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Photo: Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Former President Obama's office is calling on South Carolina TV stations to stop running a misleading attack ad by a pro-Trump super PAC that uses Obama's voice out of context to make it appear as if he is criticizing Joe Biden and Democrats on race.

Why it matters: It's a rare intervention by Obama, whose former vice president is facing a critical primary in South Carolina on Saturday. Obama has said he has no plans to endorse in the Democratic field.

Details: The ad is part of a $250,000 campaign by the Committee to Defend the President to oppose Biden in South Carolina, per the Washington Post.

  • It features audio of Obama reading from a portion of his memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” that mimics a character who is criticizing Democrats.
  • Meanwhile, a screen flashes the headlines from NBC News and the New York Times that read, "Joe Biden joined segregationists" and "Joe Biden wrote bill that disproportionately jailed African Americans."

What they're saying:

"This 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. 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."
— Obama spokesperson Katie Hill in a statement to the Post

The big picture: Joe Biden views his strong support among black voters, which comprise 60% of the Democratic electorate in South Carolina, as his firewall in what has thus far been a disappointing primary season for the former vice president.

  • "This latest intervention in the Democratic primary is one of the most desperate yet, a despicable torrent of misinformation by the president's lackeys,” said Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates, per the Post.

Go deeper

46 mins ago - Health

First known U.S. case of the Omicron variant identified in California

PhotoL Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The first known U.S. case of the Omicron variant was detected in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: The confirmed case was detected in a traveler returning from South Africa who was fully vaccinated and has mild symptoms, according to the CDC.

Supreme Court appears likely to roll back abortion rights

Abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 1. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed likely to weaken abortion rights and perhaps to let states ban the procedure altogether.

The intrigue: The court seemed likely to throw out the framework established in Roe v. Wade, but it wasn't clear whether a majority of the justices were inclined to overturn the court's precedents entirely.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

How to meme a painting

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

How can a physical artwork become an NFT? One new company has just spent $12.9 million on a Banksy in an attempt to try out a new way of converting the real into the virtual.

Why it matters: The art market globally sees volume of about $60 billion per year, almost all of which is trade in physical objects. Art-world insiders including former Christie's c0-chair Loïc Gouzer are on the lookout for ways to monetize physical paintings without necessarily giving up physical ownership of them.

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