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Obama's "Ugly" Campaign

- August 22, 2012


In 2008, Obama Told Las Vegas An “Ugly” Campaign Is “Aimed At Stopping Change”

While Campaigning In Las Vegas In 2008, Obama Said: “The Ugly Phone Calls, The Misleading Mail And TV Ads, The Careless, Outrageous Comments, All Aimed At Keeping Us From Working Together, All Aimed At Stopping Change.” OBAMA: “One thing we know is that change never comes without a fight. In the final days of campaigns, things can get ugly sometimes. The ‘say anything, do nothing, do anything’ politics often takes over. We've seen it before, we're seeing it now. The ugly phone calls, the misleading mail and TV ads, the careless, outrageous comments, all aimed at keeping us from working together, all aimed at stopping change. Well, you know what? This is not what we need right now. The American people don't want to hear politicians attack each other. You want to hear about how we're going to attack the challenges facing the middle class all over the country.” (Senator Barack Obama, Remarks At A Campaign Event In Las Vegas, 10/25/08)


Obama Refuses To Denounce A “Disgusting” Ad Produced By The Super PAC Supporting His Candidacy

This Week, Obama Refused To Acknowledge That An Ad Produced By His “Top Super PAC” Was “Out Of Bounds.” QUESTION: “Well, why not send a message to the top super PAC that's supporting you and say, I think an ad like that is out of bounds? We shouldn’t be suggesting that--” OBAMA: “So let's take that particular issue, as opposed to -- because you lumped in a whole bunch of other stuff that I think was entirely legitimate. I don't think that Governor Romney is somehow responsible for the death of the woman that was portrayed in that ad. But keep in mind this is an ad that I didn’t approve, I did not produce, and as far as I can tell, has barely run. I think it ran once.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks By The President To The White House Press Corps, Washington, DC 8/20/12)

Priorities USA Designed An Ad Featuring A Former Steelworker Who “Appears To Blame Romney For the Death Of His Wife.” “Joe Soptic, a former steelworker, makes yet another appearance in a pro-Obama ad, this time for the Super PAC Priorities USA Action. We have examined this case before, and for the benefit of readers we repeat our main points from an earlier column that awarded the Obama campaign One Pinocchio for the use of this case study against presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney. Most controversially, Soptic this time appears to blame Romney for the death of his wife after he lost his health insurance when the steel plant closed.” (Glen Kessler, “New Anti-Romney Ad: Same Steelworker, Tougher Message,” The Washington Post’s “The Fact Checker,” 8/7/12)

While Team Obama Insists It’s Not “Familiar” With The Story Of Priorities USA Star Joe Soptic, All They Have To Do Is “Check Their Own Campaign Archives.” “When President Obama’s aides said they weren’t familiar with former Missouri steelworker Joe Soptic’s life story, all they had to do was check their own campaign archives. Soptic, laid off from Bain Capital-owned GST Steel, stars in a Priorities USA Action spot this week in which he tells of how his wife died without health insurance after he lost his job.” (Reid J. Epstein, “Team Obama Says They Don’t Know Story Of Man Who Stars Of Its TV Ad, Conference Call,” Politico, 8/8/12)

Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter Hosted A Call With Soptic In May. “But Cutter hosted an Obama campaign conference call in May in which Soptic told reporters the very story featured in the Priorities spot.” (Reid J. Epstein, “Team Obama Says They Don’t Know Story Of Man Who Stars Of Its TV Ad, Conference Call,” Politico, 8/8/12)

  • “On The May 14 Obama Campaign Call, Soptic Detailed His Wife's Illness And Death.” (Reid J. Epstein, “Team Obama Says They Don’t Know Story Of Man Who Stars Of Its TV Ad, Conference Call,”Politico, 8/8/12)
  • Cutter: Thank You, Joe. We Really Appreciate You And David Sharing Your Experiences.” (Obama For America, Press Call, 5/14/12)
  • On Its Website, The Obama Campaign Describes Joe Soptic As A Former GST Steelworker “Whose Wife Died Of Lung Cancer After He Lost His GST Health Plan.” (Obama For America, Accessed 8/19/12)
  • CNN: “Ad Linking Romney To Death Of The Wife Of A Laid Off Steelworker Inaccurate.” (Brianna Keller, “Ad Linking Romney To Death Of The Wife Of A Laid Off Steelworker Inaccurate.”CNN, 8/7/12)

Obama Pleaded Ignorance To His Deputy Campaign Manager’s Charge That Romney Committed A Felony

