Gibbs says Obama will keep talking about foreign money for attack ads on the campaign trail

Jon Ward Contributor
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White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that President Obama will continue to talk on the campaign trail about the need for outside political groups to disclose who is funding their TV attack ads.

“The president will continue to make the argument that we don’t know where this money comes from and entities like the Chamber have said they get money from overseas,” Gibbs told reporters at the White House.

“The larger discussion is on disclosing who these donors are.”

Gibbs was asked if Obama was “backing off” the charge that U.S. Chamber of Commerce is using foreign money to fund some of its estimated $75 million in campaign ads, an accusation first leveled by a liberal blog. Obama began talking about the blog report last week, but abruptly dropped it from two fundraiser speeches on Monday night in Miami.

“The president didn’t do a bunch of his stump last night,” Gibbs said. “I expect that the president will continue to bring up the notion that … you’re probably going to see $150-plus million spent on largely negative campaign attack ads where the identity of those funding those attack ads is not known.”

Gibbs was asked if it bothered him that several news organizations, from the New York Times to the Associated Press and also FactCheck.org, have published reports dismissing the accusation against the Chamber.

“It doesn’t bother me at all,” Gibbs said. “If I was an enterprising reporter … I might ask the Chamber of Commerce to let me see their donors.”

Reporters asked Gibbs about the Center for American Progress, the liberal think tank that runs ThinkProgress.org, the blog that first accused the Chamber of using foreign money for ads — and does not disclose its donors.

Gibbs said that if CAP was running campaign ads, it should disclose its donors as well.

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