President Obama has openly objected to the undue influence of super PAC donations on the nation’s campaign process. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the fundraising groups could accept unlimited, anonymous donations from corporations, the president declared that they were a “threat to our democracy.” However, the commander in chief has had a change of heart.
Obama 2012 has done the math, and more importantly, seen the impact that super PACs have had on the Republican presidential primary process. Before contests in Iowa and South Carolina, Restore Our Future—the group backing White House hopeful Mitt Romney—pummeled Newt Gingrich with a barrage of negative advertising. And as a result, the Obama administration is now endorsing contributions to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC run by two former administration aides.
“It’s been an evolving conversation,” said a senior campaign official on a conference call with reporters Tuesday, explaining the president’s decision. “We’ve been watching throughout the course of the Republican primary process, the most recent filing deadline and the Koch brothers conference and what’s been coming out of that: a half billion dollars to defeat the president.”
And campaign manager Jim Messina, in an email to supporters Monday night, said that the campaign “can’t allow for two sets of rules” in which the Republican presidential nominee gains an advantage from “unlimited spending and Democrats unilaterally disarm.”
Furthermore, Priorities USA raised only $1.2 million during the latter half of 2012, while Restore Our Future collected $17.9 million.
Obama himself acknowledged in a recent interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer concern about the influence that super PACs have on the political process—and what’s coming his way in the general election.
“One of the worries we have obviously in the next campaign is that there are so many of these so-called super PACs, these independent expenditures that are gonna be out there,” he said. “There is gonna be just a lot of money floating around, and I guarantee a bunch of it’s gonna be negative.”