This Week, Obama Said That Nobody In His Campaign “Accused” Governor Romney Of “Being A Felon” In Defense Of The Tone Of His Campaign. QUESTION: “Yes, Mr. President, thank you. As you know, your opponent recently accused you of waging a campaign filled with ‘anger and hate.’ And you told Entertainment Tonight that anyone who attends your rallies can see that they’re not angry- or hate-filled affairs. But in recent weeks, your campaign has suggested repeatedly, without proof, that Mr. Romney might be hiding something in his tax returns. They have suggested that Mr. Romney might be a felon for the way that he handed over power of Bain Capital. And your campaign and the White House have declined to condemn an ad by one of your top supporters that links Mr. Romney to a woman's death from cancer. Are you comfortable with the tone that's being set by your campaign? Have you asked them to change their tone when it comes to defining Mr. Romney?” OBAMA: “Well, first of all, I'm not sure all those characterizations that you laid out there were accurate. For example, nobody accused Mr. Romney of being a felon.”(President Barack Obama, Remarks By The President To The White House Press Corps, Washington, DC, 8/20/12)

  • Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter Insinuated That Gov. Mitt Romney Committed A “Felony.” “Deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter laid out the issue as the Obama team sees it: ‘Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony.’ ‘Or,’ she said, ‘he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments,’ including layoffs and the outsourcing of jobs.” (Obama Team: Romney Committed A Felony Or Lied To Voters,” Politico, 7/12/22)

CBS’s Norah O’Donnell: “This Is A Question Obama Has To Answer For, Which Is About The Tone Of The Campaign.” “Why not denounce this and say it should never have been on the air? I thought it was noteworthy that the president knew that it had only aired just once. That’s how he knows the level of detail, even though it is not his campaign that is running this ad. Look, this is a question that Obama has to answer for, which is about the tone of the campaign. Many believed Obama was about hope and change in 2008, but it is true, he ran a very negative campaign in 2008 as well.” (CBS’s “ This Morning,” 8/21/12)


In His Reelection Campaign, “Obama Heads Up A Seek-And-Destroy Effort.” “But that was sooooo 2004. Specifically, that was so soooo Barack Obama in 2004, when the little-known state Senator from Illinois made these inspiring comments at the Democratic National Convention. Four years after that, Obama waged his juggernaut of a hope-and-change campaign. Now he heads up a seek-and-destroy effort. That means TV viewers in battleground states like Florida will face a lot more negative messaging from both sides than in 2008.” (Marc Caputo, “Obama Borrows Campaign Tactics From Bush,”The Miami Herald, 7/29/12)

  • The Democrat Who Once Pledged To Usher In A More Civilized Political Era Has Turned To Highly Critical Commercials.” “To win a second term, the Democrat who once pledged to usher in a more civilized political era has turned to highly critical commercials - at turns personal and snarky - to go toe to toe with Romney in a campaign noteworthy for its negativity and intensity.” (Beth Fouhy, “Obama Negative Ads Could Hurt Personal Popularity,” The Associated Press, 7/24/12)

Democrat Pollsters Pat Caddell And Doug Schoen: Obama Can Only Win By Running “The Most Negative Campaign In History.” “Put simply, it seems that the White House has concluded that if the president cannot run on his record, he will need to wage the most negative campaign in history to stand any chance. With his job approval ratings below 45% overall and below 40% on the economy, the president cannot affirmatively make the case that voters are better off now than they were four years ago. He—like everyone else—knows that they are worse off.” (Patrick H. Caddell and Douglas E. Schoen, “The Hillary Moment,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/21/11)

  • CBS News/Slate’s John Dickerson: “If Barack Obama Wins This Election, He’s Going To Win Ugly.” “If Barack Obama wins this election, he's going to win ugly. Job creation is anemic, voters think the country is going in the wrong direction, and the president has been unable to convince them otherwise.” (John Dickerson, “Obama Winning Ugly,” Slate, 7/16/12)
  • Obama Relies On “Going Negative,” Which Is “Very Different From The Formula” He Used In 2008. ““Obama and his advisers fell back on the timeless method that has essentially become the default option for presidential reelection campaigns, despite his promises to change the process. They prefer to talk euphemistically about ‘drawing the contrast,’ but everyone else calls it going negative. This was something very different from the formula that elected the country’s first African-American president, but it would have to do.” (Glenn Thrush, Obama’s Last Stand, 2012)
  • MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: “When Presidents Attack Challenges They Look Scared By Definition, Anyway, Because They Should Run On Their Records.” (MSNBC’s “The Chris Matthews Show,” 4/22/12)

