published Friday, August 17th, 2012

How to invent a murder

  • photo
    President Barack Obama shields the spotlight from his eyes as he works the crowd after a campaign speech Tuesday in Marshalltown, Iowa.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The president wasn't born in the United States? His challenger is a rich elitist who can't feel your pain? The president wants everybody to be dependent on government? The GOP's presidential nominee-to-be didn't pay taxes?

Child's play.

Folks, if you really want to smear a candidate, accuse him of killing somebody. And if you can't prove that he actually put his hands around that somebody's throat and squeezed, then at least accuse him of causing the death somehow.

There's a left-leaning Super PAC out there called Priorities USA Action -- with the emphasis on the "Action." As for the "Priorities" part -- well, they don't seem to include telling the whole story. Or any parts of the story that don't mesh with the party line.

This outfit -- its slogan ought to be "Smears Are Our Specialty" -- put out a commercial that may have fooled more than a few of the gullible folks out there. The star of the smear was one Joe Soptic, a steelworker who was laid off at his Kansas City job in 2001. The plant had been taken over by Bain Capital in 1993.

Now you know where this is going.

Bain Capital had been run by a man named Mitt Romney, who's been in the news lately. In the commercial, Mr. Soptic says that after he was laid off, he lost his health insurance. Later his wife discovered she had cancer, and died from the disease. In the ad, Joe Soptic says Mitt Romney did it -- and didn't care.

BAM! That was some takedown. In fact, we're not sure we've ever seen an accusation quite as serious, as blatant or as wild as this one. Call it Murder One, or at least negligent homicide. It makes Dan Rather, the CBS anchorman who lost his job, career and reputation after his ax job on George W. Bush, look like a piker.

How could Mitt Romney be such a low-down, dirty dog? That's the kind of question an outraged press, after having seen this commercial, was supposed to ask a besieged Romney camp after it hit the airwaves.

Except the press dug a little deeper, believe it or not. CNN, a news channel not exactly known for its right-wing spin, ran the commercial through its fact-checkers and found it to be almost a total fabrication. For instance:

• The ad failed to mention that Mr. Soptic's wife had her own health care coverage through her company when Mr. Soptic lost his job.

• The ad failed to mention that she didn't lose that coverage until at least 2002, maybe 2003, when she lost her job, and Bain had nothing to do with that.

• The ad failed to mention that Mrs. Soptic wasn't diagnosed with cancer until 2006, five years after Mr. Soptic was laid off.

• The ad failed to mention that Mitt Romney had left Bain years before any of that happened -- even before the closing of the plant, which would come on others' watch.

Now you might think that some of these little details would be sufficiently relevant to mention in a campaign ad, especially one that accuses a presidential candidate of having blood on his hands. But then there wouldn't be much point in running such an ad, would there?

CNN's verdict was soon echoed by other news outlets. The Chicago Tribune called it a "vicious, shameful ad." The New York Daily News called the commercial "sordid" and "sick." Even a Democratic operative whose name you might recognize -- Lanny Davis, formerly a top adviser/apologist for Bill Clinton -- called the ad "disgusting." Soon reporters were peppering the president's spokespeople with questions about the ad, like whether the Obama campaign would distance itself from the super PAC that made it.

President Obama's people responded with a statement which said, roughly, -- and we're paraphrasing here -- "What'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" (To borrow a line from the late philosopher Gary Coleman.)

This non-response from the White House might be summed up as: What, us? We had nothing to do with that commercial. Federal law prevents campaigns from coordinating with super PACs.

To quote an Obama campaign spokeswoman, Jen Psaki: "The president's people don't have any knowledge of the story or the family." On the same day, deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter told CNN: "I don't know the facts about when Mr. Soptic's wife got sick or the facts about his health insurance."

Here's the gist of the Obama operatives' story/cover up: This ad is just the work of some crazy super PAC run amuck. Whaddaya gonna do? We don't know this Joe Soptic guy from Adam.

Except. . . .

