*** UPDATE 1 *** I didn’t see this New York Times report which cuts through the spin…
The president and general counsel of the Ending Spending Political Action Fund, Brian Baker, said through a spokesman that the plan was submitted to a group that included him and two of Mr. Ricketts’s sons at a meeting in Chicago last week. “I was surprised and troubled by what I saw,” he said. “It was not what we asked for.”
But on Wednesday, when Mr. Baker was asked in an interview whether Mr. Ricketts had rejected the advertising proposal, he said only that no decisions had been made.
The Ricketts family is close, friends say, but politically divided. Two of his sons, Pete and Todd, attended the meeting in Chicago last week to review the advertising proposal, which was titled, “The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama.” His daughter, Laura, is one of the top contributors to Mr. Obama’s re-election bid and is a member of the campaign’s national finance committee. His other son, Tom, is the general chairman of the Chicago Cubs and said he was not politically active.
Those two sons are Cub shareholders.
*** UPDATE 2 *** With thanks to a commenter, this is also from the NYT article and is very damning evidence…
A page in the proposal about potential staff members for the effort says, “With your preliminary approval at the New York meeting, we have discussed this plan in highly confidential terms with the following proposed team members,” who, it says, are “ready to jump into action upon plan approval.”
Associates of Mr. Ricketts acknowledged that upon seeing a commercial Mr. Davis produced in 2008 for Mr. McCain featuring Mr. Wright, which Mr. McCain rejected, Mr. Ricketts said. “If the nation had seen that ad, they’d never have elected Barack Obama.” The quote was highlighted in the proposal.
The Ricketts family needs to explain this. Now.
[ *** End Of Updates *** ]
* Yesterday’s New York Times report revelation that Joe Ricketts and his family were briefed on a campaign battle plan to make people “hate” President Obama this year created a furious reaction from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has been working with the team on a stadium remodeling plan. His aides sent out this e-mail yesterday…
The Mayor was livid when he read that the Ricketts were going to launch a $10 million campaign against President Obama – with the type of racially motivated ads that are insulting to the President and the Presidential Campaign.
He is also livid with their blatant hypocrisy.
The Ricketts have tried to contact the Mayor but he’s said that he does not want to talk with them today, tomorrow or anytime soon.
* Tom Ricketts, the Cub Chairman, issued this statement…
As chairman of the Chicago Cubs, I repudiate any return to racially divisive issues in this year’s presidential campaign or in any setting—like my father has.
My focus is on one of the great American pastimes, baseball. And our team and every other Major League Baseball team are great examples of people of diverse backgrounds working together towards a common goal. I shall have no further comment on this or any other election year political issue. My full-time focus is on making the Chicago Cubs a World Series champion preserving Wrigley Field and making the Chicago Cubs a great corporate citizen.
* Joe Ricketts’ guy at his Super PAC also weighed in…
The political consulting firm that drafted the proposed ad campaign against Obama, Strategic Perception Inc., said the Ricketts family never approved it and “nothing has happened on it since the presentation.”
Brian Baker, president of the Super PAC Ending Spending Action Fund, which is heavily funded by Joe Ricketts, issued a statement today saying the attack ad against Obama won’t go forward.
“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,” Baker said. “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.”
* There could be problems ahead…
The threat to resurrect the Wright controversy that Obama thought he put to rest during the 2008 campaign is poorly-timed for Joe Ricketts’ four children, who now run the trust that their parents set up and the kids used to buy the team. While Joe Ricketts has described himself in public forums as a Cubs owner, and there’s a YouTube video of him talking about the process of buying the team, a family spokesman says he has separated himself from the operation.
The Cubs were hoping for a vote on a state borrowing plan to bankroll the Wrigley renovation using tax-exempt bonds during the final two weeks of the Illinois General Assembly’s spring session, paving the way for construction to begin in October. The team needs the mayor’s support, because the bonds would be retired by new advertising, sponsorship and concession revenues at Wrigley and a variation of the financing scheme that Emanuel once called a “non-starter” — forfeiting 35 years’ worth of amusement tax growth.
Before the Joe Ricketts controversy erupted this week, talks with Emanuel were continuing with a “sense of urgency” to accommodate the Cubs construction timetable, City Hall sources said.
Asked Thursday whether the proposed attack on Obama would derail a deal, Emanuel said, “I’ll have some conversations on that later — comments, rather.”
But later, City Hall sources said they still expect a Wrigley deal to get done because it’s a job creator and because Emanuel is all about “putting points on the board,” as the mayor likes to put it. The controversy could slow down the team’s accelerated construction timetable and empower the mayor to drive a harder bargain, however.
Subscribers know more about the Statehouse react.
* But a Northwest Herald columnist might’ve summed up it best…
Ricketts founded T.D. Ameritrade and built the financial empire that enabled his family to acquire the Cubs for about $900 million. According to materials leaked to the New York Times, he also was looking to spend $10 million on a series of racially charged attack ads aimed at President Obama, in hopes of “Ending His Spending.”
God Bless America, where everyone has a right to express their views according to their means. There’s nothing wrong with opposing excessive government spending, although it seems an odd stance for someone seeking a hefty government handout.
It looks even worse when the person you’re negotiating with to get those millions was chief of staff for the president on whom you’re planning a hit job.
And in Chicago, a city of 2.7 million where the U.S. Census Bureau says 20 percent of people live in poverty, should the wealthy folks who own Wrigley Field really top the priority list?
Probably not, but eventually they will. This scandal will fade. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will start taking the Ricketts’ phone calls again – although I wouldn’t want to be the first one to get through.
This might push back the Cubs’ timetable for renovating the crumbling, musty ballpark. But when it gets down to it, even if Mitt Romney himself owned the Cubs, no Chicago mayor would deny him if he threatened to move the team.
Besides, Joe Ricketts isn’t running the Cubs, and doesn’t really care about baseball – Tom Ricketts is the chairman of the team. And the Cubs aren’t asking for all that much, relatively speaking.