There’s No Need To Run A 10 Million Dollar Campaign To Talk About Jeremiah Wright

Last night, Michael Savage was ripping Mitt Romney up one side and down the other over this story.

Don’t go there. That, in essence, is the message Thursday from Mitt Romney, who said he “repudiates” an idea that was reportedly under consideration by an outside GOP group to run ads using the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. to attack President Obama.

Since publication of The New York Times article Thursday describing the idea, the Chicago billionaire who was reportedly considering funding the $10 million plan has disavowed it.

But that news came after an explosive reaction across the political spectrum, from both the Romney and Obama campaigns, as well as political strategists and observers.

…According to Thursday’s New York Times, Chicago billionaire Joe Ricketts was considering a $10 million ad campaign that would highlight Obama’s former relationship with Wright, who espouses “black liberation theology.” Mr. Ricketts, the founder of TD Ameritrade, and a “super PAC” he supports, the Ending Spending Action Fund, were considering various proposals from a group of high-profile Republican strategists, including this idea.

Midday on Thursday, Brian Baker, president of the Ending Spending Action Fund, released a statement on behalf of Ricketts.

“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,” the statement read.

“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,” the statement continued. “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.”

Earlier in the day, Romney also rejected the proposal.

“I repudiate the effort by that PAC to promote an ad strategy of the nature they’ve described,” Romney told the conservative Townhall web site Thursday. “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.”

The problem for Savage is that Romney made the right call here for a number of reasons.

First off, his whole challenge in the campaign will be to keep voters focused on Obama’s record. Obama, on the other hand, will be doing everything possible to get people talking about anything other than his failed presidency. So, from Romney’s point of view, every moment that’s used talking about Wright is a moment spent not talking about jobs, the economy, gas prices, the debt and the rest of Obama’s miserable failures.

Getting beyond that, Jeremiah Wright is old news. Most voters are already aware of him and his influence on Obama; so he’s not some magic bullet that’s going to take him down. Even if he were, Romney would still be smart to say exactly what he said. One of the reasons Super Pacs are so useful is that the candidate can pretend to be the good guy while they do all the dirty work. Obama doesn’t have to call his opponents racist. He can say that he opposes that sort of race baiting and look good while his supporters cry racism on his behalf. It works the exact same way with Wright. Mitt has already repudiated the idea; so if anyone does talk about Wright, Mitt has clean hands.

In any case at this early date, Jeremiah Wright appears to be useful for exactly one thing: countering the “Mormons are a weird cult” narrative. When the Left brought up Mitt having a dog on the roof of his car, the Right brought up Obama eating dog. When liberals hammer Mormons, conservatives should reflexively come back at them with the fact that Obama had a spiritual mentor for 20 years who’s anti-Semitic, anti-white, and anti-American. That’s how you most effectively use Jeremiah Wright against Obama.

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