Obama's super PAC flip-flop: 'Hypocrisy or necessity'?

Faced with a potentially massive financial disadvantage, the president reluctantly embraces the same super PACs he once called a "threat to democracy"

President Obama has changed his tune on super PACs, and is now encouraging deep-pocketed supporters to give money to the Obama-aligned Priorities USA.
(Image credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

In a stark reversal of President Obama's long-touted opposition to super PACs, the president's re-election campaign announced Monday that it would encourage deep-pocketed donors to send hefty checks to the Obama-aligned super PAC Priorities USA. Obama fiercely opposed the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, which allowed super PACs to receive unlimited donations from individuals and organizations, and has called super PACs a "threat to democracy." (Read a quick primer on super PACs here.) But with GOP-friendly super PACs piling up mountains of cash, Obama is changing his tune. In a blog post, campaign manager Jim Messina writes, "With so much at stake, we can't allow for two sets of rules in this election whereby the Republican nominee is the beneficiary of unlimited spending and Democrats unilaterally disarm." Is Obama's decision "an act of hypocrisy or necessity?"

Absolute necessity. Obama is right to change his mind: Team Obama's announcement is, "at its core, about tactics, not philosophy," says Buzzfeed. Remember, Obama made a similarly smart (and criticized) decision in 2008, when he reneged "on a pledge to take public financing, accepting the hit on his reform credentials... in exchange for a serious financial advantage over John McCain." This time around, Obama will face a GOP opponent "whose rich friends really will pour tens of millions into outside groups." The president would be foolish to simply cede that advantage.

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