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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

August 27, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Washington state Republicans adore Citizens United

TAMPA, Fla. — Washington state’s delegation at the Republican National Convention starts off each day at their waterfront hotel with a 9 a.m. breakfast featuring a guest speaker.

On Monday, they heard from David Bossie, the president of the conservative group Citizens United — which famously won a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2010 that said the government could not restrict independent political spending by corporations or unions.

That ruling has been lamented by Democrats and some campaign-finance watchdogs for opening the door to unlimited spending and the age of super PACs.

But as the standing ovation for Bossie here showed, Republicans love the Citizens United decision, saying it is only fair to allow wealthy people to spend their money as they see fit.

“You know it’s a good thing because the left hates it. If they say it’s evil, you know it’s good,” said state Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur, who introduced Bossie as a longtime friend. (Wilbur has been on the board of Citizens United since 1988.)

Citizens United has been in the political movie-making business and has big plans for a new project — an anti-Obama movie called “The Hope and the Change” that will be screened for delegates in Tampa.

That movie tells the stories of 40 independents and Democrats who voted for Obama in 2008, but have come to regret their decision. It’s a project done with all the tactics of a political advertisement aimed straight at the swing-state voters who will decide the 2012 election. Bossie said the filmmakers did focus groups with voters in battleground states in order to craft a message for them.

“They were sold something and they bought something that they didn’t understand,” Bossie said, blaming the media for failing to properly “vet” Obama.

Bossie said Citizens United will announce this week “a major TV deal” that will keep the film on cable channels throughout September and October. As a 501C4 nonprofit, he said, the group plans to keep “educating voters” about their choices, right up through election day.

An ad campaign for the film will air on a variety of outlets, including CNN and even the left-leaning MSNBC, Bossie said. “In the middle of Rachel Maddow’s show, she’s going to go to commercial, and when she comes back, her head will explode,” he said.

Bossie said his inspiration for the effort was lefty filmmaker Michael Moore, whose 2004 movie “Fahrenheit 911” he praised as an effective piece of political propaganda against then-President George Bush. The ad campaign for that movie, Bossie said, was more effective than anything else the Democrats did that year.

“They made the best ads of the cycle,” he said. It’s a feat Bossie wants to replicate.

Comments | More in Politics Northwest | Topics: Citizens United, Convention coverage, president obama

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