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USOC, IOC ban pro-Obama ad from using Opening Ceremony footage to attack Mitt Romney

Priorities USA Action

Priorities USA Action


LONDON – Both the International and United States Olympic Committees moved swiftly Thursday against a pro-President Obama Super-Political Action Committee that had created an advertisement using Olympic footage to blast Mitt Romney for claims that his companies shipped jobs to China and India while he held personal bank accounts in other countries.

Priorities USA had planned to run the ad on television in four battleground states using footage of a past opening ceremony showing the various national teams entering a stadium. The video is copyrighted and the IOC quickly banned the super-PAC from using it. The USOC slammed the group for politicizing the Games in the ad, which was only available online.

[ Related: Chinese complaint over Taiwanese flag causes stir ]

"The Olympic games are a celebration of friendship, excellence and respect," USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said. "While we are absolutely confident that neither presidential candidate nor campaign has participated in the production or distribution of these negative ads, the attacks, using Olympic themes and images, need to stop."

Priorities USA told the Washington Post it believed a pro-Romney PAC was going to use images in one of their ads. They took the ad down after the IOC made the request.

"Once we were assured that Mitt Romney and his allies would be held to the same standard, we were glad to take the ad down from our Web site," a spokesman told the Post.

The pro-Obama ad centered on the suggestion that Romney personally profited from decisions by some of his companies to ship jobs overseas. Showing footage from an Opening Ceremony, a narrator said the following:

"Welcome to the Olympics. There's Mitt Romney, who ran the Salt Lake City Games, waving to … China – home to a billion people. Thousands owe their jobs to Mitt Romney's companies. India, which also gained jobs thanks to Romney, an outsourcing pioneer. And Burma, where Romney had the uniforms made for the 2002 games.

"We know the Swiss have a special place in Mitt Romney's wallet – er, heart. He kept millions in Swiss banks – those Swiss sure know how to keep a secret. Speaking of secrets, there's Bermuda. Home to a secretive corporation set up by Romney. No one knows why. And Romney won't tell.

"And the Cayman Islands. Where Romney keeps millions to avoid U.S. taxes.

"Ya gotta say this about Mitt Romney. He sure knows how to go for the gold … for himself."

[ Related: North Korean women's soccer team protests wrong flag ]

Romney and first lady Michelle Obama will both attend the games this weekend, so politics can’t be completely ignored.

The USOC, however, was unequivocal that trying to make a partisan stand off of U.S. athletes won't be tolerated.

"Tomorrow we will celebrate America's finest athletes' accomplishments and watch Team USA march in the parade of nations," Sandusky said. "For anything even remotely negative to be associated with that time-honored, inspirational moment would be extremely unfortunate."

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