Mr. Soptic participated in an Obama campaign conference call back in May, detailing the story he now tells in the commercial. And who presided over that conference call and strategy session? You guessed it: Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager.

According to dispatches, Mr. Soptic also appeared in an Obama campaign commercial about the same time. And he told CNN the Obama organization has asked him to appear at campaign events.

So much for Obama, Inc., knowing nothing about Joe Soptic and the ad he was going to star in.

Presidential politics has always been dirty. But the man in the White House today, the country was told, was going to be different. He was going to be above that sort of thing. He was going to bring hope. And change. He was going to lift our ethical standards. Instead he's lowered them, or at least his campaign has.

So this election year, we get the same-old, same-old. Only dirtier. Get your slickers ready. It promises to be a muddy fall.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
nucanuck said...

Why not talk about big time presidential murder. Bush and Obama have outdone themselves with murderous atrocities in the Middle East for eleven years. And Romney? Well he seems more than ready to commit more of the same, should he be elected.

For our presidents, murder is not so bad, but they need to stay away from sex scandals...that's where the American people really get intolerant.

August 17, 2012 at 12:23 a.m.
EaTn said...

nucanuck....good point. Over a half-million Christians were killed by locals or fled from Iraq once the Americans went in to "liberate" that country.

Many of us may not know Mr. Soptic, but we know friends and neighbors who could replace him. "Swift-boater" pac strategies will be common on tv representing both candidates between now and election. Most voters have already made their choice and are not as gullible to these swift-boat tactics as they were ten years ago.

August 17, 2012 at 6:43 a.m.
conservative said...

Of course Obamination was complicit and I'm sure he knew he would get called on it, but he doesn't care. I have noticed in the last 10 years or so that many politicians don't care about lying as long as they can get a winning majority. This is especially the way it is done in Chicago.

On a national scale I believe this will do more to harm Obamination if the word gets out as this article did and did it very well.

Also, it is clear that Obamination can't run on his record so he feels that he must run against Romney's record even if he has to make one up.

August 17, 2012 at 8:33 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

If one holds Obama responsible for super PAC ads, then one holds Romney responsible too.

August 17, 2012 at 8:48 a.m.
joneses said...

Hussein Obama's whole campaign is based on hate and classless dishonesty. It shows his true colors as a man that lacks integrity. By Hussein Obama not condemning the lie accusing Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney of murder he his putting his name on it. The Hussein Obama campaign has to spread lies, hate and classless attacks as this pathetic fool who occupies the White House lacks leadership qualities and he cannot run on his failed record. If his socialized government take over of the whole country's health care is so good then why is Hussein Obama not touting this as an accomplishment? If his war in Afghanistan is on track to victory then why is he not touting this as an accomplishment? If his adding 6 trillion dollars to the debt is good for the country then why is he not touting this as an accomplishment? All this pathetic fool has to run on is lies.


Bush is not running for president so why would anyone want to talk about him? Now we can talk about Hussein Obama's role in our soldiers being killed in Afghanistan. Did you know more American soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan during the 3.5 years of Hussein Obama than the 8 years of President Bush? Did you know that Hussein Obama has still not laid out an objective for Afghanistan? Do you know when the last time Hussein Obama even mentioned Afghanistan? Why does Hussein Obama continue to support a war he voted against that congress approved by a huge majority? I do not think we speak of Afghanistan enough and the lack of leadership by this inexperienced hateful fool you call a president.

August 17, 2012 at 8:59 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Both parties are guided by the same corporate money and the same corporate objectives. You who think that good or evil falls to one side or another are simply part of the deluded masses. The course the US is on has not wavered for thirty years with alternating shifts in political power.

The arguements about gays, guns, and god are side emotional issues about which we love to fight, but they are distractions from the issues that make or break a nation.

Obama hasn't reversed the Bush mistakes and there is no policy difference between Romney and Obama that will shift the current downward direction of the US. Debt deleveraging has to take place and neither candidate has a plan that deals honestly with that reality because that would negatively impact the big banks.

