Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter said on Sunday that she didn't know the details behind the controversial Democratic super PAC advertisement that essentially blamed Mitt Romney for the cancer death of a woman.
But Cutter nonetheless took the offensive appearing on ABC's This Week, saying she did know about the woman’s husband, Joe Soptic, who appeared in the ad, and the company, which was owned by Bain Capital, where he worked.
Soptic was laid off by GST Steel in Kansas City in 2001, after Romney’s private-equity firm took over management of the company and shut it down. Soptic claims in the ad that he lost his health insurance, which caused his wife to delay a hospital visit, resulting in her cancer going undiagnosed until it was too late.
"What I do know is what Mr. Soptic’s experience was with GST Steel, after Mitt Romney bought it, loaded it up with debt, over-leveraged it, paid himself excess profits and fees, but then forced that company into bankruptcy, leaving Mr. Soptic without a job, without health care, and without his pension,” Cutter said.
The ad has drawn fierce criticism from the Romney campaign, which has accused Obama of running a race composed of “ugly distortions and lies.” The Republican National Committee emailed a news article about Cutter's appearance on the program with the statement: "Remember back in 2008 when President Obama said his real opponent was cynicism? Ha."
CNN has reported that there was a five-year interval between the plant’s closure and Soptic’s wife’s death. She also had her own insurance for part of that period. The fact-checking website PolitiFact labeled the ad's claims "False."