Conservative super PACs are coming home to roost

Briefing: Obama. (Pete Souza via flickr)
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Mitt Romney says he wants to focus on the economy, but that's easier said than done.

First there was the same-sex marriage issue, which gave way today to a super PAC plan to fund an ad campaign about Obama's former association with Jeremiah Wright.

Romney denounced the ad campaign and the billionaire who was reportedly going to fund it, Joe Ricketts, followed suit.

But it's unlikely to be the last time a controversy like this happens: As Times reporter Jim Rutenberg noted in a TimesCast interview, Ricketts' aborted attack-ad campaign signals there is a growing sentiment in the Republican Party that it's time to attack the president as an unsavory character, and to abandon Romney's strategy of merely painting Obama as a nice guy who's in over his head.

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2012

After a detailed story in The New York Times, Joe Rickets rejected a proposal to fund a campaign ad linking Barack Obama to Jeremiah Wright. [Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny]

The abandoned Ricketts ad strategy is throwing Mitt Romney off his message, which was supposed to be that Obama's a nice guy, but clueless about the economy. [Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman]

Michael Shears: "Do you think Barack Obama should come campaign for all of your candidates?"

D.C.C.C. Chairman Rep. Steve Israel: "Well, the question is whether Mitt Romney wants to campaign with these House Republicans. I tell our candidates around the country…don't run as a congressional candidate. Run as a problem solver." [TimesCast]

Breitbart.com, which does not subscribe to "birtherism," looks into an old literary promotional booklet that says Obama was "born in Kenya." [Joel Pollak]

2013

According to Tom Allon's fund-raising invitation, donating $4,950 can make you a "Mayor's Friend". [Twitter]

Stop-and-Frisk

More on Ray Kelly's announced changes to the policy, and the unhappy responses that followed. [Jill Colvin]

Kelly hopes to "increase public confidence" with these changes. [Joe Kemp]

Kelly didn't make any substantive policy changes, according to a professor at John Jay College. [Al Baker and Joseph Goldstein]

Unnamed Cop: "When you read between the lines on the directive, it’s plain and simple: Don’t do anything that will get us into a civil rights problem." [Larry Celona and Chuck Bennett]

The Facebook Rule

Senator Chuck Schumer introduced legislation to prevent people from renouncing their U.S. citizenship in order to avoid paying U.S. taxes. [David Freedlander]

Education

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the city should offer "generous" payouts to encourage unwanted teachers to leave the Dept. of Education, which he says would free up close to $100 million. [Julie Shaprio]

The move signals Walcott's desire to get rid of questionable teachers in advance of a new teacher evaluation process. [Philissa Cramer]

The buyout offer is a way around stalled negotiations with the teachers union. [Anna Phillips]

Other cities offer payouts between $5,000 and $20,000. [Yoav Gonen]

Michael Mulgrew of the United Federation of Teachers doubts Walcott's move will save much money. [Julie Shapiro]

Albany

A new state regulation eliminating New York City's right to require fingerprint images from food stamp applicants will go into effect in July. One advocate predicts "certainly thousands or tens of thousands" of new applicants as a result. [Jimmy Vielkind]

Andrew Cuomo: "We shouldn't treat the poor or the hungry as criminals…That's what we've been doing and that's what's going to stop." [John Eligon]

Once passed, only Arizona will have the fingerprint requirement. [David King]

Cuomo's move was cheered by Democrats in the State Senate, who haven't had much cause recently to cheer for Cuomo. [Nick Reisman]

Cuomo's High Bar: A Democrat wonders why Cuomo can't get legalization of medical marijuana passed in Albany if he was able to get gay marriage passed. [Liz Benjamin]

Local

The Queens Chronicle hopes retiring congressman Gary Ackerman can convince the Queens Tribune—which he founded—to stop running adult ads. [Mark Weidler]

Antonio Meloni wants the Council seat Peter Vallone Jr. vacated. [Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska]

Flashback: Meloni helped get Lady Pink to paint a mural in Astoria. [Queens Tribune]

Images

The Mayor and The Rose. [Kristen Artz]

Super Bramer. [Queens Chronicle