Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Sunday tried to distance the DNC and President Obama’s campaign from a harsh attack ad produced by super PAC Priorities USA, saying on Fox News Sunday that she had no idea of the political affiliation of that pro-Obama super PAC.
Wasserman Schultz was asked whether Democrats had gone too far with a new ad that implies a woman died of cancer because Bain Capital fired her husband and, as a result, she lost her health insurance. Wasserman Schultz took issue with Democrats as a whole being held accountable for the actions of that one super PAC.
“First of all, that’s a Priorities USA—it’s not a Democratic ad, it’s a Priorities USA super PAC ad,” Wasserman Schultz said.
When pressed to admit that Priorities USA was at least founded and run by Democrats—the founders even include a couple of former Obama aides—Wasserman Schultz claimed she had no idea what party the super PAC represented.
“I have no idea of the political affiliation of the folks who are associated with that super PAC,” she said.
According to Open Secrets, Priorities USA has spent nearly $19 million this election cycle, all of it on anti-Romney efforts.
Wasserman Schultz’s comments highlight the murky, dubious world of super PACs in which vicious attack ads funded by virtually unlimited, secret money, can do the dirty work for campaigns so long as the two groups don’t coordinate with each other. It’s the same kind of mudslinging that went down months ago in the Republican primary, with super PACs for Romney and Newt Gingrich pummeling the opposition while keeping their candidate seemingly above the fray.
Wasserman Schultz refined her remarks later Sunday in a tweet, saying that she did in fact know that Priorities USA supports Democrats, and that her point was merely that they aren’t coordinating with the Obama campaign.
“Clearly Priorities USA is a Democratic SuperPAC. Was trying to state the obvious: we have no control over their activities,” she tweeted.
Watch video of the original comments below:
Jon Terbush is a Boston-based writer whose work has appeared in Talking Points Memo, Business Insider, the New Haven Register, and elsewhere. He tweets about politics, cats, and baseball via @jonterbush.
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