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Obama Demands South Carolina Stations Stop Running Misleading Ad Where He Appears to Attack Biden

The television spot comes from The Committee to Defend the President, a pro-Trump PAC

Former president Barack Obama has demanded South Carolina television stations to stop running an ad attacking former vice president Joe Biden.

Obama, who has yet to endorse Biden, released a statement through a spokesperson condemning pro-Trump PAC The Committee to Defend the President for using his words out of context and in a way that made it appear he was attacking his former vice president. He also sent a cease-and-desist letter, which you can read here.

“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,” said his representative, Katie Hill, in a statement.

The statement went on, “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.”

“[T]his unauthorized use of President 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,” says the cease-and-desist letter, referencing audiobook clips from Obama’s memoir used over footage of Biden. The passage “was in fact a statement made by a barber in a completely different context more than 20 years ago.”

This is the stuff they are doing out in the open. In February. By October? Ugly pro-Trump ad weaponizes audio of Obama, showing what’s coming,” wrote Obama campaign manager and White House senior advisor David Plouffe on Twitter, earning a retweet from Hill. 

Of course, retweets are not necessarily endorsements. Neither are demands to stop playing ads that make a former colleague look bad. Biden still has not received the official stamp of approval from his one-time boss.