Soon after releasing a new advertisement that combined footage of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney “dancing around the issues” with that of his wife, Ann, riding a dancing show horse, the Democratic National Committee offered “an apology of sorts.”
The minute-long spot mingles images of Ann Romney riding her horse, which she does as therapy for multiple sclerosis, with footage of her husband stating that he would “probably” release his financial information soon and defending overseas investments as being part of a blind trust he has no control over.
The commercial ends with text stating “Do we really want a President who dances around the issues?”
During a Thursday morning interview with Robin Roberts on ABC's “Good Morning America,” Ann Romney said she was offended by the ad since it attacked both her husband and the sport known as “dressage,” in which “a horse moves in delicate, dance-like steps to music as the rider, formally clad in top hat and tails, imperceptibly guides the animal.”
As NewsBusters previously reported, Roberts asked Romney how she responded to the advertisement, and she replied:
It makes me laugh. It's like, really? You know, there's so many people out of work right now, and there's this guy right here that has the answer for fixing the economy. And all these attacks, they're going to try everything.
And that is what people have to ask themselves when they go in the voting booth in November. Are you better off? Do you think we need a change?
An interesting aspect of the ad is that it didn't discuss any of the important issues like jobs, the economy, the national debt, and so on. Instead, it zeroed in on Mitt Romney's tax returns, his investments, and Ann Romney’s horse.
A few hours later, DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse told ABC News:
Our use of the Romneys’ dressage horse was not meant to offend Mrs. Romney in any way, and we regret it if it did. We were simply making a point about Governor Romney’s failure to give straight answers on a variety of issues in this race. We have no plans to invoke the horse any further to avoid misinterpretation.
Of course, this isn't the first time the Democrats have tried to use the Romneys' horses as a way to paint them as incredibly rich and out of touch with the problems everyday Americans face each day.
In late May, the New York Times ran a front-page article of Ann Romney immersing herself in “the elite world of riding,” in which “horses costing up to seven figures execute pirouettes and other dancelike moves for riders wearing tails and top hats."
Then in mid-July, Lawrence O'Donnell, host of MSNBC's weeknight program “The Last Word,” made the following statement:
This is not in any way to make light of Ann Romney’s difficulty with MS; it’s obviously a very difficult thing to bear. And there are a lot of things you can do to try to deal with MS. But, come on, dressage does not appear in any of the more traditional courses of treatment.
O'Donnell's jab drew fire from Fox News Channel's Neil Cavuto, a multiple sclerosis sufferer himself, who said: “I’m not horsing around. These guys taking pot shots at Ann Romney are horse’s asses.”
Also on Thursday, another Republican rushed to Ann Romney's defense: former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who told CBS News that even though he hadn't seen the ad, he knows that dressage “gives her great relief and great joy.”
“That’s something she shared with others as a sport or hobby or therapy who are facing life challenges or disabilities, and to make light of that or to criticize that, I think, is really, really low,” he added. “I wish they wouldn’t do that.”