WASHINGTON — Stop blocking legislation to limit the amount of money corporations and unions can spend on campaign advertising, President Barack Obama is telling Republicans, saying their strategy is "politics at its worst."
"This is common sense," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday. "In fact, this is the kind of proposal that Democrats and Republicans have agreed on for decades. Yet, the Republican leaders in Congress have so far said 'no.' "
At issue is a Supreme Court ruling that reversed a century-long trend of limiting the power of big money in politics by saying corporations and unions may spend to influence presidential and congressional elections. Republicans, seen as mostly benefiting from the ruling, argue that Democrats are only trying to protect themselves with the bill.
The Democrat-controlled House has passed legislation to scale back the ruling and require greater disclosure by donors. Senate Republicans have blocked it, and it's unlikely that the Senate will act on the measure in time to affect the Nov. 2 elections.
Obama said a partisan minority in Congress wants to "ride this wave of unchecked influence all the way to victory" on Nov. 2. "It's politics at its worst. But it's not hard to understand why," he said.
In response, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Democrats are the ones trying to get the upper hand.
Lawmakers' gala: Obama also came out swinging against Republicans in a fiery campaign-season speech to black lawmakers Saturday night, making an urgent appeal for the kind of grass roots organizing that propelled the civil rights movement. With the GOP hoping to regain power on Capitol Hill in the November election, Obama described his adversaries as "a crowd … that wants to do what's right politically, instead of what's right — period." He never named the opposing party, referring to it as "the other side."