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Obama campaign denies knowing story of man in Super PAC cancer ad but hosted May conference call during which he told them the same story

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By Doug Powers  •  August 8, 2012 05:05 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

They’re either lying or have very short memories. You decide:

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. Soptic also appeared, wearing what appears to be an identical shirt, in a May television ad for the Obama campaign.

Asked about the Priorities spot on MSNBC Wednesday morning, Robert Gibbs said he doesn’t “know the specifics” while Stephanie Cutter said on CNN: “I don’t know the facts about when Mr. Soptic’s wife got sick or the facts about his health insurance.”

And Jen Psaki told reporters on Air Force One that “we don’t have any knowledge of the story of the family,” according to Yahoo! News.

But Cutter hosted an Obama campaign conference call in May in which Soptic told reporters the very story featured in the Priorities spot.

Both the campaign and the Priorities USA Action said there was no coordination about Soptic’s appearances. In the campaign’s ad, Soptic speaks only about the plant. In the Priorities spot, he tells the personal story he relayed during the Obama campaign conference call.

“We have no idea when Priorities shot their spot,” an Obama campaign official said. “We’re not allowed to coordinate with them – but we can tell you it wasn’t when we shot ours.”

It appears Mr. Soptic will be encouraged to be “unavailable for comment” for quite some time — possibly at least until November 7th:

Soptic did not return phone calls left Wednesday at his home in Independence, Mo. Burton said he could not make Soptic available.

“We spoke today and he said he didn’t want to do anymore interviews,” Burton said. “He felt like his story was out there and it was being told.”

Here are both ads for which the campaign seems to be pleading “same shirt, different day.” First, the earlier “Romney killed my job” ad from the Obama campaign:

And the later “Romney killed my wife” ad from the pro-Obama Super PAC:

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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