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Obama via Reddit: Consider constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United

President Obama posted this photo to Reddit during his live chat with users August 29.
President Obama posted this photo to Reddit during his live chat with users August 29.

President Obama proposed a constitutional amendment to thwart the Supreme Court's Citizens United verdict, which allowed for unlimited corporate campaign donations, during a chat on social news site Reddit Wednesday.

Several Reddit users asked the president what he will do to stop the influence of money into politics.

The president responded that "money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs; they fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens."

He went on to voice support for the Disclose Act, a piece of legislation supported by Democrats that would have forced anyone making a campaign donation of more than $10,000 to be named, among other disclosures. Senate Republicans filibustered that proposal

"Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn't revisit it)," the president typed. "Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change."

Obama lambasted the Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, and his re-election campaign initially sought to dissuade the use of super PAC money on the Democratic side. The president's campaign was forced to soften that stance earlier this year as Republicans began raising millions for a Republican challenger.

The Reddit conversation, one more presidential first that served to bolster Obama's rep as leader of the first digital presidency, covered a range of topics including Internet freedom, space exploration, and work-life balance.

When asked about the hardest decision he has made thus far in his presidency, Obama answered that it was the troop surge in Afghanistan.

The decision to surge our forces in afghanistan. Any time you send our brave men and women into battle, you know that not everyone will come home safely, and that necessarily weighs heavily on you. The decision did help us blunt the taliban's momentum, and is allowing us to transition to afghan lead - so we will have recovered that surge at the end of this month, and will end the war at the end of 2014. But knowing of the heroes that have fallen is something you never forget.

The president signed off with a reminder to "VOTE IN NOVEMBER," a link to register to vote, and his thoughts on his first Reddit experience: "NOT BAD!"

Read more from the conversation via the Reddit archive.