Obama campaigning, fighting attack ads

Oct. 12, 2010 at 3:06 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama will be in campaign mode for the rest of October, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday.

Obama has been playing Democratic cheerleader-in-chief this week, trying to reverse voter anger at incumbent Democrats while at the same time piquing interest in who is behind attack ads aimed at changing the congressional leadership.

Gibbs said more than $150 million has been spent on negative campaign attack ads that don't identify who is behind them.

"The president started this in the State of the Union, and has continued to discuss the notion that we -- that our democracy is threatened by the fact that big groups and big interests can come in and anonymously attack those that they disagree with, that the voters don't have an opportunity to see who those funders are, and all the White House and all the president has asked is that those involved make their -- those donors' identities known, on either side of the spectrum," Gibbs said. The way for such ads was opened by a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year that struck down portions of campaign finance law.

Gibbs took the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to task in particular, calling on the organization to allow reporters to see who is supplying the $75 million to $80 million that has been funneled to its attack ads.

"It's about big money, special interests, that are trying to take over an agenda without letting you know who they are and what their agenda is," Gibbs said.

Obama has a hectic schedule beginning with Friday's fundraiser for U.S. Senate candidate Chris Coons in Wilmington, Del. He is expected to be in Boston Saturday for a fundraiser for Gov. Deval Patrick, and Sunday he is set to hit Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, for fundraisers for Gov. Ted Strickland and the Democratic National Committee. Next week Obama heads for Portland, Ore., Seattle and Los Angeles, then on to Las Vegas; San Francisco; Minneapolis; Dayton, Ohio; and Providence, R.I.

Gibbs said he expects Obama to spend Election Night in Washington.

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