Almost lost in the excitement over Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate is the Democratic Party’s discomfiture over the Priorities USA ad that accused Mitt Romney of causing a woman’s death from cancer. The ad was so over the top that it led us to ask, Has the Obama campaign finally gone too far? Apparently so, as the ad was greeted with universal condemnation.
So now the Democrats are trying to distance themselves from it. On ABC this morning, David Axelrod admitted that Romney doesn’t actually cause cancer:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Roundly criticized as crossing a line, does the President stand behind that ad? Does he agree with what was in that ad?
AXELROD: I don’t think anybody, anybody believes that Mr. Soptic’s wife, that Governor Romney can be blamed for the death of Mr. Soptic’s wife. …
STEPHANOPOULOS: But does the President think that this kind of an ad was appropriate?
AXELROD: Look, as I said, I don’t think Governor Romney can be blamed for that woman’s death.
Neither Axelrod nor his boss, Barack Obama, can bring himself to condemn the most outrageous smear of modern times. At the same time, they don’t want to take responsibility for it.
The incomparable Debbie Wasserman Schultz was even more evasive on Fox News Sunday, as she was not even willing to admit that the ad was a Democratic one:
ROBERTS: Should the Democrats be releasing an ad that accuses a presidential candidate, through inference, of being responsible for a woman’s death?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: First of all, that’s a Priorities USA ad. That’s not a Democratic ad; it’s a Priorities USA Super PAC ad.
ROBERTS: Do you deny that they’re Democrats?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I have no idea the political affiliation of folks who are associated with that Super PAC.
This is pretty hilarious; as usual, the Democrats have no intention of appealing to anyone other than the ignorant. As Scott pointed out here, the Obama campaign is in the Soptic pit up to its eyeballs, having sponsored Soptic’s ridiculous claims on a conference call with reporters in May, and having released its own Soptic ad. Moreover, the idea that Priorities USA might be something other than a Democratic Party group is laughable. Its president is Harold Ickes, and it was founded by Bill Burton, until recently a spokesman for President Obama, and Sean Sweeney, who was chief of staff to Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. The idea that Ms. Wasserman Schultz “has no idea of the political affiliation” of Ickes, Burton, Sweeney and their confederates is obviously a lie. But Wasserman Schultz is a typical leader of the Democratic Party: she lies when she thinks she might be able to get away with it.
Some Republicans have worried that naming Paul Ryan as the Republican vice-presidential candidate will give the Democrats an opportunity to demagogue Social Security and Medicare. Given the way the campaign has gone so far, I am not sure that Barack Obama and his supporters are capable of any discourse as elevated as demagoguing Social Security and Medicare.