Saturday, March 17, 2012

Politics News: Koch Brothers, Obama Campaign Trade Harsh Rhetoric

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President Obama’s campaign manager and several prominent conservative donors are trading jabs over Super PAC money. In an e-mail to supporters Friday, Obama for America manager Jim Messina singled out oil magnates David and Charles Koch for sponsoring a campaign event for Mitt Romney, writing:

“Those are the same Koch brothers whose business model is to make millions by jacking up prices at the pump, and who have bankrolled Tea Party extremism and committed $200 million to try to destroy President Obama before Election Day.”

The Koch brothers — who have donated to candidates through the Americans for Prosperity Super PAC — responded to the Obama campaign in an open letter on the Koch Industries website Saturday.

“... it is an abuse of the President’s position and does a disservice to our nation for the President and his campaign to criticize private citizens simply for the act of engaging in their constitutional right of free speech about important matters of public policy.”

Last April, an internal memo in the Romney camp described the Koch brothers as “the financial engine of the Tea Party.” says, in the last 20 years, Koch Industries has donated more than $11 million to conservative candidates and causes — and The Nation says Romney could see more of that money.

“David and Charles Koch pledged to spend $60 million during the 2012 election to defeat President Obama, which would no doubt give a major boost to Romney if and when he becomes the GOP nominee.”

Democrats have been quick to highlight the Kochs’ ties with Republicans — namely Romney. CNN contributor Hilary Rosen says that relationship is meant to protect the interests of big oil.

“Oil companies don’t give consumers the benefit of dropped prices... You know, when you look at a plan like Mitt Romney’s, it doesn’t take on oil because he’s funded — you know, his super PAC is funded by the Koch brothers.”

But the Koch brothers’ defenders say the donors have worked within their constitutional rights — provided by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2010 that paved the way for unrestricted Super PAC money. A columnist for the New York Post says the Kochs have been easy targets for Democrats.

“Why have the Kochs become such a lightning rod in the media? Koch's no-holds-barred honesty about the fiscal calamity ... is not exactly a ‘forks-up’ conversation among the liberal crowd ... Then there's the messy business of what Koch Industries does -- refines oil, cuts down trees, makes paper products.

The Romney campaign stop Saturday marked the candidate’s third time speaking at an event hosted by Americans for Prosperity.

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