Vote for whomever you like in 2012, but don't expect a change of course. Course changes will come when Wall Street falls apart, not when we get a new hat in the White House.

August 17, 2012 at 10:45 a.m.
Haiku said...

joneses, could it be because the conflict in Afghanistan has picked up, where when Bush was in office the focus was more on Iraq? Military person, along with civilians, killed in Afghanistan were usually downplayed while the focus was on Iraq. Either way, President Obama inherited Bush and his regime's screw-ups. Bot Iraq and Afghanistan were started under Bush. It's easy to start a war, then gather up all your war toys and run home to Crawford Texas. The difficult part is ending one. You're logic is like the person who would blame the firefighters who attempt to put out the fire the arsonist started. Bus and his regime are the arsonist who lit the fires in the middle east. Even Bush Sr. tried to warn Jr. against his little adventure.

August 17, 2012 at 10:49 a.m.
EaTn said...

Haiku...true. We should never forget that Bush/Cheney took troops out of Afghanistan at a critical time and moved them into a lost Iraq war under false pretenses, with thousands killed and billions of dollars wasted. Had this been leaders from another country we would have them on trial for war crimes.

August 17, 2012 at 11:35 a.m.
joneses said...

Afghanistan is Hussein Obama's war now as he has the power to make it come to an end like he promised. President Bush has no more power over what is now "Obama's War". The blood of most of the American soldiers killed in Afghanistan is now on Obama's hands as more have been killed under Hussein Obama's failed Afghanistan strategy in 3.5 years than under President Bush's 8 years. Hussein Obama is lying and more American soldiers are dying.

August 17, 2012 at 11:52 a.m.
Lr103 said...

joneses ending a war isn't as simple as sending in a few troops, dropping a few bombs all over and everywhere, then deciding "Oh well! Let's pack up and go home now." Even a 4TH grade school history student would know better.

The writer of this story must have search high and low to find such a demonic looking picture of the president to post with piece. He'll likely next do a spin of Rom Rom with wings and sporting a halo. LOL

August 17, 2012 at 12:48 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Awww....poor widdul conservatives got their widdul feelings hurt? There, there, my widdul darlings, here's a sucker. Now go outside and play and try to forget about that awful ad.

These are political ads, you twits. Who in their right mind takes any of those things seriously? Billions of dollars are wasted on those idiot ads and I doubt that anybody is influenced by them in the least. And anybody who is is as much an idiot as the people wasting their money on making them. I tune out each and every one of them. They're like those campaign signs we see littering the landscape before every election. They clump them all together and cancel each other out.

Go find something more important to be offended by - like atheists daring to try stop public prayer in government buildings, or gays having the nerve to want to get married, or rampant, out-of-control VOTER FRAUD!!

Anyway, there's no telling how many ruined lives Romney was responsible for in his time at Bain. The "job creator" was in actuality a job killer, his sole purpose being to turn a tidy profit for those at the top, not save or create jobs where it mattered most. The man might not be a murderer but he is the most morally reprehensible, flip-flopping, spineless hypocrite to enter the presidential race that I have ever seen. And I thought they couldn't get any worse than Bush. Just when you think you've reached the bottom of the cess pool, the GOP finds yet a deeper level of stink and slime.

August 17, 2012 at 12:49 p.m.
joneses said...

Romney saved and created more jobs at Bain than Hussein Obama has while occupying the White House.

August 17, 2012 at 1:18 p.m.
Easy123 said...


Prove it. Oh wait, you can't because it's a complete fabrication.

August 17, 2012 at 1:20 p.m.
joneses said...

So you liberals give credit to Hussein Obama for ending the war in Iraq but say it is difficult for this fool to end the war in Afghanistan? If Hussein Obama had one shred of leadership ability he could fulfill his promise to you by ending the war in Afghanistan. Mayb you need to get Cindy Shehan out of the closet and dust her off so she can start her protest against this liar we have in the White House.

