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Joe Ricketts
A slick, colorful, professionally bound, 54-page proposal for a $10 million attack on President Obama for his association with the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright is being considered by Chicago billionaire Joe Ricketts, according to Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg of The New York Times. The funding would be funneled through the Super PAC Ending Spending Action Fund. The proposal, which apparently is one of several being looked at, is titled “The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama: The Ricketts Plan to End His Spending for Good.”

The strategists who put it together say it is designed to “do exactly what John McCain would not let us do.”

Lamenting that voters “still aren’t ready to hate this president,” the document concludes that the campaign should “explain how forces out of Obama’s control, that shaped the man, have made him completely the wrong choice as president in these days and times.”
Those forces, the Times says, center on the Rev. Wright, who was previously Obama's spiritual advisor and pastor of the Chicago church he attended. Accusations that Obama was in thrall to Wright's black liberation theology led to the famous and widely acclaimed speech on race that the candidate gave in Philadelphia in March 2008.

Ricketts is the founder of the brokerage firm TD Ameritrade and the patriarch of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs. The plan is the product of former McCain strategists who were frustrated by their candidate's unwillingness to attack Obama the way their plan proposes to do. The document includes the logo of Strategic Perception, the political  advertising firm of Fred Davis who previously worked on the Republican presidential campaign of former Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman.

The proposal says, “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.” To get around charges of race-baiting, it suggests hiring an “extremely literate conservative African-American” who can claim that Obama tricked Americans by presenting himself as a “metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln.” Larry Elder, a black radio host in Los Angeles, has been contacted.

Cover of proposal to attack Obama
The proposed "Ending Spending" Playbook
Should the plan proceed, it would run counter to the strategy being employed by Mitt Romney’s team, which has so far avoided such attacks. The Romney campaign has sought to focus attention on the economy, and has concluded that personal attacks on Mr. Obama, who is still well liked personally by most independent voters surveyed for polls, could backfire.

Mr. Ricketts has become an increasingly active player in Republican politics through several political action committees, including Ending Spending. He has a son, Pete, who is a member of the Republican National Committee from Nebraska and a daughter, Laura, who is a top contributor to Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign. She has not been involved in her father’s political efforts.

The "Ending Spending" name of the Super PAC is apparently not meant to be taken literally. Ricketts sought tens of millions in tax subsidies to publicly finance renovations in Wrigley Field in 2010.

The strategists have also registered an ironic domain name for their proposed effort: "Character Matters."

Asked about whether it would be responding to the Times report, the Romney campaign offered a tangential answer. Mitt Romney himself said he hadn't yet read the papers.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Thu May 17, 2012 at 07:14 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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