April 11th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
4 years ago

McCain hits Obama on public financing commitment

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John McCain hit Obama on public financing Friday.
John McCain hit Obama on public financing Friday.

(CNN) - John McCain criticized Barack Obama on Friday for appearing to backtrack from a previous commitment to accept public financing - and the spending caps that come with it - for his presidential campaign.

"He committed to it," McCain told reporters Friday. "So in direct contradiction to his rhetoric, he’s now saying well he may not do it. So facts are facts. Facts are stubborn things." "I repeat my commitment to public financing if he will, and I call on him to keep his commitment that he made a year ago, and not flip flop," McCain also said.

The Arizona Republican's comments are in reference to those made by Obama earlier in the day, when he called America's public financing system "creaky" and suggested it need to be updated in light of the rise of internet fundraising.

"I think that it is creaky," Obama said of the current system that is financed by $3 dollar check-offs in tax returns. "The amount of money raised through the public financing system may be substantially lower than the amount of money that can be raised over the Internet, which presents candidates then with some pretty tough decisions in terms of how they want to move forward if they want to compete in as many states as possible."

Obama has raised over $230 million from about 1.3 million donors on the internet since his campaign began last year. McCain has raised approximately $80 million in the same time period. Should Obama accept public financing, he would be granted $84 million by the federal government and would be unable to spend any more, according to the Associated Press.


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soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. peter

    Big donors are among Obama's backers, read the washington post article about Obama's big donors. No information here.

    April 11, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  2. Counting Down

    Well, maybe if McCain were not getting a free ride from the media he would also agree that facts are stubborn things.

    I am an Obama supporter, but I will vote Hillary if it's between Hillary and McCain. I think we need to focus on rebuilding American lives and not whoever the next "enemy" is. McCain, you are the one that is out of touch. You are contradictory as well. Why won't you vote for the Webb G.I. Bill? Why are you suddenly for Bush's tax cuts? McCain, I wouldn't get so confident so soon.

    April 11, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  3. Angry democrat08

    THE SYSTEM IS CREAKY, AND MC SAME IS JUST SCARED THAT COME NOVEMBER OBAMA'S GONNA CRUSH HIM WITH THAT 230 MILLION..THE DEMOCRATS WILL BE VICTORIOUS NO MATTER WHAT.

    DEMOCRAT 08

    April 11, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  4. Mark in Kalamazoo

    Surprise Surprise Surprise..... NOBAMA not living up to his word... CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN!! .... or not.

    April 11, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. Sarah C

    Is this the same McCain who is currently breaking campaign financing law, because he signed up for public campaign funds so he could get loans and on the ballot in Ohio and then afterward opted to back out without getting the approval of the committee?

    Yeah, okay. McCain has zero credibility on this issue.

    April 11, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  6. GL

    Funny how McSame mentions nothing about limiting third party ads. Only reason he is focusing on this is because he knows he cannot compete head to head. Oh how I cannot wait for their first debate; Kennedy/Nixon all over again....

    John McCain, I respect very much you service to this country. However, I would much rather see you retire and enjoy your goledn years, as opposed to running for President and ruining mine.

    April 11, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  7. Tejano

    The word I would use to describe the financing of campaigns is not Creaky, but LEAKY. There are so many loopholes in the law that allow people like Oprah and Soros to pour millions of dollars into a candidates election without accountability.

    All of these left wing organizations are already getting money from
    the Hollywood elite and Big Money donors that want a World Government imposed on Americans.

    Let's put a sign on the Statute of Liberty. "America is not for Sale".
    Even though our politicians may be.

    April 11, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. Adrian

    OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  9. Chris W.

    What don't people understand? OBAMA NEVER COMMITTED TO PUBLIC FINANCING!!!

    He pledged (and I quote FROM the piece of paper McCain is pointing to) "If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election."

    He was definitely favoring public financing, but he NEVER (quote) "made a pledge to the American people" that he would do it. Calling McCain's logic a stretch would be an understatement, as he and the RNC are spinning this out of pure desperation.

    Open your eyes, people!

    April 11, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  10. T L

    With the way Obama spent on ads, he can't beat McCain with public financing. Backing out of his commitment will be seen as a liar. This is gonna be interesting.

