The folks at "Morning Joe" piled onto former White House spokesman Robert Gibbs Wednesday, pressing him to condemn a controversial new ad by a Super PAC supporting President Obama. (Go to 16:50 in the video for the conversation.)
The ad, by the Priorities USA pac shows a man saying that, after Mitt Romney's former company Bain closed his plant, he lost his health care and could not afford his wife's cancer treatments. His wife died, he says, in 22 days.
"When Mitt Romney closed the plant, I lost my healthcare and my family lost its healthcare and a short time after that my wife became ill," the man, Joe Soptic, says. "...I don't think Mitt Romney understands what he's done to anyone, and furthermore, I do not think Mitt Romney is concerned."
On Wednesday, everyone on the "Morning Joe" panel -- including HuffPost's Sam Stein -- called on Gibbs to denounce the ad. Gibbs refused. He protested that he did not know the specifics of Soptic's story. Told that Soptic's wife did have some form of health care even after he lost his job, he continued to demur.
"What specifics would you like to know before we can get you to pass judgment?" panelist Mark Halperin said. "Ask away!"
"I don't know the instances of what her healthcare covered," Gibbs said. "I don't know whether her insurance company approved every treatment. I don't know any of the dealings with the insurance company."
"Come on," Mika Brzezinski chimed in. "It's a low blow." Gibbs fought back by saying that the Romney campaign was running misleading ads about Obama's policies on welfare reform. This set Joe Scarborough off.
"Are you really making me explain the difference between a policy debate and a question that suggests that a candidate for president of the United States killed his wife?" Scarborough said. "Are you serious? Are you making me do this?"
Gibbs wondered whether Scarborough was "perfectly fine" with the Romney ad. "No, I'm not perfectly fine with it," Scarborough said. "I'm not sitting here defending an ad. You are."
"It is not surprising that you guys have decided that there's gradations in --" Gibbs started.
"Don't put words in my mouth!" Scarborough shot back, saying that he was going to check and see about the Romney ad.