New York Times campaign reporters Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg found no hypocrisy in President Obama’s Monday flip-flop on the evils of "Super PAC" fund-raising in Tuesday’s front-page story, “Obama Yields In Marshaling Of ‘Super PAC.’” As of yesterday, Obama is encouraging Democrats to give to the political action committee Priorities USA, which is led by two former White House aides.
After the 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United such Super PACs can raise unlimited sums from corporations, unions and invididuals. The Times' passive headline puts no responsibility on Obama, portraying his change of heart as a necessary evil he has little control over.
President Obama is signaling to wealthy Democratic donors that he wants them to start contributing to an outside group supporting his re-election, reversing a long-held position as he confronts a deep financial disadvantage on a vital front in the campaign.
Aides said the president had signed off on a plan to dispatch cabinet officials, senior advisers at the White House and top campaign staff members to deliver speeches on behalf of Mr. Obama at fund-raising events for Priorities USA Action, the leading Democratic “super PAC,” whose fund-raising has been dwarfed by Republican groups. The new policy was presented to the campaign’s National Finance Committee in a call Monday evening and announced in an e-mail to supporters.
The Times portrayed Obama’s hypocrisy in mild terms, and vaguely referenced “His past criticism of outside groups." Yet the Times eagerly championed Obama's previous attacks on this "threat to our democracy," before Obama gave the greenlight for Democrats to fund them as well.
The decision, which comes nine months before Election Day, escalates the money wars and is a milestone in Mr. Obama’s evolving stances on political fund-raising. The lines have increasingly blurred between presidential campaigns and super PACs, which have flourished since a 2010 Supreme Court ruling and other legal and regulatory decisions made it easier for outside groups to raise unlimited donations to promote candidates.
For his re-election campaign, he did not object to the formation of Priorities USA Action, which is run by two former White House aides, but until now had done nothing overtly to help the group. His past criticism of outside groups, some Democrats said, had made it hard to persuade donors to back Priorities USA Action, contributing to its problems in keeping up with conservative groups.
The designated group includes Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services; David Plouffe, a senior adviser at the White House who ran the 2008 campaign; and Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser and a close friend of the president’s. Other top Obama aides helping the effort include David Axelrod, one of the president’s top political strategists, and Mr. Messina, the campaign manager.
Mr. Obama has consistently spoken out against the new rules that allow unlimited contributions from corporations and wealthy donors. “But for 2012,” Mr. Messina said, “our campaign has to face the reality of the law as it currently stands.”
“RB” at The Right Sphere detailed the hypocrisy charge the Times failed to make:
Obama scolded the Supreme Court about the Citizen’s United case which basically said it would be unconstitutional to limit organizations, like SuperPACs, from spending their money as they saw fit. The alleged Constitutional scholar (Obama) called this money a “threat to our democracy.” Now he and his minions are embracing them?