    April 11, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  11. MickyD10

    Wasn't McCain's campaign begging supporters for cash just yesterday?

    April 11, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  12. NickSanDiego

    John McCain: Obamaaaaaa you HAVE to give in a limit your cash or how on EARTH will we be able to overwhelm you with swiftboat attacks and rumors. If you have the Money to send out the TRUTH it will never work like it did on Kerry!

    WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

    April 11, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  13. Susan, TX

    Please McCain, get off of your high horses, will you! I am one of those people who contributed to Obama's campaign. I would rather see "ordinary" people who contribute small dollar amounts versus large corporations, special interest groups & lobbyists. Why are you harping on this? Does it bother you that Obama has been able to raise millions from the "ordinary" people and you are getting only contributions from those that we despise?

    April 11, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. radster

    Again?

    Is he going to do this EVERY DAY UNTIL NOV?

    'Cause if it's up to me, he should go ahead. And I'll donate $5 and make 5 calls for Barry every time he does.

    April 11, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  15. Nunya

    Yes, indeed facts are stubborn things.

    Fact: Obama did not commit to public financing.

    Fact: He said he would seek an agreement with the Republican nominee about it.

    Fact: The Republican nominee saying 'this is the one and only way that you will do it' is not trying to reach an agreement – it's grandstanding.

    Fact: Obama has not gone back on his word in the least.

    April 11, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  16. Bill

    Obama is all words, words that he will never keep. His autobiography should be in the fiction section at the the bookstore. BTW where is Michelle these days, has she been sent into hiding with Wright? So she won't accidently spout out some more anti-American sentiments she picked up at that racist church, she and BO attends.

    April 11, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  17. bk

    Obama is supposed to be honest. This looks dishonest on his part. He tells one lie after another. They need to do a fact check on Obama.

    April 11, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  18. get real

    What's funny is that Obama signed a pledge along with John McCain.

    Guess who's backing out? That's right... Obama (The flip flopper)...

    How many times has Obama been caught with his double talk?

    How many times will he have to be caught before you Obamabots finally figure out that this guy will say or do anything to get elected?

    Hillary '08, or reluctantly McCain.

    April 11, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  19. Jacob

    It's time for McCain to make a trip to the old folks home compliments of all the lobbyist who back him.

    I'm wondering when he will get the facts correct on Iraq.

    April 11, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  20. John

    I think McCain ought to focus on his maps of the Middle East. Al-Qaeda is NOT in Iran!

    April 11, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  21. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    McSame calling someone else a flip-flopper??? Puh-lease!

    He used to oppose Dumbya's tax cuts for the wealthy, he now supports them for political reasons.

    He used to support comprehensive immigration reform, he now opposes his own bill for political reasons.

    He used to oppose torture, he just voted for a bill that supports it.

    Bring on the flip-flopper language Flip McSame!

    Democrats unite against this corporatist!

    April 11, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  22. Chris in Va.

    He just knows what cheapskates the Republican base is. They love blowing hot air and feeling superior to others, but when it comes time to put their money where their mouth is all you hear is crickets chirping in the room.

    April 11, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  23. lindacisme

    It's not the first time Obama is saying one thing and will do another (see trade talk w/ Canada), and it won't be the last.

    Twenty years sitting in church with a pastor (mentor, no less), speaking to his whole family, including his kids, listening to anti white, anti Jewish remarks. And he runs on good judgement?

    Obamamites have been carried away with preaching and high talk with no resume behinhd the man.

    People who are voting for him are wasting their Democratic Vote – the Republicans will skin him.

    April 11, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  24. Glen

    Yeah, Obama for change. Once they have spent on his election, do you think there won't be payback? He owes big business so much already there won't be space for the American people. The same old tired politician pretending to be new.

    April 11, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  25. Ken Churchill

    The main purpose of campaign finance reform was to stop large corporations and wealthy doners from buying influance in government. Now that we the people are contributing more to Barack's campaign that McCain can get from rich donors and large corporations he is complaining about it because Barack can out collect and spend him in the election.

    The media should be reminding people of this point.

    Finally, in this election the people are going to buy and election and we are going to finally have a candidate that will serve all of our interests, not just the special interests.

    April 11, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
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