Obama demands pro-Trump group stop using his voice to attack Biden

Former President Barack Obama is demanding a pro-Trump group stop airing a "despicable" ad that uses a recording of Obama’s voice to attack former Vice President Joe Biden— a rare intervention in a race that Obama has largely avoided so far.

"[T]his despicable ad is straight out of the Republican disinformation playbook, and it’s clearly designed to suppress turnout among minority voters in South Carolina by taking President Obama’s voice out of context and twisting his words to mislead viewers," Obama spokesperson Katie Hill told NBC News.

The ad from the Committee to Defend the President, which aired on the local South Carolina CBS’ affiliate multiple times before and during Tuesday night’s debate, borrows from an Obama audiobook to suggest the former president is criticizing his former VP.

"Joe Biden promised to help our community. It was a lie. Here's President Obama," a narrator in the ad says, leading into an audio clip of Obama decrying "plantation politics" and "black people in the worst jobs" over headline summaries knocking Biden's history on race. "Joe Biden won't represent us," a female narrator concludes.

Obama's office said his lawyers would be sending the pro-Trump group — which according to its website started as the "Stop Hillary PAC" in 2013 — a cease-and-desist letter on Wednesday.

"In the interest of truth in advertising, we are calling on TV stations to take this ad down and stop playing into the hands of bad actors who seek to sow division and confusion among the electorate,” Hill said.

She added that Obama plans on keeping away from the race until after there's a nominee.

“President Obama has several friends in this race, including, of course, his own esteemed Vice President,” Hill said. "He has said he has no plans to endorse in the primary because he believes that in order for Democrats to be successful this fall, voters must choose their nominee.

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Former President Obama campaigns for California's Democratic candidates in 2018
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Former President Obama campaigns for California's Democratic candidates in 2018
Former U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a Democratic political rally ahead of the midterm elections in Anaheim, California, U.S., September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A woman in the crowd holds up a "Take It Back" sign as she attends a political rally with former U.S. President Barack Obama for California Democratic candidates during in Anaheim, California, U.S., September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former U.S. President Barack Obama is greeted by democrats as he participates in a political rally for California Democratic candidates during a event in Anaheim, California, U.S., September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former U.S. President Barack Obama holds up a clipboard as he participates in a political rally for California Democratic candidates during a event in Anaheim, California, U.S., September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a political rally for California Democratic candidates during a event in Anaheim, California, U.S., September 8, 2018. Left to right are candidates TJ Cox (CA-21), Gil Cisneros (CA-39), Katie Porter (CA-45), Harley Rouda (CA-48) and Mike Levin (CA-49). REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former U.S. President Barack Obama is greeted by democrats as he participates in a political rally for California Democratic candidates during a event in Anaheim, California, U.S., September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former U.S. President Barack Obama is greeted by democrats in the crowd after speaking at a political rally for California Democratic candidates during a event in Anaheim, California, U.S., September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with California Democratic candidate Josh Harder as he participates in a political rally during a event in Anaheim, California, U.S., September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with California Democratic candidate Gil Cisneros as he participates in a political rally during a event in Anaheim, California, U.S., September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a political rally for California Democratic candidates during a event in Anaheim, California, U.S. September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a political rally for California Democratic candidates during a event in Anaheim, California, U.S. September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a political rally for California Democratic candidates during a event in Anaheim, California, U.S., September 8, 2018. Left to right are candidates Josh Harder (CA-10), TJ Cox (CA-21), Gil Cisneros (CA-39), Katie Porter (CA-45), Harley Rouda (CA-48) and Mike Levin (CA-49). REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former U.S. President Barack Obama holds up a clipboard to encourage voters, at a political rally for California Democratic candidates during an event in Anaheim, California, U.S. September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former U.S. President Barack Obama greets the crowd at a political rally for California Democratic candidates during an event in Anaheim, California, U.S. September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a political rally for California Democratic candidates during an event in Anaheim, California, U.S. September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former U.S. President Barack Obama participates in a political rally for California Democratic candidates during an event in Anaheim, California, U.S. September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a political rally for California Democratic candidates during an event in Anaheim, California, U.S. September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
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Dan Backer, a lawyer for the PAC, said, "I’d say we’re disinclined to comply with the erroneous legal reasoning of a letter I haven’t even seen." "

As for the ad, Backer told NBC News that it's Obama's voice "reading the words he wrote in the context he wrote them. It's absolutely accurate and truthful and correct."

"It's unfortunate that Democrats are this desperate to keep African American voters from talking about the failures of the Democratic party," he said.

Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates said the PAC’s ad shows that "Donald Trump and his allies are absolutely terrified that Joe Biden will defeat him in November."

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