Obama slams recess 'attack ads' in call for campaign finance bill

President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaKrystal Ball tears into 'Never Trump' Republicans Sanders campaign announces it contacted over 1 million Iowa voters Iowa Steak Fry to draw record crowds for Democrats MORE used his Saturday radio address to call for completion of campaign-finance reform legislation that is stalled in the Senate.

A day after he began a family vacation on Martha's Vineyard, and on the heels of a difficult week politically, Obama sought to portray the Disclose Act — legislation to make political advertisements more transparent — as an example of how Democrats are trying to fix a Washington that many Americans believe is broken and how Republicans are standing in their way.

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"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," Obama said. "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."

Changing that, Obama said, should be "common sense."

"You’d think that reducing corporate and even foreign influence over our elections wouldn’t be a partisan issue," he said. "But the Republican leaders in Congress said no. In fact, they used their power to block the issue from even coming up for a vote."

While he attacked Senate Republicans, Obama also again went after the Supreme Court, whose decision in the Citizens United case prompted congressional Democrats to write the Disclose Act.

The reason for this summer's crop of shadowy campaign ads, Obama said, "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."

"You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation," Obama said. "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.'"


Democrats in Congress — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — this week demanded to know who was funding a campaign critical of plans for a mosque and Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero in Manhattan.

The mosque controversy hounded Obama all week and came on top of the release of a number of bad performance polls, including a poll showing that nearly one-fifth of Americans falsely believe that Obama is a Muslim.

Trying to regain some momentum in the debate, Obama chastised Republicans for blocking the Disclose Act, saying it "can only mean that the leaders of the other party want to keep the public in the dark."

"The only people who don’t want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide," the president said.