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Photo of Joe Ricketts
Who do you think you're kidding, Joe?
The $10 million attack-Obama proposal put forth by the advertising firm Strategic Perception and exposed by the New York Times Thursday is catching a lot of heat. So much so that the "Ending Spending" Super PAC of Chicago billionaire Joe Ricketts that would be funding the attack felt compelled to issue a statement renouncing the proposal:
Joe Ricketts is a registered independent, a fiscal conservative, and an outspoken critic of the Obama Administration, but he is neither the author nor the funder of the so-called “Ricketts Plan” to defeat Mr. Obama that The New York Times wrote about this morning. Not only was this plan merely a proposal—one of several submitted to the Ending Spending Action Fund by third-party vendors—but it reflects an approach to politics that Mr. Ricketts rejects and it was never a plan to be accepted but only a suggestion for a direction to take. Mr. Ricketts intends to work hard to help elect a President this fall who shares his commitment to economic responsibility, but his efforts are and will continue to be focused entirely on questions of fiscal policy, not attacks that seek to divide us socially or culturally.
That's all warm and fuzzy and implicitly civic-minded. But it collides with what the proposal itself says about using the words of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to taint Barack Obama and reduce his chances in the November election. An attack along those lines failed in 2008. But only, the proposal's authors suggest, because its full force wasn't unleashed since John McCain was too weak.

The trouble with Ricketts's denial is contained in the proposal itself. On page 3, Ricketts is quoted as saying about a Wright-Obama slam that McCain rejected: "If the nation had seen that ad, they'd never have elected Barack Obama."

And on page 46 of the 54-page proposal, the authors state:

With your [Ricketts's] preliminary approval at the New York meeting, we have discussed this plan in highly confidential terms with the following proposed team members. All are ready to jump into action upon plan approval.

Team Lead:
Strategic Perception Inc., Fred Davis

Strategy and Grassroots:
Strate ic Perce tion Inc., Bill Ken on

Earned Media:
Strategic Perception Inc., Brian Nick

North Star Opinion Research, Whit Ayres

Social Media/Web:
Campaign Solutions, Becki Donatelli

Media Buyer:
Smart Media Group, Kyle Roberts

External Spokesman:
Larry Elder

So, what are we to assume about that New York meeting? That Ricketts gave preliminary approval to a mere "suggestion," some skeletal proposal that made no mention of Jeremiah Wright but was something totally different than the polished, budget-detailed plan revealed by the Times? Puhleez. We may have fallen off a turnip truck. But it wasn't yesterday.

Given all the recycled lies in the proposal, Davis's operation ought to be renamed Strategic Deception. If somebody hadn't leaked the firm's rancid plan, quite possibly in hopes of killing it, there's every likelihood we would be seeing it laid out as planned during the Democratic Convention. We still may. And if we don't, with all the right-wing billionaire dollars floating around, there's plenty of reason to believe we'll see something just as bad or worse.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Thu May 17, 2012 at 11:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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