Obama Campaign Exploits Woman With Down Syndrome to Attack Romney

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 1, 2012   |   3:44PM   |   Washington, DC

President Obama’s re-election campaign is under fire today from conservatives for exploiting a young woman with Down Syndrome in an attempt to attack Mitt Romney.

The Obama campaign web site features a “letter of the week” from a 25-year-old woman, who writes, “I am one of the 47% of Americans who fall under Mitt Romney’s definition of ‘entitled’ and ‘unable to take responsibility for my life.’ I have Down syndrome.”

Daily Caller columnist Matt Lewis noticed the letter and took the Obama camp to task.

This is horrible for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that Mitt Romney’s 47 percent comments had nothing to do with this. It’s also hypocritical, inasmuch as it is Obama – not Romney — who has been insensitive regarding special needs children.

As the Telegraph noted in ’09,

Asked by Mr Leno, who hosts the show, if he had been practicing bowling in his Washington office, Mr Obama joked that his highest score was the extremely low total of 129.

“That’s very good, Mr President,” Mr Leno interjected in a sarcastic tone.

Mr Obama then countered that the score was “like the Special Olympics or something”. (Emphasis mine.)

(And let’s not even get into all the attacks on Trig Palin coming from Obama’s friends on the left.)

Look, I get it. Campaigns are tough, but this is a below-the-belt accusation coming from the Obama campaign. I will anxiously wait to see if the mainstream media calls this a gaffe — or insists that Team Obama take down this letter.



The conservative twitter website Twitchy also bashed the Obama campaign.

Just when you thought the Obama Machine couldn’t stoop any lower … Obama and the Democrats are still working overtime to manufacture outrage over Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remarks. In order to counter the weakness of their arguments, their efforts have grown increasingly desperate. Today, we saw the most shameful product yet of Team Obama’s desperation. To the Left, when the presidency is on the line, nothing is off-limits, including the exploitation of a young woman with Down syndrome.

“Brittany” seems like a sweet, hardworking girl. That makes it all the more disgusting that the Obama campaign is using her to fight its battles. Calling an opponent’s character into question is nothing new in an election battle. But with this latest stunt, Team Obama has thrown decency out the window. It’s not enough to focus on policy disagreements; the time has come to commit character assassination.

“Brittany,” who wrote the letter to express her support for the president, is being used as a political tool. The Obama camp is sharing her story for no other reason than to suggest that Mitt Romney doesn’t care about the disabled and mentally-challenged. And what’s truly heartbreaking is that to Team Obama, she’s not even a member of the 47 percent. She’s not even a person. She’s only a means to an end.

And Charles Cooke, writing at the National Review, took the Obama campaign to task.

There is so much that is heinous about Brittany being used for political gain in this way, but let’s start with the obvious thing, which is that neither Mitt Romney nor anybody running for office under the Republican banner is suggesting doing anything that would hurt her.

I have spent a lot of time around people with Down Syndrome. My mother is a teacher who specializes in teaching children with special needs, my sister has gone down that route, too, and I used to volunteer at the centers in which they teach. As Brittany says, she is “unable to take responsibility” for her life. (Or, at least, full responsibility. Her letter shows that she’s rather admirable.) Fair enough. But outside of the most feverishly conceived cartoon conservatives, who exactly resents this fact? America enjoys a bipartisan agreement that children, elderly people, and the disabled should be protected — and that government has a role to play in that care. The implication that Brittany is akin to those who are dependent on government by choice, habit, or design should be rejected with extreme prejudice — not least for Brittany’s sake. Suffice it to say that whatever point Romney was trying to make with his “47 percent” line, it was not that the state should cut off people with disabilities.

Now, there is a key disagreement in this country as to how people who are able to help themselves should be treated. Democrats and Republicans have starkly different attitudes toward both the efficacy of government welfare and the role of civil society in solving social problems and, if anything, the two parties are moving further apart from one another. Regardless of where one comes down on that debate, however, there is a world — a universe, perhaps — of difference between Brittany and Julia, the Obama campaign’s bizarre vision for the life of an American everywoman who is helped by Washington at every step of her development. It is the difference, as my colleague Dan Foster aptly puts it, between a cradle to grave welfare state and a cradle and grave welfare state. Conservatives are fine with the latter, and not with the former.

Whatever Romney meant by the term, Brittany is not a 47-percenter. Instead, if Brittany belongs to any percentage-based identity group, it is to the 10 percent of Americans with Down Syndrome who make it past the abortion clinic.