President Barack Obama has spent over $100 Million in political ads so far to gain re-election. Some wonks wondered if one of the ads featured the President strolling by some columns, which could have been the Colonnade by the Rose Garden in the White House. This scene had been the site for many images from President George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign. Obama’s Forward walk image was brief file footage and the complaint seemed somewhat picayune.
Mitt Romney (R-MA) scored a hit with his ad which featured small businessmen reacting to candidate Obama’s bluster that entrepreneurs did not build their own businesses. In fact, the Romney campaign has been using the gaffe as a means to sell “I Build This Business, Mr. President” t-shirts as campaign fundraisers.
Thus the Obama campaign rushed out a political ad to respond to what they contend is a misrepresentations by Mitt. An informed voter can watch the Obama Roanoke clip and decide for yourself if lack of teleprompters was to blame, if it was merely inelegant utterances on the stump or if Obama’s opponents are distorting the record. The problem is the setting for Mr. Obama’s video response.
Unfortunately, the Obama’s “Always” ad, was recorded in the West Wing. Jake Tapper recognized that Mr. Obama was seated in his Chief of Staff Jacob Lew’s office. White House officials confirm the setting.
This would seem to be a de facto violation of the 1939 Hatch Act which, in part, prohibits partisan political activity in government offices. This would include using official authority to interfere with an election or engage in political activity in a government office. Congressmen routinely vacate their offices on Capitol Hill to Democrat or Republican Clubs to make campaign calls.
A close viewing of Obama’s “Always” ad begins with a hard cut “Those ads”. Perhaps editors realized that by naming Romney it would have been an overt violation of the Hatch Act.
Obama supporters have made excuses for their candidate’s actions. Some cite the fact that the White House is government housing so there is not an easily accessible safe place for candidate Obama to make partisan retorts. Obama officials noted that prior Presidents, including Ford, Carter, Reagan and Clinton had shots of them in the Oval Office when proffering partisan propaganda. Melenie Sloan from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government gives Obama’s actions approbation as it did not involve solicitation, but she noted that Americans like to think of the White House as being sacrosanct and above partisan politics.
Between the politization of the Holder Department of Justice for suing states on Voter ID laws on the flimsiest of grounds and not prosecuting aspects of DOMA or Immigration Law which do not strike their political fancy and this flaunting of the spirit of the Hatch Act, it is hard to avoid an impression that in the Obama regime, there is a blending of partisan politics and governance.
As a political animal who supports the rule of law, I urge Mr. Obama to close the Hatch and adhere to the laws on the books.