August 17, 2012 at 1:23 p.m.

Your copious silence about Karl Rove's American Crossroads to focus on your own made-up accusations about a Pro-Obama one show the real story.

Why accuse somebody of murder when you can accuse somebody of accusing somebody of murder!

That's got to be even MORE effective.

But you ignore actual ads that were pulled because they were entirely false. Oh no, you're just upset when you can blame in on Obama.

Like I said, start policing yourself.

I dare you.

August 17, 2012 at 1:27 p.m.
Easy123 said...


They were two very different wars, moron. Why didn't you want Bush to the end the war in Afghanistan? Why did you support it in the first place? Bush lied to you about the war in Iraq. Why didn't you call him a liar?

August 17, 2012 at 1:28 p.m.
raygunz said...

Pres. Obama didn't actually "end" the war in Iraq. The U.S. withdrawal was brought about by the Status Of Forces Agreement, negotiated and signed by the Bush cabal(at the INSISTENCE of the Iraqis).The Obama Administration tried mightily to wiggle out of it but no go. Instead,troops were pulled out of that country and are sitting in neighboring countries watching the ongoing bloodshed in Iraq.(Waiting to rush back in when conditions are right?)

The MIC and the war-mongers are still driving this nation.

August 17, 2012 at 2:21 p.m.
EaTn said...

It's amazing the nearsighted leaders of our country. We watched the French bogged down in Vietnam then after their lashing sent in a half million troops at the drop of a hat. Twenty years later we watched the Soviets dragged down in Afghanistan, then we moved in shortly after their exit with a knee-jerk reaction with no real strategy. Then with Iraq, we had no clue about the ethnic and religious fanaticism that had existed there for centuries.

August 17, 2012 at 3:23 p.m.
joneses said...

And all Hussein Obama is doing in Afghanistan is allowing our enemies to kill some of our soldiers and we kill some of theirs with no clear objective or end in sight. What a pathetic excuse for a leader Hussein Obama turned out to be.

August 17, 2012 at 5:13 p.m.
Haiku said...

with no clear objective or end in sight

jonses, the above excerpt from your post proves just how confused you are. You've just described to perfection how Bush Jr and his team handled the invasions of both Iraq and Afghanistan.

No, it doesn't take much to start a war. However, you'd have to darn near start another war to stop one. The war hasn't ended in Iraq. Both civilians and U.S. military are still being blown up in Iraq. The Iraq war has ended only on paper and for future historical reference.

August 17, 2012 at 6:31 p.m.
jazzman said...

joneses said... ( a lot of B.S. )

'Did you know that Hussein Obama has still not laid out an objective for Afghanistan?'

Did you know, that President Barack Obama, at the NATO summit, in America, May 2012, said his plan to withdraw U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 , try to strengthen the Afghan security forces, and the Karzai government as much as possible., would continue.

In 2011 Pres, Barack H. Obama gave a national speech on the Afghanistan plan and objectives.

No surprise, republicans criticized the withdrawal plan. Republicans are good at starting wars but leave the wars for others to clean up.

No surprise,... you are willfully uninformed..... a right-wing tool and liar.,.. or both.

Like Romney and Ryan, you lie loudly, and are easily exposed for those lies.

August 18, 2012 at 3:40 a.m.

Jazzman.... DO you consider this a plan or a political talking point? try to strengthen the Afghan security forces, and the Karzai government as much as possible., would continue And by strenthen do you mean to continue training and arming the tribesman that put on the Afgan uniform then turn their weapons on NATO troops? Is that the plan?

August 18, 2012 at 11:19 a.m.
tderng said...

Haiku said...Both civilians and U.S. military are still being blown up in Iraq. The Iraq war has ended only on paper and for future historical reference.

Ummm,hate to tell you this there buddy but there are NO U.S. troops in Iraq since December 2011.

That's a liberal website in case you're wondering. If you have proof otherwise please post it. BTW,civilians have been being killed in Iraq for decades.Mostly by the government using WMD's.Just ask the Kurds.Whole villages massacred.

