Obama decries campaign spending during Air Force One TV interview

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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President Barack Obama used an interview from the luxury cabin of Air Force One to decry campaign spending by himself and his opponents.

“I think the amount of money that is being spent in my campaign and Mr. Romney’s campaign and in the super PACs that are out there is ridiculous,” Obama said on the return leg of his 48-hour Air Force One tour of eight states.

His declaration came the same day that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney traveled by bus to three Ohio rallies — in Cincinnati, Worthington and Defiance.

A new batch of financial reports was published recently, showing that the president has raised $657 million to win re-election in 2012.

Obama suggested he would use a second term — when he can’t run again — to impose limits on other politicians’ spending.

“When the Citizens United [201 Supreme Court] decision came out, I took a fairly unusual step of saying this is bad for our democracy in a State of the Union speech,” he declared.

“I continue to believe that,” said Obama, who has raised roughly $1.5 billion over his 16-year political career. In 2008, he declined to limit his spending in exchange for federal campaign funds, and raised enough funds to outspend his 2008 rival, $740 million to $227 million.

However, his 2012 rival, Romney, has raised $472 million for the race.

Since the Citizens United decision, Obama and his allies have raised $1 billion for the 2012 campaign, according to a calculation by Politico.

Obama’s answers were part of a softball interview by NBC’s Brian Williams, and were broadcast for free during prime time on Oct. 25.

“If you could fix the electoral college or the fact that we’re going to spend a billion dollars electing a president — and Lord knows what cancer cure that [spending] might have started us the road on — which would you do must urgently if you had unlimited powers?” Williams asked Obama.

“I think that’s an easy choice,” Obama replied. The spending “is bad for our democracy… [and] I continue to believe that.”

Currently, the president is lagging in the polls, partly because Romney has raised enough money to run an extensive campaign without support from the news media.

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Neil Munro