Obama Filming Campaign Ad in West Wing Called ‘Disturbing’

Thursday, 26 Jul 2012 12:17 PM

By Patrick Hobin

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Good-government groups and campaign-finance experts pounced on President Barack Obama’s decision to film a campaign ad inside the West Wing of the White House, ABC News reported.

Though legal, filming a campaign ad in the West Wing is “disturbing,” Meredith McGehee, policy director of the Campaign Legal Center, told ABC News, calling it "an unwise politicization of the highest office in the land."

"The (White House) residence is different,” McGehee said. “Repurposing previous footage is different. But filming in a West Wing office – it may not be precedent-setting but that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do."

In the ad, Obama sits in the White House chief of staff’s office and lays out his view of the choice voters face this November, ABC News reported. The White House told ABC News it had no concern about the propriety the filming, adding that previous presidents did the same thing.

While former President George W. Bush said his campaign consciously avoided filming political ads in the West Wing, others -- including former Presidents Clinton, Reagan Carter, and Ford -- have done so.

"Given that it's not a solicitation, there's no specific prohibition against it," Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government, told ABC News. "Whether it's the best idea, I think that's a separate question. Americans like to think the West Wing is sacrosanct and used only for official business."

"I don't think that political ads should be filmed in the White House," Fred Wertheimer, founder and president of Democracy 21, told ABC News. Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, told the ABC News, "I know there's this pretend division between the residence and the so-called official part of the building, but just because your lawyers say something's OK doesn't mean it's OK. We expected this president to go above and beyond in terms of ethics and adhering to the law."

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