The Chicago Cubs front office would probably like to find just about anything to take the focus off the fact that its team is mired in one of the worst losing streaks in franchise history, but news that team financier Joe Ricketts is funding another round of anti-Barack Obama propaganda is likely not the distraction they're looking for.
The New York Timesreported today that Ricketts is one of a dozen or so backers behind a "documentary" based on the book The Roots of Obama's Rage by influential conservative writer Dinesh D'Souza. This comes after an aborted attempt to fund an attack campaign against Obama that focused on his ties to the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
That proposed ad campaign was criticized by Republican candidate Mitt Romney's campaign, which is trying to move away from the type of attacks aimed at Obama in the 2008 election in favor of criticizing his first term as president.
The Chicago Cubs have proposed a $300 million public-private plan to renovate Wrigley Field, but the team still needs the help of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel to get it done. One problem: Emanuel, the former chief of staff for President Barack Obama, didn't like hearing about a Republican Super PAC headed by Joe Ricketts, billionaire father to Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, that planned to launch a nasty smear campaign this fall against Obama and his re-election campaign.
Tom Ricketts and the rest of the Cubs have tried to distance themselves from the Super PAC since the initial New York Times report, but Ricketts seems aware he's facing an uphill battle to renovate Wrigley. Here's what he told Roe & Roeper" on WLS-AM 890:
"The mayor has got a lot on his plate. Whenever we get around to talking about that, that's fine with me. I'm cool with whatever timing works. It's just a matter of we've just got to kind of get through this and get it behind us."
The Ending Spending Action Fund, Joe Ricketts' Republican-sympathetic Super PAC organization, apparently has a track record of swaying political elections, and swaying them late in the game.
Seth Cline of US News reports that the Ending Spending Action Fund has made major contributions late to several minor elections, in some cases overwhelming the opposing candidate's campaign. The Ricketts Super PAC entered the limelight when word got out on Thursday that Ricketts -- father of Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts -- was orchestrating a massive and unusual attack ad campaign focused on defaming president Barack Obama leading into the 2012 presidential elections.
According to Cline, Joe Ricketts is the Super PAC's lone financier. The Cubs organization and Ricketts' own children under vivid terms distanced themselves from the family patriarch.
News broke on Thursday afternoon that Joe Ricketts, financier of the Chicago Cubs purchase and father of Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, was orchestrating an unusual attack ads compaign targeted at incumbent President Barack Obama.
Tom Ricketts has released a statement following the scandal, distancing himself from his father's campaign. David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune has the details:
"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 great American pastimes, baseball. Our team and every other MLB team are great examples of people of diverse backgrounds working together towards a common goal. 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." (links 1, 2, 3 and 4)
Despite her father's leanings, Cubs chairperson Laura Ricketts also wanted to make her intentions clear:
His sister, Laura, a strong supporter of President Obama, also released her own statement making clear she and father Joe Ricketts...