A conservative super PAC funded by Joe Ricketts, the founder of TD Ameritrade and owner of the Chicago Cubs, had been weighing a proposal to attack President Obama in a way that his 2008 rival Sen. McCain dared not. The weapons of choice are the race card and the president’s incendiary former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, The New York Times reports.
Titled “The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama: The Ricketts Plan to End His Spending for Good,” the proposal also called for other African-Americans who are conservatives to help pull the trigger.
“The world is about to see Jeremiah Wright and understand his influence on Barack Obama for the first time in a big, attention-arresting way,” it states.
Many were surprised by the vitriol in the plan, and the Romney Team repudiated the “GOP-leaning group's proposal to run ads attacking Obama on Rev. Wright ties,” according to The Associated Press. An aide to Ricketts also issued a statement saying the proposal was no longer on the table, the AP reported.
The proposal was leaked to the Times by someone who is not connected to it but is alarmed by its tone. Its objective is “to do exactly what John McCain would not let us do: Show the world how Barack Obama’s opinions of America and the world were formed. And why the influence of that misguided mentor and our president’s formative years among left-wing intellectuals has brought our country to its knees.”
It also would have used an “extremely literate conservative African-American” as a spokesman to argue that Obama is not the “metrosexual, Black Abe Lincoln” he allegedly made himself out to be in 2008.
In addition to buying television advertising, the $10 million campaign had called for a plan to “jolt” the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, at summer’s end with newspaper and outdoor ads and aerial banners over the convention site one afternoon.
Mitt Romney’s team issued a statement that it didn’t condone such efforts, but at the same time slammed Obama.
"Unlike the Obama campaign, Gov. Romney is running a campaign based on jobs and the economy, and we encourage everyone else to do the same," Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades said in a statement. "President Obama's team said they would 'kill Romney,' and, just last week, David Axelrod referred to individuals opposing the president as 'contract killers.' It's clear President Obama's team is running a campaign of character assassination. We repudiate any efforts on our side to do so."
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina in a statement strongly denounced the proposal and what he believes was a weak response from Team Romney.
“This morning's story revealed the appalling lengths to which Republican operatives and super PAC apparently are willing to go to tear down the President and elect Mitt Romney. The blueprint for a hate-filled, divisive campaign of character assassination speaks for itself. It also reflects how far the party has drifted in four short years since John McCain rejected these very tactics,” he said. “Once again, Governor Romney has fallen short of the standard that John McCain set, reacting tepidly in a moment that required moral leadership in standing up to the very extreme wing of his own party.”
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(Photos from left: Kris Connor/Getty Images, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)