In a reversal from the last time he ran for Chief Executive of the United States, President Obama has now decided to push wealthy donors to contribute fundraising dollars to the independent super PAC that supports him, Priorities USA Action. Obama shunned contributions from outside donors in the 2008 election and railed against the negative impact such money can have on politics in the 2010 midterm election.
The news comes after recent reports show Obama's super PAC trailing far behind the fundraising efforts of his Republican adversaries, despite the fact that the president still leads Romney almost 3-to-1 in actual campaign donations with $140 million raised in 2011 versus the Mitt Romney's $57 million, reports the New York Times.
Last year the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC, Restore Our Future, raised around $18 million for the Republican frontrunner, while a total of nearly $50 million was raised across the entire GOP field, according the Center for Public Integrity. (The latter figure does not include the $10 million donated by Sheldon and Miriam Adelson to the pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC Winning Our Future.) But the pro-Obama PAC only raised $4.4 million and the total raised for Democratic groups was half the amount raised by their conservative counterparts: just $19 million.
The shift in Obama's stance on how to fuel his re-election bid has some asking whether he is a hypocrite or just adapting to the times out of necessity. Obama's decision to encourage more contributions to his Super PAC contradicts his previous opposition to the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, which allows corporations and individuals to contribute unlimited amounts to political action committees.
"Whether he is a hypocrite or not, he is certainly first and foremost a politician who wants to get re-elected and he's recognized that the Republicans are raising lots of money using super PACs," says Breakingviews' Rob Cox in the accompanying interview. "He is not going to have one hand tied behind his back. He is going to fight with the full force of all the opportunities available for him to win the White House again." (See: Super PACs: It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's—Well, It's Complicated)
Obama's new game plan to raise funds involves sending his top campaign staff and members of his cabinet to events sponsored by his super PAC, which was founded by two former aides. But the rub is that they will not outright be asking for money.
Cox goes on to make the case that it is really the entire political system, not just Obama, that is hypocritical and rife with influence-peddling money contributions. But there is one bright spot, sort of, and it is the fact that all these contributions must be disclosed.
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