New Republican ads featuring President Obama's former pastor Jeremiah Wright and his inflammatory comments may not be made after all.
The New York Times reported today that a new "super PAC" supporting Mitt Romney was planning to replay the indignation over Wright's controversial sermons that were a highlight of the 2008 presidential campaign.
The news of Wright being resurrected in 2012 threw the Obama and Romney campaigns into spin mode early today.
Romney's campaign manager quickly said in a statement that the team doesn't support "efforts on our side" to run ads of "character assassination."
But the leaked proposal, authored by the GOP ad man Fred Davis and brokerage firm guru Joe Ricketts, has made things complicated now that it's public. A person familiar with the super PAC tells ABC News that the leaked document was simply a proposal that was never acted on, and that no plan had been made to make any ads.
Davis told ABC News a month ago that he'd lined up the main donors for the new super PAC to target Obama, and that he expected the war chest to be in the millions. "The money's already here," he said.
Obama's campaign manager countered by saying that Romney had "fallen short of the standard" set by John McCain in 2008, when he rejected the idea of a negative campaign.
Both campaigns, however, have used negative ads. Obama's latest ads portray Romney as a corporate "vampire" who bankrupted a steel company while profiting off of it. And Romney survived the primary season partly by flooding the airwaves with commercials that portrayed his opponents negatively.
Democrats also are highlighting an interview Romney gave to Sean Hannity in February in which he mentioned Wright unprompted, in response to a clip of Obama saying "we are no longer a Christian nation."
"I'm not sure which is worse: him listening to Reverend Wright or him saying that we must be a less Christian nation," Romney said on Hannity's radio show.
The new Republican proposal to bring Wright back into the fray says, "The world is about to see Jeremiah Wright and understand his influence on Barack Obama for the first time in a big, attention-arresting way." The proposal reportedly involves $10 million.
The president of the super PAC, Brian Baker, said in a statement Thursday that Ricketts "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."
"Not only was this plan merely a proposal - one of several submitted to the Ending Spending Action Fund by third-party vendors - but 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," the statement said.