Barack Obama uses radio address to take aim at corporate political ads


In the 8/21/10 edition of his weekly radio address to the nation, President Barack Obama took Republicans to task for blocking legislation which would have placed legislative band-aids on political spending from corporations and other groups in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

“As the political season heats up, Americans are already being inundated with the usual phone calls, mailings, and TV ads from campaigns all across the country,” said Obama. “But this summer, they’re also seeing a flood of attack ads run by shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names. We don’t know who’s behind these ads and we don’t know who’s paying for them.”

He continued, “The reason this is happening is because of a decision by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case – a decision that now allows big corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence our elections.  They can buy millions of dollars worth of TV ads – and worst of all, they don’t even have to reveal who is actually paying for them. You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation. You don’t know if it’s BP. You don’t know if it’s a big insurance company or a Wall Street Bank. A group can hide behind a phony name like ‘Citizens for a Better Future,’ even if a more accurate name would be ‘Corporations for Weaker Oversight.’”

He cited Teddy Roosevelt, an early proponent of keeping corporate cash out of the electoral process, and said it should be a bipartisan issue. “This is an issue that goes to whether or not we will have a democracy that works for ordinary Americans – a government of, by, and for the people.  Let’s show the cynics and the special interests that we still can.”

RBR-TVBR observation: We are a little surprised Obama picked this topic to highlight – but maybe it’s because making noise about the issue is about all that’s left to do in this campaign cycle, or at least so we believe. Even if Democrats could somehow pull off the unlikely feat of breaking a Republican filibuster, it is virtually impossible to put any kind of legislation on a fast-enough track to impact the 2010 mid-terms.