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Debra Krause-McDonnell, Ohio Deli Owner, Says Obama Ad Used Her Storefront Without Consent

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Debra Krause-McDonnell, owner of the Cincinnati, Ohio, grocery store Krause's, said President Obama's presidential campaign ad used images of her storefront without permission. Credit: <a href=WLWT NBC News 5." />
Debra Krause-McDonnell, owner of the Cincinnati, Ohio, grocery store Krause's, said President Obama's presidential campaign ad used images of her storefront without permission. Credit: WLWT NBC News 5.

Another day, another small business owner dragged into Obama vs. Romney.

Debra Krause-McDonnell, the owner of Krause’s grocery store in Cincinnati, Ohio, claims the Obama campaign used footage of her store in an ad without her permission. Images of the store appear about 10 seconds into the spot “Always,” in which Obama defends his record on small business.

Now, some customers won’t shop at her store anymore, Krause-McDonnell told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

"This is a place where we sell specialty cheese, specialty meat items,” she said in a separate interview with Fox 19 last week. "This is not a political platform.”

Ever since July 13, when Obama uttered the now infamous line, "you didn’t build that," setting off a slew of attacks from Mitt Romney, the two presidential candidates have been locked in a fierce battle over who loves America’s entrepreneurs more.

Krause-McDonnell told the Enquirer she was pulled into the political mud-slinging when a camera crew showed up at her shop and asked a store manager if they could film the storefront for a video about riot door protection. That same footage later showed up in Obama's ad.

According to a statement released by Obama for America-Ohio, Krause's store "appeared in a series of stock footage which the Obama for American campaign obtained from a local production company who had permission to use it."

Caleb Faux, director of the local Hamilton County Democratic Party, added that campaign officials told him Krause’s store manager was told the footage could be purchased and used for any reason, the Enquirer reported.

Krause-McDonnell told Fox 19 that no one at the store signed any consent paperwork and that local Democratic groups had initially ignored her requests to have the images of her storefront removed from the ad.

The ad is no longer airing on television, according to the Enquirer, though people can still watch it on YouTube, where one version has attracted nearly 19,000 views.

This isn’t the first time in the 2012 presidential race that either side’s use of small business owners in campaign ads has drawn criticism. “Build,” an ad released by Karl Rove’s super PAC that attacked Obama, came under fire in July for using images of a fake small business owner alongside interviews with legitimate ones.

Another ad, sponsored by the Romney campaign, featured Jack Gilchrist, CEO of Gilchrest Metal Fabricating Company, criticizing Obama for claiming that small business owners like him hadn’t built their companies on their own. Turns out, a New Hampshire Union Leader report later revealed, Gilchrist had benefited from millions of dollars in government loans and contracts.

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