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The Obama re-election campaign, insisting it cannot “afford to play by two sets of rules,” has announced publicly that it will encourage donations to Priorities USA, its allied Super PAC — and is working hard to justify the decision in the face of inevitable media (and partisan) blowback.

Observers immediately reminded voters that Obama called out the Supreme Court justices in his 2011 State of the Union speech for their Citizens United decision, which, coupled with related rulings, enabled unlimited Super PAC donations. But it is also true that efforts by Obama and Democrats in Congress to mitigate that ruling via the DISCLOSE Act were blocked by the Republican minority in the Senate in 2010.

National Memo Editor-in-Chief Joe Conason appeared on MSNBC’s Jansing & Co. Tuesday morning to discuss the matter — and questioned Republican outrage over Obama’s choice:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Senior campaign officials held a conference to follow up on their announcement, saying the president, vice president, and first lady will not take part in Priorities USA fundraising, but that the campaign would lend logistical and other support to the committee. They repeatedly invoked the Cold War concept of mutually assured destruction, insisting they could not “unliterally disarm” when it comes to third-party spending.

Wealthy Democratic donors now have the green light to back Priorities and other outside groups helping the president.

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