Recall the promise of Barack Obama in 2007 to stay within the public-financing system for presidential candidates? That lasted until just after Obama figured out that he could easily outraise John McCain in the general election — which was when Obama became the first major-party candidate to opt out of the system since its post-Watergate establishment. Obama claimed at the time that the presidential campaign public financing system was “broken,” but now almost three years after taking office, Obama has yet to propose a fix for the campaign fund. In fact, his campaign has made it clear that they want to raise a billion dollars on their own rather than use a “fixed” public campaign fund.
Given that Obama has no intention to work within the system, House Republicans proposed eliminating it altogether. You would think that Obama would have no problem eliminating a program which he himself refuses to use, but …
Today, The White House Announces That Obama “Strongly Opposes” Ending The Taxpayer Funding Of Presidential Elections. “The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 3463, which would terminate taxpayer financing of Presidential election campaigns and would eliminate the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and transfer its responsibilities primarily to the Federal Election Commission.” (Statement Of Administration Policy, H.R. 3463 – Termination of Taxpayer Financing of Presidential Election Campaigns and Termination of the Election Assistance Commission, 12/1/11)
Why would Obama oppose ending a program he refuses to use for his own campaign? Why, eliminating the EAC would mean that presidential candidates would have to spend a lot of time on fundraising!
“The bill would force many candidates into an endless cycle of fundraising at the expense of engagement with voters on the issues, and would place a premium on access to large donor or special interest support, narrowing the field of otherwise worthy candidates.” (Statement Of Administration Policy, H.R. 3463 – Termination of Taxpayer Financing of Presidential Election Campaigns and Termination of the Election Assistance Commission, 12/1/11)
Needless to say, this argument has the GOP laughing out loud, and they offer a variety of media sources that exposes Obama’s hypocrisy on this very point:
In 2011, Obama Has Averaged A “Blistering Pace” Of More Than One Fundraiser Every Five Days. “Sixty-nine fundraisers this year by December 1. That’s an average of more than one fundraiser every five days. (Though, as Obama’s latest New York trip shows, these events are often clustered together on a single day.) This is a blistering pace of rainmaking for the 44th president in 2011.”(Andy Kroll, “Barack Obama Has, On Average, Attended A Fundraiser Every Five Days In 2011,” Mother Jones, 12/1/11)
Obama Has Held 65 Fundraisers For His Campaign. “Pres Obama now on his way to 3 campaign fundraising events in NYC – bringing his total this year to 69 fundraisers, 65 for his campaign.” (Mark Knoller, Twitter Feed, 11/30/11)
Obama Has Already Held More Fundraisers “Than The Last Five Presidents Did The Year Before They Sought Re-Election.” “That’s already more than the last five presidents did the year before they sought re-election,’ says Brendan Doherty, assistant professor of political science at the U.S. Naval Academy.” (Richard Wolf, “Obama Revs Up Fundraising For Re-Election Bid,” USA Today, 9/27/11)
Has Put Access On The Menu For His Fundraisers
Obama Big Donor Fundraiser Guarantees An “‘Informal’ President, Plus ‘An Open Q & A’ Plus The Sweetener Of ‘Candids.’” “The brunch is limited to 50 couples, will feature an ‘informal’ president, plus ‘an open Q & A’ plus the sweetener of ‘candids’ — photos of guests in conversation with the 44th president. It is being hosted by former Microsoft chief operating officer Jon Shirley.” (Joel Connelly, “Obama Brunch: $35,800 Buys More Come-Ons,” Seattlepi’s “Strange Bedfellows.,” 9/8/11)
Obama’s 2008 Bundlers Had At Least 3,000 Meetings At The White House, Plus “Broad Access” To Obama Officials And “Glitzy Social Events.” “The big bundlers had broad access to the White House for meetings with top administration officials and glitzy social events. In all, campaign bundlers and their family members account for more than 3,000 White House meetings and visits. Half of them raised $200,000 or more.” (Fred Schulte, John Aloysius Farrell, And Jeremy Borden, “Obama Rewards Big Bundlers With Jobs, Commissions, Stimulus Money, Government Contracts, And More,” IWatch, 6/15/11)
And Cultivates Special Interest Support
Obama Is Ignoring His Pledge To Not Take Money From Lobbyists, Raising Millions From “Prominent Supporters Who Are Active In The Lobbying Industry.” “Despite a pledge not to take money from lobbyists, President Obama has relied on prominent supporters who are active in the lobbying industry to raise millions of dollars for his re-election bid.” (Eric Lichtblau, “Obama Backers Tied To Lobbies Raise Millions,” The New York Times, 10/27/11)
- At Least 15 Of Obama’s Bundlers Are In The Lobbying Industry And Have Raised Over $5 Million For Obama’s Reelection Campaign. “At least 15 of Mr. Obama’s ‘bundlers’ — supporters who contribute their own money to his campaign and solicit it from others — are involved in lobbying for Washington consulting shops or private companies. They have raised more than $5 million so far for the campaign.” (Eric Lichtblau, “Obama Backers Tied To Lobbies Raise Millions,” The New York Times, 10/27/11)
The Bundlers Show The Obama Ethics Policies Do Not Match The “On-The-Ground Practices.” “But the prevalence of major Obama fund-raisers who also work in the lobbying arena threatens to undercut the president’s ethics push, raising questions about whether the campaign’s policies square with its on-the-ground practices, some of those same watchdogs say.” (Eric Lichtblau, “Obama Backers Tied To Lobbies Raise Millions,” The New York Times, 10/27/11)
Rarely has an incumbent given the opposition party such an easy target. Why did Obama bother to oppose this bill anyway? He would have been better off if the fund quietly disappeared, rather than give Republicans a chance to talk about it again during the campaign.
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
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