "reverse Romney Hood." The Republican challenger retorted that Mr. Obama is full of "Obamaloney."

Mr. Soptic also appeared in a spot put out by the Obama campaign in May. In it, he said that watching what happened to the steel company after Bain and others took over "was like watching an old friend bleed to death."

Asked what Mr. Romney's responsibility was in the family's misfortunes, Mr. Soptic said: "He was one of the investors [in the plant]. When they bought the company, they guaranteed us that we would receive a full pension and health care. And when [the company] filed for bankruptcy, I lost some of my pension and all my health care. And if I've had that health care, her quality of life would probably have been a little better.""


Politics sucks. It really sucks.

But politicians won't grow up unless and until We the People require them to do so.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

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