Protesters interrupted a campaign event for President Barack Obama at Bowling Green State University in Ohio Tuesday, chanting and holding signs to demand money be taken out of politics.
On banners, messages read "Buck the Billionaires"—a reference to powerful super PAC donors—"amend the Constitution"—referring to a proposed constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision—and "$$ = Free Speech" (money is not equal to free speech). At one point, the protesters reportedly chanted: "Super PACs are trying to steal Ohio," and the president replied back: "That's right."
The protesters are part of a new initiative called "Take the Money Out," a group of climate change, health and other activists who think the cash politicians raise corrupts them. "One of the root causes of AIDs is an incredibly powerful pharmaceutical lobby that gives money to both candidates," Jennifer Flynn, an AIDs activist and spokeswoman for the initiative. "We wanted to make sure we were highlighting this problem during the campaign."
Protesters from Take the Money Out have already showed up at eight campaign events and say they will be attending almost all campaign events for both candidates going forward.
During an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit last month, President Obama said he wanted to do more to tackle what he sees as the problem of money in politics. "Super-PACs... fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens," the president wrote. "I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United."
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