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Cancer ad prompts GOP attack

The Republican National Committee ad "What Else?" attacks President Barack Obama over a super PAC ad linking Mitt Romney to a woman's death from cancer.

The Republican National Committee and pro-Republican super PAC American Crossroads are attacking President Barack Obama over an ad released by super PAC Priorities USA Action that all but calls presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney responsible for a woman’s death from cancer.

The response comes in the form of more ads.

What Else?” from the RNC accuses the Obama campaign of lying about the extent of its connection to the Priorities ad. Coordination between candidates’ campaigns and super PACs is prohibited, but rules against it are difficult to enforce, as the Center for Public Integrity has reported.

In the Priorities ad, steelworker Joe Soptic says Romney’s former firm, Bain Capital, shut down the company he worked for and he lost his health insurance. His wife developed cancer but avoided going to the doctor because she had no coverage. 

“I don’t know the facts of when Joe Soptic’s wife got sick, or when she died,” Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s deputy campaign manager, says during a TV news interview featured in the Republican ad.

The ad then cuts to a recording of a conference call where Cutter thanks Soptic, the steel worker, for “sharing your experiences.”

The ad never says what experiences Soptic was sharing.

Cancer," from American Crossroads, tries to pokes holes in the firewall that is supposed to exist between candidates’ campaigns and the super PACs that support them. The video does not come up in Web searches. The ad link was made public by Politico Friday morning.

In other outside spending news:

  • Conservative nonprofit Americans for Prosperity on Thursday released the ad “Ronald Reagan: Freedom Leads to Prosperity,” featuring a speech from the former Republican president.
  • Conservative nonprofit Crossroads GPS has announced it will pull the ad “Hiding Taxes,” after its target, former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp, complained, according to the Associated Press. Heitkamp, a Democrat, is running for Senate.
  • Also in North Dakota: Majority PAC, a super PAC that seeks to preserve the Democratic majority in the Senate, spent more than $106,000 on advertising to oppose Republican Rep. Rick Berg, a Senate candidate.
  • Pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action spent $884,000 on an ad that will be used to oppose Romney.
  • Conservative super PAC Club for Growth Action spent nearly $477,000 on TV ads backing its favorite candidate — former Wisconsin Congressman Mark Neumann — and criticizing his two opponents in the Wisconsin Senate GOP primary. The race will be decided Tuesday. The group is attacking the state’s former governor Tommy Thompson and businessman Eric Hovde.
  • The Club dropped another $440,000 on TV and online ads opposing Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz. Gosar currently represents Arizona’s 1st District but is running for re-election in the 4th District due to redistricting.
  • The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spent about $241,000 buying and producing ads in two hotly contested Senate races. The buys pay for ads that oppose former New Mexico Rep. Heather Wilson and Montana Congressman Dennis Rehberg.

About the author

Alexandra Duszak is a reporter for the Center's Consider the Source project. Previously, she was the Center's 15th James R. Soles Fellow.

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