INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (CNN) - Democrat Barack Obama described America's public campaign financing system as "creaky" Friday, and said it needs to be reformed in light of the rise of fundraising over the internet.
"I think that it is creaky," Obama said of the current system that is financed by $3 dollar checkoffs 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 this year.
Earlier this week, Obama told an audience at a fundraiser that his campaign already has something similar to a publicly funded system.
"We have created a parallel public financing system where the American people decide if they want to support a campaign they can get on the Internet and finance it," Obama said, according to a pooled report.
Asked whether he felt the current system of funding campaigns through public money was antiquated, Obama admitted, "It is creaky, and needs to be reformed if it's going to work."
But the White House hopeful was also asked Friday why he personally did not check off the box on his tax returns that would have indicated he'd contribute three dollars to the public fund.
"You know, I have always checked off $3 in the past so I'm going to have to talk to my accountant," Obama said. "That may have been an oversight or a mistake. In all my previous years I have, so I should find out what's going on there."
Obama had indicated last year - before his record-breaking internet fundraising success - that he would opt into public financing if he is the Democratic presidential nominee. But the Illinois senator has since backtracked, telling reporters Friday he would work with Sen. McCain "about how to move forward in a way that doesn't allow third parties to overwhelm the system."
Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for John McCain, said he expects Obama to keep his word in accepting public financing.
"We will always welcome an open discussion with Barack Obama, but he has clearly committed to public financing in the general election should he win his Party’s nomination, and we expect him to keep his word," Bounds said. "Any hedging or clever language from Senator Obama seems more like something you would read in a predatory home-loan, not the 'Audacity of Hope.'"