Obama camp urges Romney to show 'moral leadership'

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — President Obama's campaign is calling on Mitt Romney to push back harder against plans by a conservative-leaning independent group to showcase Obama's ties to his controversial pastor.

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina says the Republican presidential hopeful must show "moral leadership" and stand up to the "very extreme wing" of his party.

The Ending Spending Action Fund has devised a $10 million ad campaign bankrolled by conservative billionaire Joe Ricketts to publicize racially incendiary speeches by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright at a church Obama once attended. The plan was first reported Thursday by the New York Times and confirmed to The Associated Press by strategists involved.

Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades says the campaign would "repudiate" any tactics that amount to character assassination.

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