The Four Strangest Aspects of the Jeremiah Wright Ad Pitch

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 17 2012 4:48 PM

The Four Strangest Aspects of the Jeremiah Wright Ad Pitch

Joe Ricketts's PAC, Enduring Liberty, has answered the charges about today's Wright story with some official-sounding guff. "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," say the spokesdrones. Case closed. It's true. Ricketts didn't actually put anything on the air. He was just quoted, in the pitch, referring to a mysterious Wright ad that could have killed Obama in 2008.

With that in mind, the Strategic Perception pitch -- which its authors refer to as the "Ricketts Plan" -- is a fascinating dead letter. The Times has put it all online, revealing just how eager to please its authors were, and the starts of some sample attacks they wanted to use.

The chickens. Strategic Perception provided a couple of neat, possible direct mail pieces. They were obsessed, here and elsewhere, with the resonant "chickens coming home to roost" theme.

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The whole animal theme is sort of a Davis speciality -- a "king rat" that personified former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, the "demon sheep" that was supposed to be Tom Campbell.

The "calm male voice." The ideal narrator for the first Ending Spending radio ad was... Jon Voight. This Jon Voight.

The racism blowback-prevention plan. Larry Elder, the black conservative author and radio talker, was tipped as the spokesman for the campaign -- a guy who "got it."

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For the record, Elder is the only non-white guy on this list. We may never know who the sympathetic white businessmen were.

The "team of pirates." Strategic Perception's pitch suggested that the Super PAC was so ready to launch that a group of top-shelf consultants was at the ready.

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Donatelli is a veteran of Michele Bachmann's campaign; Whit Ayres, like Davis, worked for Jon Huntsman. Slowly, the accused are responding. Donatelli told me, in a statement, that she had "no involvement in either the preparation or the execution of any proposal to the PAC operated by Joe Ricketts, and has seen no draft nor final version of the plan."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.