My colloquy with Robert Gibbs on “Morning Joe” about the new TV ad from Priorities USA Action, the PAC endorsed by the President, which features a man who suggests Mitt Romney’s actions at Bain caused his wife to die of cancer:
HALPERIN: “Robert, we all feel bad for that man and, obviously, it’s a heartfelt testimonial. But do you think that’s an appropriate injection in this campaign? Of basically making the accusation that Governor Romney caused that women’s death?”
GIBBS: “Look, Mark, I think, as you said, this is an ad by an entity that’s not controlled by the campaign. I certainly don’t know the specifics of this man’s case. I do think there is a lot of concern in the country of what happens when people lose their jobs. We know that when they lose their jobs, because most of where people get their healthcare provided for is in their job, they tend to also lose their healthcare. That people become one bad illness or sickness away from losing their house, from losing their life savings, from losing their ability to send their children to college and it’s a huge fear and anxiety for families all over the country.”
HALPERIN: “Robert, just as a general matter, because I know you don’t control the content of the super PAC ads from the campaign. If they do something that you consider over the line, will you call them on it? Or is your posture, we don’t have any control, we don’t comment on what they do?”
GIBBS: “No, Mark, look. I think people will decide whether it’s factual. [Crosstalk] If the ad’s not true, Mark, one, it’s not going to be effective. And if there’s an ad that’s not true, it shouldn’t be running.”
HALPERIN: “So if you see something they do, you consider over the line, you will call them on it publicly?”
GIBBS: “Look, I’m not going to make some broad policy on that, Mark. One thing I’m not going to do is get involved in super PACs and decide that I need some lawyer to explain to me coordination.”
As with Team Obama’s refusal to repudiate Harry Reid, it does not appear that Gibbs and his colleagues are inclined to say this ad is over the line. It seems that for some Democrats, given the attacks the President has taken, nothing is out of bounds in going after Romney at this point.
It would be interesting to know what Barack Obama and Joe Biden think about this ad.