August 18, 2012 at 8:34 p.m.

Lesliesmart, except Mitt Romney didn't do anything at those companies except reap the rewards of other's hard work. And don't be fooled, he'd have profited regardless of the success or failure oif those business. That was his operating method. Yet he wants US to credit him.

But it's funny, you seem to think a business exists only for profit. There's a commercial that showed how a child could recognize the folly of that. See there was this bank that made promises, but then restricted them to only certain specific conditions. the child pointed out that it was unfair.

Profit is not the unmitigated good you would have it be.

DJHBrainerd, joneses asked for objectives, not a comprerhernsive recounting of any plans. Those were given.

And if you're not happy with the risks of trusting somebody, try the price of not trusting.

August 18, 2012 at 11:16 p.m.

Happy.... that President Barack Obama, at the NATO summit, in America, May 2012, said his PLAN to withdraw U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 , try to strengthen the Afghan security forces, and the Karzai government as much as possible., would continue..... Do you really want to split hairs on the semantics or would you like to respond to my question that was posed to Jazzman? Do you consider this a plan/objective or a political talking point? And since you asked I'd like to know why we should trust a barbaric society to have our best interests at heart when we have already stated we will leave at the end of 2014? Do you remember helicopers over Siagon? Same plan/objective different generation. Wait till 2015 when the people who did trust us are left to govern themselves. Or do you remember what happened when the Soviets left? Something called the taliban overran the puppet government of the 80's and set up an Islamic state. So I guess the plan/objective should be just trust that they have become civilized and want to be like us and keep giving them weapons and training them and maybe it will be different this time.

August 19, 2012 at 4 a.m.
jazzman said...


re: 'a plan or a political talking point?'

sure it's a plan, you may not like it,..Afghans who murder US forces object to the plan,.. and part of the 'plan' is Obama getting the US out of there,.. I think he should have been doing it much sooner., as it's difficult to establish a western style democracy in a country that's never had one.

re: 'remember helicopers over Siagon?

No need to look that far back...GW Bush & Co had a 'plan' for Iraq

There is a tragic irony about the Soviets in Afghanistan, and the US there. The US armed and supported Taliban fighting against the Russians., the US is fighting the Taliban to this day.

Amazing to consider that wo of the world superpowers have been fighting the same group since the 1980's, there should be a lesson there for those who still might advocate similar wars.

August 20, 2012 at 4:10 a.m.

I agree Jazzman we should be packing up and heading out as fast as possible but I think the strategy is to have forces on both sides of Iran so when the time comes we cams squeeze them from both land and sea. You also make a good point about 2 superpowers going bankrupt trying to tame barbarians in a desert. Why do we need 100k troop to chase a few hundred terrorists? No matter when we leave weather it is sooner or later I fear the same thing will happen. All the Taliban waiting for us to leave in Pakistan will return. The corrupt puppet government will fall and the savages will kill any who help us along the way,same as Siagon same with the soviets and happening today in Iraq. Lives/treasure lost nothing gained. And it is ironic that we are fighting the very people we trained to fight the soviets. As far as W I don't believe there ever was a plan For Iraq or Afganistan. I think it was blow em up and sort out the mess later. War Inc. But as we say in golf, We have already played that hole, now we are on this one.

August 20, 2012 at 1:26 p.m.
jazzman said...


re: 'strategy is to have forces on both sides of Iran so when the time comes we cams squeeze them from both land and sea. '

a fair observation, but I think that should hostilities break out between the 'allies' ( read US ) and Iran, most of that initial 'contest' will happen via cruise, stealth, and drones., as with Iraq, there will be a great amount of damage inflicted within 24 to 36 hours, ..shipping in the gulf and missiles towards Israel and others will be a big consideration defensively......

re: 'Lives/treasure lost nothing gained'

a tragic but true fact, which is why armed conflict should always be the very last resort

August 21, 2012 at 1:25 a.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.