Weighing in on the controversy of the day, Mitt Romney on Thursday rebuked a conservative group that is reportedly planning to mount a campaign against President Obama over his former ties to the Chicago pastor Jeremiah Wright, who has made incendiary racial comments through the years.
“I repudiate the effort by that PAC to promote an ad strategy of the nature they've described,” Romney said in the interview. “I think what we've seen so far from the Obama campaign is a campaign of character assassination. I hope that isn't the course of this campaign. So, in regards to that PAC, I repudiate what they're thinking.”
Earlier on Thursday, the Obama campaign accused Romney of not expressing sufficient outrage after learning of the planned attacks.
Jim Messina, the reelection campaign's manager, in a statement characterized the proposal as a "hate-filled, divisive campaign of character assassination." Messina also said that the ad "revealed the appalling lengths to which Republican operatives and super PACs apparently are willing to go to tear down the president and elect Mitt Romney."
The $10 million plan was overseen by Republican media consultant Fred Davis and was commissioned by Joe Ricketts, the founder of TD Ameritrade and the owner, with his family, of the Chicago Cubs. Ricketts recently spent $200,000 helping Nebraska state Sen. Deb Fischer win that state's GOP Senate primary this week.
Brian Baker, president of the Ending Spending Action Fund, released a statement on behalf of Ricketts on Thursday, according to Politico.
“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," Baker said. "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."
Jon Miller and Matt Vasilogambros contributed