Lawyers for President Obama have sent a cease-and-desist letter to a pro-Trump Super-PAC airing an ad that twists the former president’s words to smear Joe Biden. The ad, which began airing Tuesday in South Carolina, uses a clip of Obama reading from his book Dreams from My Father to suggest that he thinks Biden is bad for African-Americans.
Produced by the Committee to Defend the President, the ad opens with a narrator saying, “Joe Biden promised to help our community. It was a lie. Here’s President Obama.” A clip from Obama’s audiobook then begins, with the former president describing “plantation politics” and black voters voting for Democrats against their own interests.
“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.”
As Politifact notes, the words come from a passage in Obama’s book when a barber is describing politics in Chicago before the 1983 election of Harold Washington, the city’s first black mayor.
“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,” Obama’s spokesperson Katie Hill said Wednesday.
Despite the obvious out-of-context presentation of Obama’s words, the Super-PAC airing the ad defended it and denied doing anything wrong. A lawyer for the PAC told NBC News that it’s “absolutely accurate and truthful and correct.”