In a week so devoid of any real political election news that the Washington Post called it “The lamest week of the 2012 campaign,” you might think that it would be hard to pick winners and losers in the field of politics. Not so, my dear reader.
First, President Obama is taking it on the chin politically for anti-Romney ads that have just been produced by PAC’s supporting the president. Pro-Democratic Super PAC Priorities USA Action created an ad that features Joe Soptic, a former employee of GST Steel, a company run by Mitt Romney. Soptic insinuates that when the company closed in 2001, the loss of health insurance that he and his wife had through the corporation lead to the death of his spouse from cancer five years later. Soptic states in the ad that he does not believe that Romney understands what he did by closing the plant and is unconcerned with the consequences of his actions.
However, Mitt Romney sold the company before it went bankrupt, and according to CNN, the couple did have periods where they had health insurance in the five years before her unfortunate death. It is an ad which loses a lot of its punch by stretching the truth, and has made the president look bad as a result. It is dangerous enough to be playing the cancer (or nuclear war) card in political ads without making sure everything you are claiming is factual and reasonable. Obama’s re-election officials have gone on record stating that they believe the ad to be fair play, since Romney headed Bain Capital at the time that GST Steel was acquired. Although the Obama campaign denies having any advance knowledge of the ad, the story was discussed in May during a campaign phone call with the president’s re-election team. Even Obama’s hometown Chicago Tribune made the case on its editorial page that the president should denounce the ad, rather than trying to sidestep the issue. This makes President Obama my choice for political loser of the week.
Illinois Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. (D) has just announced that he will be running for re-election in November, after a bout with severe depression and gastrointestinal issues which forced him to take a leave of office in June, from which he still has not returned. The son of Reverend Jesse Jackson, he is a nine-term Congressman from Illinois’ 2nd Congressional district who has served in the House of Representatives since 1995. In 2008, Representative Jackson (pictured) delivered a prime-time speech at the Democratic National Convention, calling on memories of Martin Luther King., Jr. Although Jesse Jackson Jr., has been tied in with the Rod Blagojevich corruption scandal, to be able to fight back against the depression which brought him to the Mayo Clinic and have the strength to once again go out on the campaign trail is worth making Jesse Jackson Jr. my selection for political winner of the week.
(Photo: U.S. House of Representatives)