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Axelrod defends Obama's super-PAC decision

"This doesn't mean that we believe this is the best way for the system to function," Axelrod said on MSNBC. "The president's going to continue to fight for ways to reform that system in the future, but that's not going to happen in this campaign, and we have to live in the world as it is, not as we want it to be."

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The Obama reelection campaign on Monday night announced its support of Priorities USA, a top Democratic super-PAC allowed to raise unlimited funds. The campaign will walk the line of the 2010 Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case — a ruling that made super-PACs legal and that Obama opposed — by sending campaign officials to Priorities USA fundraising events. Obama, Vice President Biden and their spouses will not appear at fundraising events, however. 

"The bottom line here is that the Citizens United decision was a bad decision from our perspective, it did open the floodgates, but now the rules are what the rules are," Axelrod said. 

Axelrod doubled down on the arguments of Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, who on Monday said the decision was necessary to combat the super-PACs that are supporting GOP candidates. Axelrod raised the specter of Karl Rove and the billionaire Koch brothers, who he said funnel money into anti-Obama campaigns. 

"We've got a stronger fundraising base among small donors than we did even four years ago," Axelrod said, arguing the super-PAC will supplement the grassroots fundraising.

"I don't imagine that it's going to be able to compete with the array of guns pointing at us, but it may help offset that advantage to some degree," he said.