For a moment Jeremiah Wright was back. The New York Times reported today that a new “super PAC” supporting Mitt Romney was planning to bring up an issue, never vetted in 2008, Barack Obama’s 20+ year relationship with the racist, American-hating, Antisemitic “preacher.” But after whining from the Obama campaign, the Romney campaign said they would repudiate such an effort–but did he just fall into a one-sided trap?
The plan, which is awaiting approval, calls for running commercials linking Mr. Obama to incendiary comments by his former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., whose race-related sermons made him a highly charged figure in the 2008 campaign.
“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,” says the proposal, which was overseen by Fred Davis and commissioned by Joe Ricketts, the founder of the brokerage firm TD Ameritrade. Mr. Ricketts is increasingly putting his fortune to work in conservative politics.
Re-elect Obama campaign manager Jim Messina bashed the idea reported in the Times and vented against Romney for not offering a condemnation of the potential effort:
take our poll - story continues below
“This morning’s story revealed the appalling lengths to which Republican operatives and SuperPacs apparently are willing to go to tear down the President and elect Mitt Romney,” Mr. Messina wrote.
He added: “It also reflects how far the party has drifted in four short years since John McCain rejected these very tactics. Once again, Governor 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.”
The standard John McCain set was losing, and part of the reason he lost is his refusal to allow his campaign to do what the media wouldn’t—vet Barack Obama. But like a “good little candidate” Mitt Romney issued the condemnation the Obama campaign demanded. He told Town Hall’s Guy Benson in an interview;
“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.”
Pretty words indeed but did the GOP candidate just tie his own hands and leaving his opponent to continue with personal attacks? Obama has already started with attacks and hyperbole because he cannot run on the issues. According to the campaign’s commercials, surrogates in the media or other campaign statements, Mitt Romney:
- Is a “vampire” and a “job destroyer”
- Hates gay people because of a teenage prank he did 47 years ago.
- Doesn’t believe in civil rights and fairness because he believes marriage is between a man and a woman.
- Hates Dogs because he tied the doggy kennel to the top of the car and had the dog ride in the kennel en route to a family vacation
- Hates women because he is Pro-Life.
- Hates women because he believes a government should not force a religious institution to go against its teachings.
- Is a flip-flopper when he changes positions-while Obama’s positions evolve.
- Would not have given the order to kill Osama Bin Laden (by the way did I mention that Barack Obama personally killed Bin Laden).
- Has a Mormon problem and his grandfather was a polygamist (it was his great-grandfather). Lets face it- none of the people running are Jewish so they are all flawed IMHO so religions should not be a factor.
There are plenty more personal attacks where that came from. Obama’s people are doing everything they can to get the swing voters to look at the GOP candidate as a “stereotype,” unable to picture him as president.
I vehemently disagree with Romney’s promise to repudiate such an attack, he just fell into an Obama trap, a one-sided pledge.
Understand this is not a suggestion that the Romney campaign start making Jeremiah Wright the central theme of his campaign. On the other hand he shouldn’t stop others for pointing out Obama’s lies about his former preacher.
If his great grandfather’s religious practices are fair game, why isn’t Obama’s attendance at a particular church for 20+ years. If a stupid high school prank is important, why then isn’t Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers, who was more than “a guy in the neighborhood,” they shared an office.
If the situation was reversed Obama would be mentioning Jeremiah Wright as often as he describes how he killed Bin Laden. Barack Obama’s entire campaign so far has been based on personal attacks on Mitt Romney.
In order to win this election Mitt Romney needs to go all the way.
UPDATE: Jim Geraghty of National Review points out that as long as the Super PAC was re-hashing old Wright stories, its probably best that Romney keeps his campaign “Wright-free:”
Yes, at this point, Romney himself and his campaign shouldn’t spend much or any time on Wright, as it would look like Romney is focused on the past instead of the here and now. For the vast majority of voters, Wright is “priced in” to their assessment of Obama.
There is, however, some use here if A) new information is uncovered, like the claim the Obama camp offered Wright $150,000 to shut up until Election Day and B) if we can tie it to how Obama has performed as president. As I was tweeting earlier today, perhaps the most revelatory moment of the whole Wright saga was Obama saying, with a straight face, that he not only did not attend any of the incendiary sermons, but that he never heard Wright say anything like them.
Obama was talking about a man who casually used the phrase “garlic noses” to describe Italian-Americans. It strains credulity to contend that Wright was always goody-two-shoes around Obama and then unleashed his hateful id once Obama left the room.
So what that tells us is not only that Obama will lie – just about every politician does – but he’ll offer a truly implausible lie and weather the consequences. “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”