A Gun to the Gun Fight

In the summer of 2008, revving up for the general-election campaign against John McCain, Barack Obama raised some eyebrows by telling a group of Philadelphians: “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” He wasn’t talking about fundraising specifically—he was emphasizing his ability to give a punch as well as take it—but he might as well have been: Obama also dismayed some supporters by eschewing the public financing system to make sure he had more than enough artillery ($750 million, in fact) to fend off the Republicans that year. Today’s announcement that the Obama campaign was embracing a super PAC, Priorities USA, to make major bank for his re-election bid inspired a similar outcry. NBC’s First Read said that it “looks hypocritical no matter how you try and rationalize it,” given the president’s outspoken opposition to Citizens United. 

There certainly was some rationalizing, as Obama officials noted that 60 percent of donations to their campaign are under $200 (while 99 percent of Priorities USA’s 2011 haul came in donations over $25,000). But the decision came down, they not surprisingly said, to pure pragmatics, as the campaign squares off against the billionaire Koch Brothers and the Romney-backing Restore Our Future, which last year hauled in $30.2 million to Priorities USA’s $4.4 million. “We’re not going to fight this fight with one hand tied behind our back,” said Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, reviving the martial metaphors of 2008. “Democrats can’t be unilaterally disarmed.” 

So They Say

  • “If we are to achieve the goals we share, we must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern.”—Mitt Romney, 1994
  • “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and, as president, I will protect traditional marriage and appoint judges who interpret the Constitution as it is written and not according to their own politics and prejudices.”—Mitt Romney, today

Daily Meme: Mini-Tuesday

  • Romney won the Minnesota caucus easily in 2008; this time, Rick Santorum is the favorite.
  • Anticipating Santorum victories in Missouri and Minnesota, Romney trains his fire on the former Pennsylvania senator. 
  • Romney expects to win in Colorado—with Santorum poised for a strong second-place finish
  • Newt Gingrich exults: “It’s going to be a good day for Santorum and a relatively bad day for Romney.”
  • The Romney campaign downplays today’s three contests.
  • Can Ron Paul rekindle his revolution in Minnesota and Maine? 
  • Is Santorum benefiting from a new round of culture wars?
  • Do today’s results really matter

What We're Writing

Minnesota not-so-nice: Patrick Caldwell explains how the state’s once-pragmatic Republicans became right-wingers. 
Jamelle Bouie explodes the myth of the “Obama independent.” 

What We're Reading

  • “Obama Gay Marriage Evolution Watch: Day 468.” 
  • The 24/7 news cycle is dumbing down coverage of the 2012 campaign. 
  • Former Senator Bob Kerrey won’t run in Nebraska, dashing a Democratic hope…
  • …as Democrats scramble against the clock to find a candidate for Ben Nelson’s open seat. 
  • Separated by birth? Striking similarities between Newt Gingrich and Dwight Schrute. 


Poll of the Day

  • Two new polls find that a majority of Catholics support the Obama administration’s contraception mandate for religiously affiliated employers. 
  • In one of the surveys, 46 percent of Catholics said they were less likely to vote for Romney because of his opposition.