June 19th, 2008
12:00 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama decides to decline public financing

CNN

Watch Sen. Obama's announcement Thursday that he will not accept public financing for the general election campaign.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama has decided not to accept public financing for his campaign, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee told supporters Thursday.

WATCH Candy Crowley on Obama's decision

In an e-mail message, Obama said his decision means that his campaign will forego over $80 million in public funds.

In exchange for taking public funds, candidates usually agree to a cap on the amount of money they can spend on their campaigns.

"It's not an easy decision, and especially because I support a robust system of public financing of elections," Obama wrote. "But the public financing of presidential elections as it exists today is broken, and we face opponents who've become masters at gaming this broken system."

Obama has repeatedly broken campaign fundraising records during the Democratic primary season. Since January of 2007, has raised over $272 million.

Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, raised less than half of that, roughly $100 million, over the same period.

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soundoff (570 Responses)
  1. Heather

    Go Barack! We'll help you get there.

    June 19, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  2. tomagoose

    Another great step for who will surely be a great leader! Go Obama! America needs you, the world needs you. It's time for us to change the vision of America for so many!

    June 19, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  3. Kenneth M

    THAT IS FUNNY, THE REPUBLCANS GETTING UPSET BY A DEMOCRATE FOR NOT TAKING MONEY FROM THE GOVERNMENT, AND A REPUBLICAN BEING INVESTIGATED FOR TAKING TOO MUCH MONEY FROM THE GOVERNMENT. YOU COULD JUST END THE DRAMA BY JUST VOTING OBAMA. IT WOULD MAKE THINGS A LOT BETTER FOR YOU AND YOUR MOMMA.

    June 19, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  4. ???

    No lobbyist money, no public finance money, next thing we know he'll tell oil companies to shove their money you-know-where! Obama Ba-rocks!

    June 19, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  5. peggy

    VERY SMART MOVE.

    The system IS broken. Now McCain will make it look like he backtracked. but NO he would be stupid to accept public financing.

    June 19, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. robert ga

    Obama has a point, he is new to all this, and its a smart move to counter Mccain and his 527 supporters. Mccain has done this campaign thing before and knows why he is accepting public funding. I bet he was hoping to get one over Obama.
    Flip Flop by who, This is not a policy position, he is responding to his ability to get support from ordinary americans. Flip flop is Mccain switching his policy position on Not Drilling to Drilling in America's reserves for a less than 1% gain in oil production that will come good in 10yrs and have absolutely not impact on rising oil prices. May I go on.
    Go Dems

    June 19, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  7. Rational thoughts

    Now that's change (read: business as usual) that you can believe in

    June 19, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  8. seth

    Look deep into your hearts people, past any hardened notions of partisanship, or disliking Democrats simply because you have for so long. John McCain is not suited to lead the most powerful nation in the world.

    Obama is young, intelligent, clear-headed, eager and above all else has proven fantastic judgment. His plan, much like Abe Lincoln, is to fill his cabinet with members from both parties. He will choose the best people, not the best Democrats.

    John McCain is going to stock the entire gov.t full of hard-line republicans that will continue to dismantle our social programs, overturn a woman's right to choose, keep the behemoth war machine rolling along, and eventually destroy our nation from within.

    Don't do it.

    June 19, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  9. p Coleman

    WOULD YOU PLEASE TAKE DOWN THE STORY ABOUT THE PIGS, THIS IS BAD NEWS, SOMETHING WE THE PUBLIC DO NOT NEED TO KNOW, REALLY DO NOT NEED TO KNOW, IF YOU HAVE TO MAKE THIS YOUR TOP STORY YOU ARE PATHETIC.

    June 19, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  10. Speechless

    Sen. Obama has backtracked from his previous commitment to accept public financing? I am shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

    June 19, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  11. Nicole in NE

    Oh well, McCain isn't either. No big deal to me – just don't let speical interest groups or PAC's get involved. That's the best way.

    Small donors have really stepped it up for the Obama campaign. I believe it was over 1.5 million people and most were repeat donors.

    Obama 08'

    June 19, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  12. Elizabeth in Illinois

    Ok, what is McCain's problem with this? Obama is saving the government's money, and he is critical of that? He's damned if he does, he's damned if he doesn't.....

    June 19, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  13. NickNas

    NOW this is where the Haters will claim he is doing somthing wrong BUT Ignore them. McCain is the one who used his PUBLIC FINANCES as COLLATERAL on a loan then backed out of the agreement.

    Do you think YOU or I could put up Collateral for a Loan , get the Cash, then NEVER PROVIDE THE COLLATERAL...Guess what people that would get US a FRAUD Charge.

    Doesn't matter though we the people will assure Obama has 5 times the $$ the GOP will Raise and OURS will come form PEOPLE not CORPS, OIL sand LOBBYISTS!

    June 19, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  14. Emma

    I have sent five contributions – 4 @ $250.00 and 1 @ $120.00 and I am ready to send more.

    Senator Obama will need money to fight the Republican machinery that will try and define him and his wife.

    I got $500.00 waiting to send..................how many will join me? If you believe in Senator Obama then open your purse strings to help give him a fighting chance!

    June 19, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  15. Why try 08

    I don't blame you.

    June 19, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  16. Lupe,TX

    Good Move, Barack. The American people will support you all the way.

    June 19, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  17. Becky

    Obama is keep'n it real.

    June 19, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  18. Conservative for Obama

    Good for you Obama. Don't cater to the Neocon Right and John McFlip Flop. McBush has flipped on every single issue.

    Immigration
    Bush Tax Cuts
    Iraq
    Climate Change
    Gas Tax and Off-shore drilling
    etc...

    So Obama I would not worry about their attacks on this issue. I imagine that the GOP is not too happy that they wil most likely be behind in fundraising 3 or 2 to 1.
    My check will arrive every month Senator.

    Republicans for Obama
    Americans for Obama

    June 19, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  19. PA

    I am glad he opted out of public financing. I would rather be able to give my money directly to the candidate that I believe in and not just check the $3 box on my tax return and have that money go to any democratic or republican candidate.

    June 19, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  20. Javone

    Oh yeah.....John Mccain can lecture ANYONE on the flip flop LOL that is rich!

    June 19, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  21. Dj

    Change we can count on!

    June 19, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  22. FLORIDA Voter for Obama

    This is for all the people who think Barack will not deliver real change.

    IN YOUR FACE.

    And just think, he's not even president yet and already making much needed reform.

    June 19, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  23. BILL

    Two faced: I'll get us out of Iraq – tell the Iraqi Government not to listen to my campaign retoric. Its a shame that John McCain hasn't condemned the attacks on my wife – maybe I should have said something when the DNC went after Mrs McCain. I'm against NAFTA – tell the Canadian government not to worry.
    He's sounds alot like other politicians to me.

    June 19, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  24. Otis in Va

    All I can say is WOW!! This man is rewriting history as we know it. America is on the move! John McCain has learned how to game the system and revived his campaign bid using federal funds. Can the Obama nation be stopped. Stay Tuned!!

    June 19, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  25. Jeff Jenkins

    While hardly unexpected I see this as something that is a non issue. Republicans will make it an issue but as others have referred to previously (Namely Luke Russert) people change their minds all the time and there is nothing wrong with it.

    The backlash to this will come from McCain because he is scared of losing so we will have to brace ourselves for a few days of purse carrying and whining but overall good move by Obama. (My check is in the mail!)

    June 19, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
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