Sugar Daddy in Chief

Five examples of Obama using executive authority to entice key constituencies

August 29, 2012

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has repeatedly accused President Obama of running a cynical, divisive campaign.

"His campaign strategy is to smash America apart and then try to cobble together 51 percent of the pieces," Romney said earlier this month.

And Obama has repeatedly over the past several months used his executive authority to reward certain key constituencies, a process sometimes referred to as "vote buying."

Here are five prominent examples:

1. $12 million in transportation funding for Ohio


Several days before a scheduled campaign event in Ohio last week, the Obama administration announced the release of more than $450 million in unspent high funds to various states as part of the widely mocked "We Can’t Wait" campaign.

Ohio is set to receive more than $12 million for transportation and infrastructure projects.

The White House also announced the launch of a "public-private institute for manufacturing innovation" in Youngstown, Ohio, less than a week before the president’s visit to the state.

2. $170 million in federal aid to Iowa farmers


Obama told supporters in the critical swing state earlier this month that the federal government would purchase $170 million worth of meat and fish from local ranchers for use in federal food assistance programs.

The president also falsely accused Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), of blocking a $500 billion farm bill that would provide disaster assistance to livestock producers and other farmers.

3. $70 million in military aid to Israel


Obama preempted Romney’s visit to the Jewish state in June by announcing $70 million in new military aid to support Israel’s short-range rocket defense system.

During the televised announcement, the president exaggerated the size of the aid package, saying it was "$70 billion."

Obama, who claims to know more about Judaism than any other president, has seen his support among Jewish voters decline in recent months, and has faced criticism for refusing to visit Israel since taking office.

4. Work permits for young illegal immigrants


Looking to shore up his support among Hispanic voters—a crucial constituency for the president if he hopes to win in November—Obama announced a radical shift in federal immigration policy in June, bypassing Congress on the controversial issue.

Under the new policy, which has already taken effect, the administration is offering work permits to young illegal immigrants who meet a certain set of criteria. As many as 800,000 illegal immigrants could be eligible for the program, which the Department of Homeland Security estimates could cost as much as $585 million.

5. Free birth control

President Obama, Sandra Fluke / AP

The president sought to shore up his support among young, single women in January with the announcement of a controversial new rule that would force all employers to offer free birth control coverage in their health insurance plans, with no exemption for religious organizations.

Key Democratic strategist Sandra Fluke said the new rule would save her more than $1,000 per year.