Obama Did Not Have Reservations About The “Kill Romney” Strategy And “Personally Signed Off On All Of His Campaign’s Paid Advertising.” “If the outside world found that approach jarring, Obama didn’t. In interviews with two dozen current and former Obama advisers, not one said he expressed reservations— at least in the beginning— about the ‘kill Romney’ strategy, and he personally signed off on all of his campaign’s paid advertising, although he often toned down the very harshest attacks.” (Glenn Thrush, Obama’s Last Stand, 2012)

  • Democrat Strategist: “Unless Things Change And Obama Can Run On Accomplishments, He Will Have To Kill Romney.” “‘Unless things change and Obama can run on accomplishments, he will have to kill Romney,’ said a prominent Democratic strategist aligned with the White House. The strategy came down to proving Romney was unfit to govern, a phony, and ‘weird.’” (Glenn Thrush, Obama’s Last Stand, 2012)


Southern Nevada’s Unemployment Won’t Recover Until 2017

Since Obama Took Office, The Unemployment Rate In Las Vegas-Paradise, NV Has Increased From 9.8 Percent To 12.1 Percent. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 8/18/12)

Since Obama Took Office, Las Vegas-Paradise, NV Has Lost 48,400 Jobs. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 8/18/12)

  • The Bureau Of Labor Statistics Reported That The Las Vegas Metro Area Experienced “The Largest Unemployment Rate Decline From June 2011” Due To A Rapidly Shrinking Labor Force. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week that year-on-year the Las Vegas metro area experienced "the largest unemployment rate decline from June 2011 (-2.3 percentage points)." That turns out, however, not to be driven by a surge in Vegas employment. Instead the size of the Las Vegas labor force is shrinking rapidly, as seen above.” (Matthew Yglesias, “The Shrinking Las Vegas Labor Force,” Slate’s Money Box, 8/6/12)

Unemployment In Southern Nevada Won’t Recover To A Natural Rate Of 5.6 Percent Until 2017. “Brown said unemployment in Southern Nevada wouldn't recover to a natural rate of 5.6 percent, or full employment, until 2017.” (Chris Sieroty, “Las Vegas Recovery Remains Muted, Analyst Says,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 5/31/12)

  • Southern Nevada’s Economy Is Only Experiencing A “Modest” Recovery. “Southern Nevada's economy continues its modest recovering from the recession as its two largest industries, tourism and gaming, remain the driving force behind the region's economic growth, according to an economist with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.” (Chris Sieroty, “Las Vegas Recovery Remains Muted, Analyst Says,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 5/31/12)

According To Stephen Brown, A Professor Of Economics AT UNLV, Real Estate And Unemployment Will Continue To Slow Down The Region’s Recovery . “Stephen Brown, professor of economics and director of UNLV's Center for Business & Economic Research, said Wednesday that real estate and unemployment, two sectors battered by the recession, would continue to slow down the region's recovery.” (Chris Sieroty, “Las Vegas Recovery Remains Muted, Analyst Says,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 5/31/12)

Obama Encouraged People To Avoid Las Vegas

In 2009, Obama Said: “You Can’t Take A Trip To Las Vegas Or Down To The Super Bowl On The Taxpayers’ Dime.” “On Monday during a question-and-answer session in Elkhart, Ind., Obama criticized bankers from Wells Fargo, which accepted $25 billion in taxpayer money, for planning a 12-day event at Wynn Las Vegas. ‘You can’t take a trip to Las Vegas or down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers’ dime,’ Obama said.” (Benjamin Spillman, “Politicians, Businesspeople Respond To Obama Comment,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 2/11/09)

  • Karen Gordon, President Of The Destination Management Company Activity Planners In Las Vegas: We’ve Had About Six Major Groups Cancel. … Las Vegas And The Entire Meeting And Incentive Industry Is Being Unfairly Portrayed In A Negative Light.” (Benjamin Spillman, “Politicians, Businesspeople Respond To Obama Comment,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 2/11/09)

In 2010, Obama Said “You Don’t Blow A Bunch Of Cash In Vegas When You’re Trying To Save For College.” OBAMA: “Responsible families don’t do their budgets the way the federal government does. Right? When times are tough, you tighten your belts. You don’t go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices. It’s time your government did the same.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks At A Town Hall Meeting In Nashua, New Hampshire, The White House, 2/2/10)

Gambling Revenue In Las Vegas Is Down Significantly From Five Years Ago. “While the visitor count is up, gambling revenue is down significantly from five years ago. The national economy will need to expand further before gambling revenues rebound, Brown told attendees of the Midyear Economic Outlook, a twice-yearly forecasting event held at The Venetian.” (Chris Sieroty, “Las Vegas Recovery Remains Muted, Analyst Says,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 5/31/12)

