Republicans, Democrats, come out strongly against negative Obama ad campaign

Here and Now

The political world was up in arms Thursday morning over a report of an ad campaign under consideration by a Republican Super PAC targeting President Barack Obama and his ties to Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

The ad campaign was first reported by The New York Times.

But just as quickly as the story emerged it died, after Joe Ricketts, a major Republican donor, TD Ameritrade founder and owner of the Chicago Cubs, said the ad campaign won’t move forward. Ricketts was the money behind the ad campaign for the Ending Spending Super PAC, and was floating the idea of the campaign in order to judge what public reaction would be.

Rick Klein, senior Washington correspondent for ABC World News, said the reaction he got was swift, fierce and almost exclusively negative. Even Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican challenger to Obama, rejected the ad and any ad that made a personal attack on Obama’s background.

“There were McCain advisers who wanted desperately to use the Rev. Wright videos and sermons, and Sarah Palin was in that camp, against President Obama four years ago,” Klein said. “They were turned down by the candidate himself.”

Because the videos had already surfaced during the previous campaign, there wasn’t a lot of new material that would have gone into the ad campaign.

Klein said it was repurposing and reminding people of video they very likely saw four years ago.

“One of the reasons there were so many Republicans hesitant to go there was they weren’t sure it would work,” Klein said. “One key element we’ve seen from the Romney campaign so far is they don’t actually mind if you like President Obama, they just don’t want you to vote for him. So any personal attack may backfire.”

The Romney campaign wants to keep the focus on the economy, Klein said.

With this campaign stopped before it could even get out of the gate, Klein said Ricketts, a registered independent, will probably shift his focus to the fiscal issues that he’s passionate about. He’s still likely to spend millions of dollars bankrolling opposition to Obama’s re-election, but the campaigns will probably focus more on his spending practices.

“He wants President Obama to be defeated, but he doesn’t want it to be over these kind of social of cultural, divisive issues,” Klein said.

Even so, with all of the press that this potential campaign has received, some of its goals have already been met. After all, the media is once more talking about Rev, Jeremiah Wright.

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