Published August 13, 2012
Democratic Party Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Sunday she has “no idea” about the political affiliation of Priorities USA, the Super PAC behind a recent ad suggesting Mitt Romney is responsible for a woman’s death -- though the group was co-founded by two former Obama staffers.
Republicans seized on the disconnect after she made the remarks on “Fox News Sunday.” The Republican National Committee’s Twitter page was buzzing Sunday with challenges to Schultz’s statement.
Priorities USA was started last year by Bill Burton, a 2008 Obama campaign staffer and Obama White House spokesman, and Sean Sweeney, an Obama administration political aide.
The Priorities USA ad released last week features ex-steelworker Joe Soptic recounting how his wife died of cancer after he lost his health insurance when his plant was shuttered after a takeover by Bain Capital and other companies working with the private equity firm.
The ad left out key details about the timeline, including that Soptic's wife died five years after the plant closed, and years after Romney left Bain.
“That’s a Priorities USA, not a Democratic ad … which we have nothing to do with,” said Rep. Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. “I have no idea of the political affiliation of folks who are associated with that Super PAC.”
The White House has acknowledged its support of Priorities USA, allowing officials to attend group events and donate money.
The president has yet to comment on the ad amid bipartisan criticism.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday he had yet to speak with Obama about the issue but that “we do not control third-party ads.”