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Does Obama Really Need a Super PAC?

Yesterday, there was news the Obama campaign would be starting a Super PAC before the 2012 election. Alana posted about it, stating: “After blasting Super PACs as the source of everything evil in politics for the past two years, the Obama campaign has suddenly done an about face and openly started working with one. But, as Jim Messina stressed on the campaign blog last night, it’s not because Obama wants to. No, it’s because he needs to, in order to win the election. And as we all know, winning is more important anything, especially principles and personal integrity.”

Today, on the Politico website, a poll asked visitors: “What do you think of President Obama’s decision to throw his support behind a Super PAC?” Of the respondents to this incredibly unscientific poll, 59 percent of people thought: “It’s necessary. He can’t win with one arm tied behind his back.”

Without Super PACs, how much of a disadvantage would Obama really be in a general election? In July, the Huffington Post reported Obama’s record-breaking fundraising numbers–$86 million in just three months, which outpaced the total fundraising by all the Republican challengers combined by more than double.

As evidenced by last night’s Rick Santorum sweep, the Republican primary battles are likely to be drawn out and expensive for all three possible nominees. While money doesn’t necessarily buy victory (again, as evidenced last night by the cash-strapped Santorum campaign), it does help buy firepower like the Obama campaign’s 30-minute long informercial at the end of the 2008 election.

Going into the general election, whomever the Republican nominee is, will be at an incredible financial disadvantage. The Obama campaign is going to have a fundraising edge over his opponent that will make the race appear to be between David and Goliath.

The decision to take Super PAC money will likely only increase Obama’s exponentially larger coffers by a few fold. As Alana discussed, that could be more damaging in further alienating the far left who have spent the last two years calling the Citizens United ruling the most dangerous to the political process and freedom in decades. It opens yet another opportunity for the GOP to call Obama on yet another broken promise, highlighting his hypocrisy on yet another issue.  The response to the Super PAC decision is an opportunity for the nominee and the party. It’s an admission that Super PACs aren’t as unethical as they have been portrayed during the past two years and that Obama once again plays by his own set of rules. If Obama wants to make this election premised on class warfare, the Republican nominee can, and should, point out who the unprincipled one percent of the race is at every given opportunity.



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