President Barack Obama used the online springboard provided by Reddit to dive into the media crush at the GOP convention, with a skillfully executed call for a constitutional amendment to curb the free-speech of wealthier people and corporations.
“I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United. … Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change,” Obama said during 4:30 p.m. EST online event.
The publicity-grabbing gambit complements his campaign-theme portrayal of himself as the defender of middle-class Americans, and Gov. Mitt Romney as the champion of wealthy, job-exporting plutocrats.
The proposal also helps shift the media’s focus away from the stalled economy, record unemployment, debts and deficits.
“Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs,” Obama told his Reddit audience.
Those super PACs “fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens,” he declared.
Obama’s new focus on spending curbs comes as he is being out-raised by Romney.
He’s been out-raised partly because many of Obama’s 2008 Wall Street donors are instead supporting Romney.
Obama’s comment did not discuss his own fundraising history.
He’s raised more than a $1 billion over his career, and he spurned federal fund-raising limits in 2008 to eventually outspend his Republican opponent by roughly two to one.
The Supreme Court’s 2010 “Citizens United” decision knocked down curbs on companies’ political donations that fuel political free speech. During the Supreme Court’s hearing, an Obama-appointed lawyer said the law could be used to ban political movies or books.
The court’s five to four decision prompted howls of protest from Democrats, who get a higher proportion of their political donations from unions and professionals.