  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV): “The President Needs To Lay Off Las Vegas And Stop Making It The Poster Child For Where People Shouldn’t Be Spending Their Money.” REID: “I just spoke to the White House and told them that while the president is correct that people saving for college need to be fiscally responsible, the president needs to lay off Las Vegas and stop making it the poster child for where people shouldn’t be spending their money. … To truly reenergize our economy, we need people to travel to Las Vegas. I would much rather tourists and business travelers spend their money in Las Vegas than spend it overseas.” (“Obama Responds To Harry Reid Criticism,” Las Vegas Sun, 2/2/10)

Obama’s Housing Policies Are Hurting Las Vegas

Las Vegas Had The 9th Highest Foreclosure Rate Among Metropolitan Areas In The First Half Of 2012, As 2.04 Percent Of Housing Units Had A Foreclosure Filing. “Other metro areas with foreclosure rates in the top 10 were Phoenix at No. 7 (2.08 percent of housing units with a foreclosure filing), Bakersfield, Calif., at No. 8 (2.07 percent), Las Vegas at No. 9 (2.04 percent), and Visalia-Porterville, Calif., at No. 10 (2.03 percent).” (Press Release, “59 Percent Of U.S. Metros Post Increase Higher Foreclosure Activity In First Half Of 2012,” RealtyTrac, 7/26/12)

  • “[L]as Vegas In Particular Has More Foreclosures Than Any City In The Country -- One Out Of Every 150 Homes Are In Foreclosure; Two Out Of Every Three Are Underwater.” (Dana Bash and Deirdre Walsh, “No Silver Lining In Housing Market As Nevada Votes,” CNN, 2/3/12)
  • In 2011, Las Vegas Posted “The Nation’s Top Foreclosure Rate” Among Metropolitan Areas. “With 7.38 percent of its housing units (one in 14) with at least one foreclosure filing in 2011, Las Vegas posted the nation’s top foreclosure rate for the year among metropolitan statistical areas with a population of 200,000 or more.” (RealtyTrac, “2011 Year-End Foreclosure Market Report: Foreclosures On The Retreat,” Press Release, 1/12/12)

Overall, 71 Percent Of Homeowners In Las Vegas Have Mortgages With Negative Equity In The First Quarter Of 2012. (Press Release, “Despite Home Value Gains, Underwater Homeowners Owe $1.2 Trillion More Than Homes’ Worth,” Zillow, 5/24/12)

  • In The Las Vegas Metro Area, Nearly 90,000 Or 26.8 Percent Of Homeowners With Mortgages Owe At Least Double What Their Home Is Worth In The First Quarter Of 2012. “However, about 2.4 million, or 4.7 percent of all homeowners with mortgages owe more than double what their home is worth. In the Las Vegas metro area, nearly 90,000, or 26.8 percent of homeowners with mortgages owe double.” (Press Release, “Despite Home Value Gains, Underwater Homeowners Owe $1.2 Trillion More Than Homes’ Worth,” Zillow, 5/24/12)

Federal Formulas Leave Las Vegas Homeless Helpless. “Homeless numbers in greater Las Vegas have topped 13,000, with the recession leaving people jobless, then pushing parents and children out of their homes and onto the street. It’s happening all around the country, but the human toll here could be compounded because federal formulas lead to uneven homeless funding, giving cities such as Pittsburgh more than $10,000 to serve each homeless person while the Las Vegas area receives about $500 per individual. Southern Nevada has 2 percent of the country’s homeless, but gets just 0.4 percent of $1.7 billion in funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.” (Joe Schoenmann, “Las Vegas Shortchanged In Federal Funding For Homeless,” Las Vegas Sun, 8/18/10)

  • “The Number Of Southern Nevadans Helped By Federal Mortgage Relief Programs Has Been Minimal.” “Considering the 269,560 mortgaged residences in the Las Vegas metro area that were underwater as of June, according to real estate analytics firm CoreLogic of Santa Ana, Calif., the number of Southern Nevadans helped by federal mortgage relief programs has been minimal.” (Steve Kanhigher, “Federal Housing Program Fails To Help Most Underwater Homeowners,” KLAS [Las Vegas, NV], 11/16/11)
  • The Las Vegas Constable’s Office Performs Nearly 300 Evictions A Day. “Foreclosures are forcing people out of their homes and onto the streets. The Las Vegas Constable’s Office has the dirty job of kicking people out. They do nearly 300 evictions a day -- the most in the city’s history. This is the human side of the foreclosure crisis. What the deputy constables see everyday is not a financial statement but a family’s life packed up in boxes and trash bags being forced out.” (Calvert Collins, “Nearly 300 Evictions Take Place Daily In Las Vegas Valley,” KLAS [Las Vegas, NV], 11/16/11)

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