Huffpost Politics

Super PAC Olympics Ad Blocked By Olympics Committee

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The pulled Priorities USA Action ad featured footage of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
The pulled Priorities USA Action ad featured footage of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

The U.S. Olympic Committee told the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA Action to pull down its new advertisement from the web and not to cut a version for television, as the ad uses footage from the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, which were headed by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The move by the USOC, which is also backed by the International Olympics Committee, was reported Thursday by ABC News. The ad was removed from YouTube Wednesday afternoon after being posted earlier that morning.

ABC News reports:

The ad featured at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, using athletes from countries where the presumptive GOP presidential nominee has held foreign investments, including Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and Switzerland, as well as countries where the ad accused him of "outsourcing" jobs.

Romney's tenure running the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games after they were scandalized with allegations of corruption -- saving the Olympics, in the parlance of his hagiographers -- is one of his calling cards, one that Democrats are seeking to undermine in various ways. But the U.S. Olympic Committee put a stop to this attempt.

"The Olympic Games are a celebration of friendship, excellence and respect," said U.S. Olympic Committee spokesperson Patrick Sandusky. "While we are absolutely confident that neither presidential candidate nor campaign has participated in the production or distribution of these negative ads, the attacks, using Olympic themes and images, need to stop. Tomorrow we will celebrate America's finest athletes' accomplishments and watch Team USA march in the parade of nations. For anything even remotely negative to be associated with that time-honored, inspirational moment would be extremely unfortunate."

IOC spokeswoman Sandrine Tonge confirmed the committee's opposition to political use of Olympic footage or symbols in an email to The Huffington Post.

"The IOC does not allow footage of the Olympic Games or an association with the Olympic rings to be used for political purposes, in line with the Olympic Charter," said Tonge.

After the super PAC's ad was pulled by the IOC, Priorities USA President Bill Burton issued the following statement:

"Once we were assured that Mitt Romney and his allies would be held to the same standard, we were glad to take the ad down from our website. Go Team USA!"

Earlier this month, Restore Our Future announced plans to tout Romney's involvement in the 2002 Winter Olympics vis-a-vis a $7.2 million ad buy across 11 states during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It remains unclear if the ads conflict with the IOC's guidelines on the use of Olympic footage or symbols, but the Priorities incident is not deterring the super PAC from moving forward with its scheduled advertising.

Restore Our Future spokeswoman Brittany Gross told HuffPost the super PAC has no intention of changing its plans for the London Olympics. The ads will air as planned from July 31 to Aug. 9 in swing states Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

On Wednesday, a coalition of groups called for NBC to deny airtime to super PACs. Both Priorities USA Action and the pro-Romney Restore Our Future have plans to run ads during the London Olympics. The Obama campaign has already purchased $6.5 million worth of airtime.

Sabrina Siddiqui contributed reporting.

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