A Republican Party web advertisement has been circulating this week, using edited audio from Solicitor General Donald Verrilli’s arguments before the Supreme Court in an attempt to drum up support for striking down the Affordable Care Act.
Verrilli’s performance during the second day of arguments in the historic case was widely panned by analysts, prompting the White House to issue a statement in his defense. Bloomberg analyzed the Republican National Committee’s ad, which declares in large letters, “ObamaCare: It’s a tough sell.” The 30 second spot features audio from the SCOTUS proceedings, during which Verrilli appears to be struggling for words. He also stops to take a drink of water twice in the advertisement.
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In its news analysis, Bloomberg found that: “A review of a transcript and recordings of those moments shows that Verrilli took a sip of water just once, paused for a much briefer period, and completed his thought, rather than stuttering and trailing off as heard in the doctored version.”
The committee points to Verrilli’s apparent stilted performance as a reason to invalidate the law.
“It seems that Obama’s lawyer hit a bit of a snag trying to defend the constitutionality of Obama’s health care takeover,” the committee said in a statement introducing the ad. “Maybe he’s beginning to realize something the American people already know: It’s hard to defend a law that is indefensible.”
An RNC spokesman told Bloomberg that the advertisement is a “mash-up,” meant to demonstrate the difficulty the solicitor general had to argue in favor of the law.
“Are there multiple clips in that video? Yes,” Spicer told Bloomberg. “The point was that he continually had to stop because he was having trouble making the case for why Obamacare was valid.”
The Democratic National Committee, Obama’s re-election campaign and a Justice Department spokesperson all declined comment to Bloomberg.
Tom Goldstein, co-founder of SCOTUSblog, had harsh words for the RNC in a post titled “The RNC shoots itself in the foot.”
“I’ve been in practice for 17 years, and the blog has existed for 10, and this is the single most classless and misleading thing I’ve ever seen related to the Court,” Goldstein wrote. “It is as if the RNC decided to take an incredibly serious and successful argument that has the chance to produce a path-breaking legal victory for a conservative interpretation of the Constitution, drag it through the mud, and vomit on it. I would be shocked if a serious conservative lawyer would stand by the ad.”