Joe Soptic, the star of a new Priorities USA Action ad attacking Mitt Romney and a former employee of GST Steel, implies that Romney killed his wife — but it’s not the first charge he’s leveled at the presumptive Republican nominee.
Soptic was featured in the controversial ad aired by the Obama campaign in May that called Romney a “vampire” — a charge that drew condemnation from Democrats, including Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
Soptic has also participated on at least one conference call for the Obama campaign, before taping spots for the officially sanctioned pro-Obama super PAC.
The longstanding relationship with Soptic strains the Obama campaign’s evasiveness on the Priorities ad, in which aides have said they can’t comment on it because they are unfamiliar with the facts. It also tests the fuzzy lines between super PACs and their affiliated, but technically uncoordinated, campaigns.
CNN fact-checked the Priorities ad and found it to be misleading — as Soptic’s wife had insurance of her own and his policy was only secondary.
It’s common practice for campaigns to vet the individuals they are putting on air — and they would presumably be familiar with the veracity of Soptic’s latest claim. And the current furor over his claim is a mark of how, while SuperPACs are required to operate independently, candidates are typically forced to answer for their ads and statements.
UPDATE: Soptic was also featured on the Obama campaign website: