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In a blog entry at EURweb, Earl Ofari Hutchinson writes that President Barack Obama had no choice but to reverse his decision to back a super PAC run by a former aide. He was facing the threat of being wildly outspent by the GOP nominee had he stood on principle.

President Obama’s reversal on his decision to keep hands off the fundraising efforts of his campaign aligned super PACS raised a few eyebrows among campaign finance reform advocates. This seemed like a betrayal of Obama’s oft stated position that the relentless chase and dependence on fat cat donors to bankroll campaigns has gone way off the deep-end. In 2008, Obama’s said that he’d raise the bulk of his campaign funds from almost literally the nickels and dimes of small donors. That he would not take a penny from lobbyist groups and that he would back an overhaul of the campaign financing rules.


Obama’s sharp attack on the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision that virtually gave free license to corporations to dump money directly into partisan campaigns was cheered by campaign reform advocates. This renewed hope and the expectation that Obama would push Democrats to enact proposed legislation to blunt the court’s decision and restore checks on corporation’s and the financial industry’s power to sway elections. So far that legislation has gotten nowhere in Congress. But Obama’s reversal on Super PACs is not a betrayal of principle. It a reflection of the brutal reality that to run and keep the White House it will cost a pretty penny. There were two glaring things that again drove that brutal reality home to the White House.

The GOP has rebounded from its anemic fund raising takes in 2008 and has drawn almost dead even with the Democrats in fundraising. A huge chunk of the money is coming from its corporate dominated Super PACS. The other thing is Mitt Romney. He will likely be the GOP presidential nominee and is every bit the cash fundraising cow that Obama is. According to recent reports, nearly 60 corporations and individuals dumped more than $100,000 on a super PAC backing Romney. Typical of the hard money pouring in is Bain Capital, Romney’s old outfit. According to the Center for Public Integrity, current and former Bain executives and their relatives have shoved nearly $5 million to organizations that back Romney’s presidential bid.

Read Earl Ofari Hutchinson's entire blog entry at EURweb.