David Axelrod, President Obama’s chief political strategist, defended the campaign’s decision to support fundraising for a pro-Obama super PAC, despite the president’s opposition to outside groups in the past.
Axelrod said the president was not hypocritical to reverse his decision on super PACs, but instead was responding to tens of millions of dollars raised by Republican super PACs.
“We were faced with a situation as to whether we could afford to play by two sets of rules,” Axelrod said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “That doesn't mean that we believe that this is the best way for the system to function.”
The Obama administration announced late on Monday that it would start to publicly support fundraising efforts to the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action. This marked a stark shift in the campaign’s policy toward super PACs, which have come under fire since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision allowed groups to collect unlimited contributions. Obama has slammed super PACs in the past as a corrupting influence in politics.
In a post sent to supporters, Obama Campaign Manager Jim Messina said Democrats cannot “unilaterally disarm,” as Republicans continue to raise tens of millions of dollars.
“We’re up against a tremendous amount of money here,” Axelrod said. “We’ll see what this super PAC does. I don’t imagine that it’s going to be able to compete with the array of guns pointed at us, but it may help offset that advantage to some degree.”