So Republicans are responding to the new Priorities USA ad featuring Bain layoff victim Joe Soptic, who lost his job and health insurance in 2001 and whose wife died of cancer in 2006, with a new web video focusing almost entirely on the question of whether or not Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter was correct when she said she didn't know exactly when Soptic's wife passed way.
But what I can understand is why they don't want to deal with the issue raised by the Priorities USA ad: Mitt Romney's lack of concern for people like Joe Soptic. Romney made millions on the deal involving Soptic's company, but Soptic was left holding the bag: out of a job and without health insurance. Within five years, his wife—who herself had lost health insurance from another job—died of cancer.
Nobody can say for sure if Soptic's life would have been saved if she'd had health insurance. But one thing we do know is that if Obamacare had been in effect when Soptic was laid off, she would have had health insurance and access to to the health care that might have saved her life. In fact, Romney's campaign tried to defend itself yesterday by saying basically the same thing, arguing that if Soptic had been in Massachusetts, Romneycare would have provided coverage.
That would have been a good argument to make, but Mitt Romney has now abandoned Romneycare. If he gets his way, Obamacare will be repealed, jeopardizing the health security of families just like Joe Soptic's. Romney once supported taking Romneycare national, but when it became politically inconvenient, he flip-flopped to save his own skin. And that's what Mitt Romney has always been about: ruthlessly putting himself first. That's why Joe Soptic got the raw end of the deal when Mitt Romney was CEO and sole owner of Bain Capital. That's why Mitt Romney made millions even when his investments went bankrupt, putting employees out of work, destroying their retirement funds, and kicking them off insurance. That's why Mitt Romney has never made a promise he wouldn't break for the right price. And that's why Mitt Romney is not what this country needs as president.
Republicans want to dismiss Soptic's story as being the equivalent of an accusation of murder. But that's not what it is. It is, however, an accusation of callousness. The central point of the ad is that Mitt Romney put his own interests ahead of others, a pattern that we see continued to this very day with Romney's abandonment of his signature policy achievement, Romneycare. The fact that Republicans refuse to defend Romney on the merits and instead try to shift the debate into hyperbole and irrelevancy speaks volumes about just how weak Romney's position is on this very point, and Democrats can't afford to walk away from this fight.