Barack Obama has his former vice president’s back, despite not endorsing anyone in the Democratic primary.
With just days to go before the South Carolina primary Saturday, Obama is demanding that TV stations in the state pull an ad targeting Joe Biden from a pro-Trump super PAC that takes his words out of context.
According to the Washington Post Wednesday, pro-Trump super PAC The Committee to Defend the President reported to the Federal Election Commission Tuesday that it is spending more than $250,000 in South Carolina in efforts to target Biden’s campaign.
The super PAC’s ad released Tuesday misleadingly uses Obama’s words from the narration of his own book to describe Biden.
In a statement shared with TPM Wednesday afternoon, Obama’s communications director Katie Hill called the super PAC’s ads “despicable” and “straight out of the Republican disinformation playbook.”
“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,” Hill said in the statement. “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.”
Hill also said in the statement that Obama “has several friends in this race” — which of course includes Biden — and that despite having no plans to endorse in the Democratic presidential primary, “he believes that in order for Democrats to be successful this fall, voters must choose their nominee.”
Hill added in the statement to TPM Wednesday that a cease and desist letter was imminent from Obama’s law firm Perkins Coie to the super PAC.
Read the cease and desist letter below:
Hill also flagged to TPM that this is similar to when pro-Trump non-profit group Great America Alliance ran attack ads in 2017 targeting former FBI Director James Comey during his testimony, which used quotes from Obama’s autobiographical book “Dreams From My Father.”
Earlier Wednesday, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) announced his endorsement of Biden in an emotional speech.
TPM reached out to Biden’s campaign, Clyburn and The Committee to Defend the President for comment. We will update this post if we hear back.