Washington (CNN) – Predictions of super PAC-fueled campaign ugliness seemed to come to reality on Thursday when reports broke of a potential conservative group's ad campaign aimed at tying President Barack Obama to a controversy put to rest nearly four years ago.
But conservative billionaire Joe Ricketts decided against a proposal from GOP strategists that would bring up once again Obama's association with the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a super PAC director said.
(CNN) – Billionaire Joe Ricketts on Thursday rejected an ad proposal by high-profile Republicans billed as a provocative campaign against President Barack Obama that would run around the Democratic National Convention.
Earlier Thursday The New York Times reported Republican strategists were working with billionaire Ricketts to run commercials "linking Mr. Obama to incendiary comments by his former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr."
(CNN) – The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is looking to calm this week's firestorm over remarks termed anti-Semitic by critics, saying Thursday he meant to say "Zionists" instead of "them Jews" when referring to people in Washington who do not want President Obama speaking with him.
"Let me say, like Hillary, I misspoke. Let me just say 'Zionists,'" Wright told SIRIUS radio host Mark Thompson.
Earlier this week, the former Chicago pastor told Virginia newspaper The Daily Press he no longer speaks with Obama - a former congregant of his Trinity United Church - because "Them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me."
"I'm not talking about all Jews, all people of the Jewish faith, I'm talking about Zionists," Wright said Thursday, adding that his comments were in reference to "historical facts."
(CNN) - The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the former Chicago pastor whose racially-charged sermons threatened to implode President Obama's primary bid last year, is again making waves over recent comments about his current relationship with the commander-in-chief.
"Them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me," Wright told Virginia newspaper The Daily Press when asked if he still spoke with Obama. "I told my baby daughter, that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of office."
"They will not let him to talk to somebody who calls a spade what it is," he added. "I said from the beginning: He's a politician; I'm a pastor. He's got to do what politicians do."
The former pastor of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, where Obama was a congregant for nearly two decades, also told the paper he holds no grudges against the president's very public break from Wright last year.
(CNN) - John McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis suggested in an interview that the campaign may be "rethinking" its decision not to use Barack Obama’s relationship with his former pastor Jeremiah Wright in the campaign.
McCain himself has not responded to questions about why he might be reluctant to cite Wright. During the primary season, Hillary Clinton had predicted that Republicans would use the controversial minister to attack Obama, if he were to become the Democratic nominee.
Now – in a new interview being circulated by the McCain camp – Davis is pointing to recent comments by Obama supporter John Lewis as a reason some in the campaign are weighing a shift in that policy.
Lewis had compared the atmosphere at some McCain-Palin rallies to coded racial appeals by late segregationist George Wallace during his own presidential run.
“Look, John McCain has told us a long time ago before this campaign ever got started, back in May, I think, that from his perspective, he was not going to have his campaign actively involved in using Jeremiah Wright as a wedge in this campaign,” Davis told conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt.
(CNN) - The conservative group Judicial Confirmation Network is launching a new television ad in key battleground states Wednesday that in part features Barack Obama's ties to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the controversial pastor who nearly derailed the Illinois senator's presidential bid last spring.
The independent ad is the first campaign spot in the general election to highlight Obama's lengthy relationship with Wright, a subject that generated considerable media scrutiny during the primary season but one John McCain has said should not be an issue in the race for the White House.
The ad also ties Obama to William Ayers and Tony Rezko - two prominent and controversial figures in Chicago. Ayers, a University of Chicago professor, was a founder of the 1960's radical group Weatherman that claimed responsibility for bombing the Pentagon. Rezko is a real estate developer convicted earlier this year of mail fraud, attempted extortion and money laundering who helped Obama secure a property in Chicago. Both men have been longtime supporters of Obama's political career, but the Illinois senator has said he is not close to either one of them.
Earlier: McCain says Ayers connection 'open to question'
A spokeswoman for the group says more than $500,000 is being spent on the ad, which is set to run in Ohio and Michigan markets through Election Day. It will also run nationally on Fox News during the upcoming debates.
The organization is classified as a 501(c)4, and as such does not have to disclose its donors to the Federal Election Commission. it's the second 501(c)4 to launch an ad attacking Obama Wednesday — Veterans for Freedom, which opposes his position on the war in Iraq, is spending more than $2 million on an ad taking aim at the Illinois senator.
"Choosing the right justices is critical for America," the ad's announcer states. "We don't know who Barack Obama would choose, but we know this: He chose as one of his first financial backers a slumlord now convicted on 16 counts of corruption. Obama chose as an associate a man who helped to bomb the Pentagon and said he ‘didn't do enough.’ And Obama chose as his pastor a man who has blamed America for the 9/11 attacks.
"Obama chose to associate with these men, while voting against these men," the announcer also says, as images of current Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito are shown.
The group, which advocates naming conservative justices to the bench, says the ad is part of a $1 million grassroots campaign to "to raise awareness and recruit activists on the critical issue of the U.S. Supreme Court." The campaign will also include an extensive outreach effort including direct mail, e-mail, and text messaging.
Watch a clip of Sen. Obama's remarks in Boca Raton Thursday.
(CNN) - As Barack Obama courted Jewish voters in Florida Thursday, John McCain looked to resurrect the controversy over the Illinois senator’s former minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright - who drew scrutiny earlier this year for comments he made in praise of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
The presumptive Republican nominee was responding to fallout over his decision to reject Pastor John Hagee’s endorsement, because of remarks that seemed to suggest Adolf Hitler had been carrying out God’s will because his actions drove many Jews to return to Israel.
“I have said I do not believe Senator Obama shares Reverend Wright's extreme views,” said McCain in his statement rejecting Hagee’s backing. “But let me also be clear, Reverend Hagee was not and is not my pastor or spiritual advisor, and I did not attend his church for twenty years. I have denounced statements he made immediately upon learning of them, as I do again today.”
Obama immediately fired back, telling reporters McCain was unfairly implying Wright’s controversial remarks were somehow attributable to him.
(CNN) - Is Barack Obama's former pastor still an issue for voters? We asked West Virginia Democrats whether they think Barack Obama shares the views of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Just over 50 percent say Obama does share Wright's controversial views while 47 percent say he does not.
These numbers suggest Wright continues to be an open issue for at least West Virginia Democrats
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Politics is a business of numbers, and the numbers favor Sen. Barack Obama. But they are changing in ways that give Sen. Hillary Clinton some hope, and have dramatically changed how Republicans look at the presidential election.
In a world of so many polls and findings within those polls, a few stand out:
And in a new Pew Research Center national survey, Clinton's lead among whites who didn't attend college has increased to 40 percentage points from 10 in March.
(CNN) - A day after Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr's speech at the National Press Club, Sen. Barack Obama decided that Wright is all wrong.
In the latest episode of CNN=Politics Daily, Suzanne Malveaux reports on Obama's effort Tuesday to cut his ties with Wright in the hopes of limiting the political fallout from Wright's return to the public spotlight.
Sen. John McCain also laid out his plan for health care reform Tuesday. Dana Bash reports on how the Arizona senator would like to treat the nation's ailing health care system.
Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider has another report about health care. Schneider takes a look at how health care is increasingly becoming an economic issue for voters.
Carol Costello does a reality check on proposals by Sens. McCain and Hillary Clinton to provide a federal gas tax holiday.
Finally, Wolf Blitzer gives you an update about whether Sens. Clinton and Obama stand with the Democratic Party's all-important supderdelegates.
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