Jeremiah Wright, the incendiary pastor who caused quite a stir during Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, was to be the focus of an $10 million ad campaign masterminded by The Ending Spending Action Fund, a independent "Super PAC" (political action committee) powered by billionaire Joe Ricketts. The purpose of the ads, of course, was to remind everyone that Obama once had ties to the pastor, who famously delivered controversial, racially-tinged sermons to his congregation.
The campaign, which is titled "The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama: the Ricketts Plan to End His Spending For Good", has forced presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to distance himself from the ads. In fact, the whole sordid scenario has prompted the Republican's campaign manager Matt Rhoades to address the ads, stating that "Gov. Romney is running a campaign based on jobs and the economy and we encourage everyone else to do the same."
Although Rhoades made an attempt to put some distance between the PAC's scheme and Romney, he did make mention of the president's recent attacks on Romney. "t's clear President Obama's team is running a campaign of character assassination. We repudiate any efforts on our side to do so," he explained.
Meanwhile, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina feels the tactic is fairly low-brow. He also stated that John McCain, the president's opponent in the 2008 election, had decided not to use Wright or his sermons against Obama. "Once again, Gov. 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."
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt weighed in, as well, adding, "Today, Mitt Romney had the opportunity to distance himself from his previous attempts to inject the divisive politics of character assassination into the presidential race. It was a moment that required moral leadership, and once again he didn't rise to the occasion."
Romney is prohibited by law from participating in efforts organized by PACs.