Carney Dodges On Cancer Ad: "We Don’t Control Third Party Ads"
White House press secretary Jay Carney is hammered by FOX News' Ed Henry and NBC's Chuck Todd on the Obama campaign's connection to Priorities USA when it comes to the man who appeared in the Super PAC's ad that attempted to link Mitt Romney to cancer.
Carney repeatedly refused to address the advertisement in which the man who was laid off at a steel plant attempts to tie Mitt Romney to the death of his wife. His wife died of cancer nearly 5 years after Bain Capital closed the plant.
"We do not control third party ads," Mr. Carney repeatedly said when asked if President Obama would condemn the Priorities USA ad.
Yet, Carney continued to comment on Mitt Romney's ad on welfare reform as well as refer to an obscure Super PAC that asks for Obama's birth certificate.
"We do not control the ad. You can make an assessment that is not for me to do," Carney also said at Friday's briefing.
However, several high profile White House advisers and administration officials have fundraised for Priorities USA. In addition, the Super PAC is run by Bill Burton, a former senior White House communications official. Portion of transcript below.
Toward the end of the above clip, RCP's Alexis Simendinger asks if President Obama thinks Americans know the difference between a Super PAC ad and an advertisement from a political candidate.
CHUCK TODD: You keep trying to refer to it as an outside group. This is a group that David Plouffe has raised money for. David Plouffe works in the West Wing. This is a group that the campaign has asked t come to the cabinet to help raise money. This isnÂ't just some third party group. So, you do have standing. How do you not have standing when you speak out about this?
JAY CARNEY: Again, as a matter of, as I understand it, the law, we have no control over what third-party groups
TODD: The law says you canÂ't condemn an ad?
CARNEY: Again, I think IÂ've made my point, and IÂ'm looking forward to the press conference for my counterpart where the
TODD: You stood on that podium and asked -- You made this general request, you say to the Romney campaign: Mitt Romney ought to distance himself, whether itÂ's a Donald Trump thing, whether it was Mr. Ricketts. So youÂ've actually made those same requests, so, if you believe that they either stand by it or donÂ't stand by it, how are you not held to the same standard?
CARNEY: I think the campaign, and this is entirely a campaign issue, has answered these questions, and I would refer you to them for more.
TODD: YouÂ've gone after the campaignÂ
CARNEY: Again, millions of dollars spent by the other campaign running ads across the country blatantly misrepresenting the PresidentÂ's policy on an issue.
TODD: On that, you will speak for the campaign?
CARNEY: ItÂ's not a policy, and I take issue, as someone who speaks for, defends, and explains the PresidentÂ's policies, with that representation of it. What IÂ'm not going to do is become a judge, an assessor, of every third-party ad thatÂ's out there. Again, just the other day, there was an ad broadcast with real money. Paid for by some group out there, some conservative group, questioning the PresidentÂ's citizenship.
REPORTER: On something else, Governor Romney said yesterday that heÂ'd love to have a pledge or some kind of agreement on negative ads. On personal, negative attack ads. Would you, or the President, be open to something like that?
CARNEY: I would only point to, I saw some of his commentsÂ
ItÂ's as if his campaign hadnÂ't been, as its principle effort right now, running an ad that has been judged across the board as false. By fact-checkers, by Republicans, by Bill Clinton, the author of welfare reform. I find it interesting that he would make that [statement]. But, in terms of campaign pledges, I would refer you to the campaign.