Joe Wierzbicki is a principal of the Republican Party-associated public relations firm Russo Marsh & Rogers (RM+R). He is also director of public relations at King Media Group, RM+R's mirror firm. In emails he describes himself as "Grassroots Coordinator for Move America Forward," a client of RM+R advocating and conducting PR for Bush's policies in Iraq in the name of supporting US troops and winning the global war on terror.
Wierzbicki is the coordinator of a political action committee formed to oppose Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, called "Our Country Deserves Better." In addition to Wierzbicki, several PAC officers are or were associated with Move America Forward, including Howard Kaloogian, Russo Marsh & Rogers head Sal Russo, and Marine mom Deborah Johns. 
In an interview about the PAC, Wierzbicki said Our Country Deserves Better hopes to "raise in excess of $1 million by Election Day," and run ads in "ten states." In regards to the PAC's ad that questions Obama's statements on religion, Wierzbicki asked, "Is Barack Obama's faith the Muslim registration listed by his family when he was a student growing up in Indonesia? Or is it the black liberation theology espoused by Reverend Jeremiah Wright...? Or is it the mainstream Christianity he identified with in the forum hosted by Pastor Rick Warren?" 
Wierzbicki claimed Our Country Deserves Better isn't "Swiftboating" Obama, because, for example, "We've not used the photographs of Barack Obama in what some call 'Muslim garb' because the photos by themselves are inconclusive." They also decided, "despite the controversy that her words created," not to "use Michelle Obama's comments about this being the first time in her adult life that she was proud to be an American." 
Co-opting the Tea Party movement
In April, 2010 the web site Politico.com published a proposal written by Wierzbicki to use the Our Country Deserves Better PAC to co-opt the tea party movement by obtaining a luxury coach, painting it in Tea Party-themed images, and sending it on a multi-stop national tour with the aim of raising money by urging the defeat of prominent Democratic candidates like Harry Reid (D-Nevada), Arlen Specter (D-Pennsylvania) and Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut).
Wierzbicki’s RM+R biographical note provides little detail on his work history other than that he previously worked for Fleishman-Hillard and "corporate clients, non-profit organizations as well as political candidates and committees." 
"Businesses sometimes experience rough patches that they need help with, and Mr. Wierzbicki’s extensive experience and illustrious background enables him to assist corporations and organizations with damage-control efforts," it states. 
In 2005, RM+R helped promote Move America Forward's recent "Truth Tour" of Iraq by right-wing radio hosts there and preparing a campaign for the Kurdish Regional Government. Wierzbicki told journalist Bill Berkowitz that his firm's Kurdish campaign "will thank the American people for supporting the war in Iraq, and encourage Americans to visit and invest in the Kurdish region." Wierzbicki said RM+R is "not advocating an independent Kurdistan," but "the Kurds would like the rest of the country to look at the Kurdish region and see it as a model" for Iraq. The Kurdish campaign will likely be a short-term effort, including television and print ads, that will start in late summer or early fall. "It's important to recognize that the Kurds are not hostile to the West," Wierzbicki added. 
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- "Who we are," Our Country Deserves Better PAC website, accessed September 2008.
- Bill Berkowitz, "Pac man: Our Country Deserves Better PAC aims to 'define' Obama's 'weaknesses' and make him 'an unacceptable choice to serve as our nation's next president and Commander in Chief'," MediaTransparency.com, September 26, 2008.
- Politico.com, Joe Weirsbicki The "Tea Party Express" Project Proposal Draft,(PDF) undated, accessed April 15, 2010
- Kenneth P. Vogel GOP operatives crash the tea party, Politico.com, April 14, 2010
- Bill Berkowitz, "The selling of brand Kurdistan As the 'Truth Tour' fades into the ether, Russo Marsh & Rogers, a California-based public relations firm with close ties to the Republican Party, is now helping the Kurds prepare for the future", WorkingForChange, August 11, 2005.
- Bill Berkowitz, "PAC man: Our Country Deserves Better PAC aims to 'define' Obama's 'weaknesses' and make him 'an unacceptable choice to serve as our nation's next president and Commander in Chief'," MediaTransparency.org, September 26, 2008.
- Donald Lambro, "Obama health plans revive tea parties," The Washington Times, August 11, 2009.