Obama Super PAC Claims “Station Error” For Controversial Ad Hitting Airwaves

A spokesperson for Priorities USA says the ad, “Understands,” is not authorized to run, but confirms it aired in Ohio on Tuesday.

The Obama-sanctions super PAC Priorities USA blames “station error” for the airing of its controversial ad “Understands” in Ohio on Tuesday.

The ad, which features former GST Steel employee Joe Soptic blaming Mitt Romney for the death of his wife after he lost his insurance when he was laid off from the from the Bain-owned company, aired in Cleveland — the first airing since it was released online last week.

The ad has been widely criticized and debunked by fact-checkers — Soptic’s wife had her own insurance at the time, and only used her husband’s coverage secondarily.

Priorities has contracted with at least one Ohio affiliate (WOIO, with contract below) to run 60-second ads, but the group says “Understands” should not have run in the state and that the contract is for the ad “Stage.” The ad mistakenly aired on WEWS, the Cleveland ABC affiliate, according to an ad tracking source.

“The only 60 second spot authorized to run in Ohio right now is ‘Stage,’” a spokesperson said, referring to an ad the group released in June.

“When we launched ‘Understands’ last week, we shipped it to stations in FL,
OH, VA, PA and IA,” the spokesperson added. “But as of right now, the ad is only running online in those states.

The spokesperson would not comment on whether the ad would eventually run on TV, but noted that “Stage” was released online three weeks before it hit the airwaves.

The Romney campaign has vigorously attacked the Obama campaign over the ad, calling on them to repudiate the allied group’s effort. Obama aides at first claimed not to know of Soptic’s claims, then sought to minimize the ad, saying it was only airing online. Romney aides are planning to resurrect the issue on Wednesday now that it mistakenly aired on TV.

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