Last night President Obama announced that he will join his Republican counterparts in suckling from the opaque, monied teat of super PACs. "Our campaign has to face the reality of the law as it currently stands," Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina wrote in an email to supporters. "We're not going to fight this fight with one hand tied behind our back," Messina added later. "Democrats can't be unilaterally disarmed." Mutually assured destruction has been achieved.
Obama has a history of opposing super PACs and the Citizen's United decision that emboldened them. As Greg Sergeant notes, he and other Democrats attempted to pass a law that would outlaw non-disclosure and limit money pouring in from corporations and special interest groups.
But after tallying the fundraising numbers for the GOP's super PACs and outside groups ($94 million to the Democrats' $98 million war chest) it makes sense that the president, who has said he wants a second term "badly," would start pushing donors to give to the super PAC run by his former staffers, Priorities USA Action. Close aides and campaign surrogates will give speeches to the PAC, but the president and First Lady will not personally pimp the organization.
“Would I love to take some of the big money out of politics? I would,” Obama recently told NBC. “Unfortunately, right now partly because of Supreme Court rulings and a bunch of decisions out there, it is very hard to get your message out without having some resources.” And by "resources," the president means "an unyielding trough of money available to those willing to kneel before the altar of cynicism." The president's support of Priorities USA also makes it unlikely that he'll push for a constitutional amendment overturning CItizens United on the campaign trail (not that Congressional Republicans would allow it anyway).
To give you an idea of how much super PACs have influenced the campaign, there has been a 1,600% increase in super PAC-sponsored television ads compared to 2008, before the Citizens United decision.