A proposal from a GOP-leaning super-PAC to run attack ads against President Obama based on his relationship with his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was floated and rejected within hours on Thursday.
Both Mitt Romney and Obama’s campaign denounced the ad proposal after it was reported in The New York Times Thursday morning. On Thursday afternoon, the Ending Spending Action Fund super-PAC, run by billionaire Chicago Cubs owner Joe Ricketts, put out a statement rejecting the plan to spend $10 million to link Obama and Wright in a “big, attention-arresting way.”
The proposal “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,” according to a statement from the Ending Spending Action Fund.
Romney personally repudiated the super-PAC’s plan in an interview with the blog Town Hall.
“I repudiate the effort by that PAC to promote an ad strategy of the nature they’ve described. I would like to see this campaign focus on the economy, on getting people back to work, on seeing rising incomes and growing prosperity — particularly for those in the middle class of America,” he said.
The Obama campaign was first to respond to the report, accusing Romney of reacting “tepidly in a moment that required moral leadership.”
“This morning’s story revealed the appalling lengths to which Republican operatives and super-PACs 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,” said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina in a statement.
Romney, in his response, suggested that the president’s campaign could be using the issue to distract from the economy. He also doubled down on his campaign’s claim that the Obama team already participated in character assassination.
“I think what we’ve seen so far from the Obama campaign is a campaign of character assassination,” Romney said to Town Hall. “I hope that isn’t the course of this campaign. So in regards to that PAC, I repudiate what they’re thinking about. … It’s interesting that we’re talking about some Republican PAC that wants to go after the president [on Wright]; I hope people also are looking at what he’s doing, and saying ‘why is he running an attack campaign? Why isn’t he talking about his record?’ ”