The communications director to former President Barack Obama has called on South Carolina TV stations to stop The Committee To Defend The President, a pro-Trump super pac, from airing an ad that Obama fears will confuse voters into thinking he has denounced his own former vice president, Joe Biden.
According to an op-ed published in The Washington Post, Katie Hill, spokesperson for the president, wants TV stations to know that the ad has been designed to “suppress turnout among minority voters in South Carolina” and mislead voters.
The ad, which was obtained by the news agency, features Obama’s voice narrating a passage in his 1995 memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” as photos of Biden appear in the background. The photos feature claims, written in large white text, attacking the former vice president, saying that Biden “joined segregationists,” and “blamed African American parents for inequality.”
According to The Washington Post, the passage is from a segment of the memoir where Obama recalls a conversation he had with a Chicago barber, and it describes the history of the city’s “plantation politics,” during which Democratic politicians would feel entitled to the votes of African American residents.
“Joe Biden promised to help our community,” reads a narrator toward the beginning of the ad. “It was a lie: Here’s President Obama.”
“Plantation politics: Black people in the worst jobs, the worst housing, police brutality rampant,” reads Obama in his memoir. “But when the so-called black committee-men came around election time, we’d all line-up and vote the straight Democratic ticket – sell our souls for a christmas turkey.”
The ad ends with the narrator denouncing Biden, and asks voters to ignore him in the upcoming primary: “Enough. Joe Biden won’t represent us, defend us, or help us. Don’t believe Biden’s empty promises.”
According to NBC News, an attorney for Obama will be filing a cease and desist letter shortly.
Andrew Bates, the Biden campaign’s rapid response communication director, told NBC News that the ad was an “intervention in the Democratic primary” and a “despicable torrent of disinformation by the president’s lackeys,” reports the news agency.
In a statement to The Washington Post, Hill denounced the ad as “Republican disinformation,” but maintained that Obama will not endorse anyone in the primary.
“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,” Hill told the 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.
Biden, who has not yet won a Democratic voting contest, has been banking on a stand-out performance in the upcoming South Carolina primary in order to remain viable.
According to CNN, after Tuesday’s Democratic primary debate, the former vice president secured the endorsement of House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), who has served in Congress since 1993. According to FiveThirtyEight, Biden currently leads all other Democratic primary candidates in South Carolina.