By Jueseppi B.
Billionaire Finds New Role in Effort to Defeat Obama
By JIM RUTENBERG and JEFF ZELENY
Published: May 25, 20
When news broke last week that the billionaire investor Joe Ricketts had considered financing a $10 million advertising effort linking President Obama with the fiery race-based rhetoric of his former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., Mr. Ricketts quickly distanced himself from the proposal and Mitt Romney’s campaign denounced it.
But Mr. Ricketts is continuing to play a provocative role in the effort to defeat Mr. Obama.
He is involved in another effort slated for this summer, a documentary film based on a widely criticized book, “The Roots of Obama’s Rage” by Dinesh D’Souza, which asserts that Mr. Obama is carrying out the “anticolonial” agenda of his Kenyan father.
Mr. Ricketts’s aides said he was one of roughly two dozen investors, providing only 5 percent of the film’s budget. But his involvement shows how the more strident attacks against Mr. Obama, which Mr. Romney’s aides view as counterproductive, continue to find backing even as the Republican Party and the Romney campaign seek to keep the focus on the economy.
The episode involving the proposed Wright advertisement put new attention on the ability of wealthy donors, working with groups independent of the candidates, to shape the presidential race, and stoked further debate about whether outside groups were driving politics to become increasingly negative.
It also made Mr. Ricketts, who founded TD Ameritrade and is the patriarch of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs, the subject of intensive scrutiny and left his family’s business empire exposed to political backlash. He has refused several interview requests since The New York Times obtained a copy of the proposed Wright campaign. He is not affiliated with the Romney campaign, although he shares a legal adviser with Mr. Romney in Ben Ginsberg, the prominent Republican lawyer in Washington.
But interviews with friends and associates over the past week, along with a review of Mr. Ricketts’s own publicly expressed views, show why he is willing to put millions of dollars behind an effort to defeat the president.
An early glimpse of his views on Mr. Obama can be found in a June 2010 graduation speech he gave at Bellevue University in Nebraska, for which he is a leading benefactor. Lamenting the banking and auto bailouts, he declared, “Our Republic is under assault from our government,” adding the historical note that “most of the past threats have come from outside our borders.”
He called this “a most dangerous time,” when “people begin to second-guess the American experiment” and “flirt with dead-ends like socialism.” It was in that climate, he said, that he had decided to become more personally involved in politics.
Mr. Ricketts’s aides said he was primarily motivated by his concern for the budget deficit and government spending. And he has developed a reputation for supporting Democrats as well as Republicans when he believes they will act on his calls to rein in the deficit.
His political action group Ending Spending is financing a book by the husband and wife economists Ayse and Selahattin Imrohoroglu that in effect argues for an embrace of the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson debt reduction plan. (Called “The Fiscal Cliff: How America Can Avoid a Fall and Stay On Top” and due out late next month, it has a clinical, academic approach.)
In explaining the rejection of the Wright proposal questioning Mr. Obama’s character, which was drafted after Mr. Ricketts held two meetings with the strategists behind it, a top aide said that it reflected “an approach to politics that Mr. Ricketts rejects” and that his role this year would “be focused entirely on questions of fiscal policy, not attacks that seek to divide us socially or culturally.”
Yet the film Mr. Ricketts is helping to finance, called “2016: Obama’s America,” is built on the premise that “Obama has a dream, a dream from his father, that the sins of colonialism be set right and America be downsized,” according to a trailer.
Mr. Ricketts’s aides also said that he had helped pay for newspaper and Internet advertisements promoting Mr. D’Souza’s book in late 2010, one of which called it “the book the White House doesn’t want you to read,” and warned, “The real Barack Obama is even worse than you think.”
Some of Mr. D’Souza’s theories have been widely criticized by prominent conservative and Republican Party leaders. The columnist George F. Will urged Republicans to “recoil” from such views, and wrote last year: “To the notion that Obama has a Kenyan, anticolonial worldview, the sensible response is: If only.”
A review of “The Roots of Obama’s Rage” in The Weekly Standard criticized it for “misstatements of fact, leaps in logic, and pointlessly elaborate argumentation.”
A spokesman for Mr. Ricketts said that he had supported the book and the movie only because of his friendship with Mr. D’Souza, whom he has known for several years. The two men became acquainted through the American Enterprise Institute, a spokesman said, when Mr. D’Souza, now president of the King’s College in New York, was a scholar there and Mr. Ricketts was on its board of trustees.
In response to questions about Mr. D’Souza, Mr. Ricketts said in a statement that he had long been a “proud supporter of his scholarship” and shared his fiscal conservatism, and that he was deeply inspired by his personal story. “As an immigrant from India who built a life for himself in the United States, becoming a respected scholar, a best-selling author, and the president of the King’s College in New York, he embodies to me what American opportunity is all about,” he said.
He also said Mr. D’Souza and he had spent hours together “exploring ideas for my Opportunity Education foundation,” which provides textbooks, televisions, curriculums and advice to schools in developing nations including Ghana, India and what its Web site calls “Palestine.”
Mr. D’Souza did not return calls seeking comment about the film, which he describes on his Web site as “one of my biggest projects ever.” It is produced by Gerald R. Molen, the producer of the Academy Award-winning “Schindler’s List.”
The Web site promoting the film says it is “opening in theaters this June” and warns, “Love him, hate him, you don’t know him.”
Now….my simple question is this, first part: If POTUS Obama was ANYTHING but a natural born American citizen, does not the SANE thinking mind believe that Congress would have impeached this sitting President Of The United States the nano second proof was produced to corroborate such lunacy? Especially since both Houses Of Congress hate Barack Hussein Obama so much?
Second part of my simple question is: With the Chicago Cubs in a 10 game losing streak, and with Donald Trumps empire constantly in financial trouble, wouldn’t these two morons be better served taking care of their own personal business and leaving politics to the politicians?
You dumb ass birthers need to shit or get off the toilet.
“BARACK” The Vote On “NO”Vember 6th, Twenty Twelve.
- Be skeptical about political journalism (geneveith.com)
- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Is Pissed At “Defeat Barack Hussein Obama’s” Joe Ricketts (theobamacrat.com)
- The Defeat Of Barack Hussein Obama (theobamacrat.com)
- Billionaire Cubs Owner Joe Ricketts Commissions Study To Destroy Obama (chicagoist.com)
- HBT: Ricketts distances Cubs from anti-Obama campaign (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Joe Ricketts’s Retreat From Obama Attack Campaign: Are the Chicago Cubs to Blame? (thedailybeast.com)
- ‘The Ricketts Plan’ goes back to the drawing board (maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com)
- Is Joe Ricketts the real victim here? I think not. (americablog.com)