Bill Burton responds to ad controversy
Today on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Bill Burton of Priorities USA Action responded to the recent controversy over a new attack ad linking Romney to the death of the wife of a laid of steelworker. A transcript highlight is after the jump. A full transcript will be posted on http://archives.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/sitroom.html.
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THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED
BLITZER: Bill Burton is here. He’s the founder of Priorities USA Action.
You’re responsible for this ad, is that right?
BILL BURTON, PRIORITIES USA ACTION’S SENIOR STRATEGIST: That’s right.
BLITZER: You stand by it?
BLITZER: You make a serious allegation, in effect, suggesting that the Republican presidential nominee, in effect, is responsible for the death of this woman.
BLITZER: We’ve gone through the timeline, and it’s clearly — he’s not responsible for her —
BURTON: Absolutely not.
BLITZER: She had —
BURTON: You’re absolutely right. He’s not. And that’s not what the ad suggests.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, what is the message of the ad, because that’s clearly missed then, Bill.
BURTON: Well, it is clearly missed by that fact check. There’s no doubt. The point of this ad is that — you know, it’s to tell the story of one guy, Joe Soptic, and the impact on his life that happened for years, and to this day, as a result of decisions that Mitt Romney made.
This is one of a series of ads in which we talk about the very long-lasting impacts that Mitt Romney’s decision had on these communities, on these individuals and their families.
What that fact check did was it presupposes that, if Joe’s wife had gotten sick right after he left that company, right after he was fired from that company, then somehow Mitt Romney would be culpable. If she hadn’t had health insurance for a short time in that intervening period, somehow Mitt Romney would be culpable.
We’re not saying Mitt Romney is culpable for that. What we’re saying is that Joe Soptic was fired from his job, and as a result of that, he wasn’t able to get — he wasn’t able to hold onto health care benefits that were promised to him. And as a result, when his wife got sick, he didn’t have health care.
BLITZER: But his wife was diagnosed with cancer six years after Mitt Romney effectively left Bain Capital. He effectively left in ’99 —
BURTON: Well, he was the CEO until 2002.
BLITZER: Yes, but in 1999, he went to run the Olympic Games in Salt Lake. And he worked full-time on that.
BURTON: (Inaudible) when you’re the CEO, you’re responsible for —
BLITZER: Yes, but most people — in terms of day-to-day operations, he had no role.
BURTON: He was the CEO, he was the sole shareholder. He was responsible for the decisions that (inaudible).
BLITZER: Well, he had been gone from the day-to-day operations.
BURTON: Well, his name, he signed his name to —
BLITZER: The bottom line, I want Kate to move on. But you’re saying —
BURTON: That is Romney’s
BLITZER: — you stand by this ad. You haven’t placed it any place yet, have you?
BURTON: Well, we shipped it. So it’s — it’ll —
BLITZER: How much are you going to spend to promote this ad and where are you going to promote it?
BURTON: Well, it will be up in battleground states around the country. It’s part of a $20 million project that we’re using —
BLITZER: What part of that $20 million?
BURTON: Well, you know, it depends. Every ad is a little bit different. Sometimes you think that you want to keep an ad on longer and so you —
BLITZER: So even though so many fact checkers says it is inaccurate, it’s not responsible, it’s misleading, you’re still going to go ahead and play it?
BURTON: Well, Wolf, just like we just talked about, what we are — what this ad does is it tells a story of one guy and the impact that Mitt Romney had —
BLITZER: It’s misleading to tell.
BURTON: Well, this is your opinion.