Barack Obama is objecting to an ad from a pro-Trump political action committee that the former president claims misuses his words.
The 30-second ad is sponsored by the Committee to Defend the President and is entitled, “South Carolina, Joe Biden Can’t Be Trusted.”
The ad referenced Biden’s connection with known segregationists, his support for the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that has been attacked for leading to mass incarceration of minorities, and a comment he made about how black parents should put “the record player on at night” to help children learn.
“Joe Biden promised to help our community. It was a lie. Here’s President Obama,” the ad’s narrator says.
But it is the voice-over from Obama reading a piece of his 1995 memoir, “Dreams from My Father,” that has the former president’s camp livid.
“Plantation politics, black people in the worst jobs, the worst housing, police brutality rampant. But, when the so-called black committeemen came around election time, we’d all line up and vote the straight Democratic ticket, sell our souls for a Christmas turkey,” Obama says.
“Joe Biden won’t represent us, defend us, or help us. Don’t believe Biden’s empty promises,” the ad’s narrator concludes.
The Obama camp fired back.
“This despicable ad is straight out of the Republican disinformation playbook, and it’s clearly designed to suppress turnout among minority voters in South Carolina by taking President Obama’s voice out of context and twisting his words to mislead viewers,” Katie Hill, Obama’s communications director, said in a statement, according to The Washington Post.
“In the interest of truth in advertising, we are calling on TV stations to take this ad down and stop playing into the hands of bad actors who seek to sow division and confusion among the electorate.”
Ted Harvey, chairman of the Committee to Defend the President, said there is nothing wrong with the ad.
“It took President Trump to lower black unemployment and create jobs for the African-American community, in addition to passing criminal justice reform,” Harvey said in a statement.
“Joe Biden, on the other hand, is simply giving lip-service for votes. That’s the point President Obama made in his book, and we have every right to use his own words — in his own voice — in the political forum,” he said.
Patchen M. Haggerty, a lawyer for Obama, wrote the pro-Trump group on Wednesday demanding it “immediately remove” the ad.
The use of Obama’s “name, image, likeness, voice and book passage is clearly intended to mislead the target audience of the ad into believing that the passage from the audiobook is a statement that was made by President Obama during his presidency,” Haggerty wrote.
Biden’s campaign also complained about the ad.
“Donald Trump and his allies are absolutely terrified that Joe Biden will defeat him in November,” Andrew Bates, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, told The Post.
“Trump even got himself impeached by trying to force another country to lie about the vice president,” he said.
“This latest intervention in the Democratic primary is one of the most desperate yet, a despicable torrent of misinformation by the president’s lackeys.”
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