On May 17, 2012, the New York Times published an article along with a copy of a detailed advertising plan they obtained (through a person not connected to the proposal who was alarmed by its tone) that was drawn up at the request of Joe Ricketts, a conservative billionaire. It is titled “The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama: The Ricketts Plan to End His Spending for Good.”
While Ricketts rejected the proposal after it was leaked, the proposal gives a rare insight into how a billionaire can commission his own smear campaign against the President of the United States for – what is a small amount of money to a billionaire – a mere $10 million.
“Joe Ricketts is prepared to spend significant resources in the 2012 election in both the presidential race and Congressional races,” said Brian Baker, president and general counsel of the Ending Spending Action Fund Super PAC, in a May 16, 2012 interview.
The proposal suggests that Ricketts believes John McCain erred in 2008 by not using images of Reverend Wright against Obama, who has said that the pastor helped him find Jesus but that he was never present for Wright’s politically charged sermons. Mr. Obama left the church during the 2008 campaign.