A conservative super PAC is considering an advertising plan to attack President Obama's ties to Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., his controversial former spiritual adviser, and "do what John McCain would not let us do" during the 2008 presidential campaign.
The Chicago Cubs owner, billionaire Joe Ricketts, commissioned the $10 million plan, know as "The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama: The Ricketts Plan to End His Spending for Good." The strategy is one of several being considered by the Ending Spending Action Fund super PAC.
According to a copy of the plan obtained by the New York Times, the group wants to expose the ties between President Obama--who is referred to as a "metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln"--and Wright's "black liberation theology."
"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," the 54-page proposal says, according to the Times.
The proposed assault, including television commercials and full-page newspaper ads featuring Wright, along with "aerial banners" in the sky, would be timed to the Democratic National Convention in September.
Ricketts' plan includes "preparations for how to respond to the charges of race-baiting," according to the paper and goes as far as to suggest the hiring of an "extremely literate conservative African-American" spokesman.
It also refers to an apparent ad featuring Wright that was produced for McCain's 2008 campaign but never aired. "If the nation had seen that ad," Ricketts writes, "they'd never have elected Barack Obama."
"Joe Ricketts is prepared to spend significant resources in the 2012 election in both the presidential race and congressional races," Brian Baker, the super PAC's president, told the Times. "He is very concerned about the future direction of the country and plans to take a stand."
On Thursday, Mitt Romney's campaign urged the super PAC to avoid pursuing a racially charged campaign, while criticizing the Obama camp's reported rhetoric.
"Unlike the Obama campaign, Gov. Romney is running a campaign based on jobs and the economy, and we encourage everyone else to do the same," Matt Rhoades, Mitt Romney's campaign manager, said in a statement to Yahoo News. "President Obama's team said they would 'kill Romney,' and, just last week, David Axelrod referred to individuals opposing the president as 'contract killers.' It's clear President Obama's team is running a campaign of character assassination. We repudiate any efforts on our side to do so."
UPDATE, 12:32 p.m. ET: Baker released the following statement from Ricketts, saying he rejects 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.
Holly Bailey contributed to this report.