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Super PAC Considers Highlighting Rev. Wright’s Relationship to Obama



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The New York Times reports:

The plan, which is awaiting approval, calls for running commercials linking Mr. Obama to incendiary comments by his former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., whose race-related sermons made him a highly charged figure in the 2008 campaign.

“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,” says the proposal, which was overseen by Fred Davis and commissioned by Joe Ricketts, the founder of the brokerage firm TD Ameritrade. Mr. Ricketts is increasingly putting his fortune to work in conservative politics.

The $10 million plan, one of several being studied by Mr. Ricketts, includes preparations for how to respond to the charges of race-baiting it envisions if it highlights Mr. Obama’s former ties to Mr. Wright, who espouses what is known as “black liberation theology.”

The group suggested hiring as a spokesman an “extremely literate conservative African-American” who can argue that Mr. Obama misled the nation by presenting himself as what the proposal calls a “metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln.”

Obviously, the Romney campaign can’t prevent a super PAC from running whatever they please, but this statement from Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades issued in response suggests disapproval of the Wright strategy:

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.  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.

It seems curious, too, that the super PAC plans to focus on matters that were talked about during the 2008 campaign, instead of say, the new revelation that Wright was offered a $150,000 bribe to keep silent during the campaign. 

UPDATE: The Obama campaign has indicated previously that they intend to view super PACs supporting Romney as equivalent to his campaign (even though he has zero control over the super PACs), and campaign manager Jim Messina doubles down on that attitude in a statement this morning:

This morning’s story revealed the appalling lengths to which Republican operatives and SuperPacs 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.  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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