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. Carl from MI

    Funny that Steve Schmidt should accuse Obama of the EXACT same thing McCain has done. Poor Republican cry-babies know they can't win in a fairly financed fight. Like Obama said, Republicans have become "...masters at gaming this broken system."

    What's next, Republicans? How about a 'Swift Boat attack' on Obama... maybe he didn't really earn his degree from Harvard. How about pulling a 'Karl Rove' and push-polling the idea he has a white, mexican, or asian child somewhere? Even better, let's say his use of a celebratory 'hand bump' with his wife is a 'terrorist fist-jab' (oh yeah, Fox News already used that one!)

    Really Republicans... is it any wonder you're going to lose by a landslide this November? It's time for your party to 'grow up'!!

    June 19, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  2. HappyObamite,Maryland

    RNC now do your part ! Stop criticizing and playing counterstatements game. Break from public financing! No more words RNC, No more stump speeches. We want action!

    June 19, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  3. Reality Check

    Public campaign funding is a cornerstone of our electoral system designed to provide candidates with equal footing. There are rules that must be followed with public funding that are designed with the goal of ensuring a president is chosen on the merits.

    Obama wants nothing to do with transparency, integrity, and honesty. No wonder he declined.

    More money = more spin and more lies. We all watched the primaries, we all know what Obama is about.

    June 19, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  4. JB

    He already has a real public campaign. This while Sen. McCain has a 527 RNC funded campaign.

    June 19, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  5. Belle

    So....while Michelle Obama gets unprecedented campaign staff (one that could not be afforded in public campaign finance donations), she gets her hair done and appears on the View....

    Cindy McCain is in Vietnam where 100 children are having clef chins fixed. (One behalf of her charity, not funded by politics).

    What I really find amazing is the fact that John and Cindy McCain adopted a daughter from Vietnam, also with a clef chin that was fixed.

    It is one thing to be rich and squander your money...quite another to use the money you inherit for the greater good.

    Obama needs to stop backing out on his word. He is the one that says rules are rules. He made a commitment...does that NOT mean anything at all to him?

    June 19, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. Montana is Obama Country

    .......I lOVE This GUY..!!! I am sending a contribution TODAY..

    .................This Red STATE is a BLUE STATE in Nov.. 2008

    June 19, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. James in NJ

    Can we get to Obama's inaguration already?

    June 19, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. Rick D in Chicago

    Can we have that public financed $80 million sent to farmers and families along the Mississippi River who really need some help right now?

    June 19, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  9. Mary In AL

    Good! I think Senator Obama should opt out.
    Here's another breaking story-McCain has known about the Enron loopholes and voted against closing it when he voted against the Farm Bill. McCain knows there is speculation going on and benefits from it and is misleading people with his ridiculous attempsts to bring prices down. He knows better and is duping Americans, just like Bush has with the war. This is major news!

    June 19, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  10. Doris

    In order to achieve change, start from day one.

    June 19, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  11. Gabriel

    A broken promise of staggering dimensions? If that's true, then what words can we use to describe things like: "no tax cuts for the rich" to "I support tax cuts for the rich", what about "I am in line with President Bush on all major issues" (MTP, 2005) to "I will not be a third term for President Bush" (2008), what about "Saddam has WMDs" to "Iraq needed Democracy"?

    Is there no limit to the ludicrousness of McCain's campaign statements?

    June 19, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  12. Name Recognition

    It would be a bigger mistake for Obama to accept public financing because he's competing with McCain who's got enormous name recognition and has been on the national stage for decades. Obama is smart to realize he's gonna need the cash.

    June 19, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. JAY Los Angeles

    It's okay to change your mind, if he didnt he would be like Bush, having the citizens caught up between a rock and a hard place, that is one of the things I can say about McCain, I have watched him in the course of this campaign change his mind on every issue.

    June 19, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  14. monica, rochester ny

    Good for you Senator. We the people will fund your campaign. Let the master Mc' flip-flopper, complain all he wants, we know he has already abused the public financing system. His ploy didn't work.

    June 19, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  15. aaron

    i can't wait for this man to become president! it's so exciting!!

    June 19, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  16. Winston

    I have been telling my GOPer adversaries. Dont under estimate Barack Obama. He ran a well organized fund raising campaign vs Hillary that left her $20 Million in debt. He will do the same to John McCain. Mccain will be left in the dust and in debt before its all over with.

    Obama 08

    June 19, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  17. judi in NJ

    Why shouldn't he? He is supported in the most part by "public
    money" anyway and the GOP will have hideous 527s out there sliming him and his family.

    Go for it, Barack. My next check is now in the mail (or actually over the net to his web site).

    June 19, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  18. Noah

    This makes me like Obama even more, I can't wait until he's swept into office and our generation can finally have a real leader that can bring us out of this hole created by the far right in this country.

    June 19, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  19. audacity

    That is change! Good for Obama; good for setting a standard. We can't fix a broken system if we continue to use it.

    June 19, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  20. judi in NJ

    Why shouldn't he? He is supported in the most part by "public
    money" anyway and the GOP will have hideous 527s out there sliming him and his family.

    Go for it, Barack. My next check is now in the mail (or actually over the net to his web site).

    June 19, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  21. Jeanie, NV

    I don't question Barack or his campaign decisions. They are doing an excellent job so far, and their camp has given me an excellent return on my money. Press on O-camp, I'm with you all the way.

    June 19, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  22. lorax

    Good for Obama. Good for the U.S. Obama is getting most of his money for his campaign in small amounts from large numbers of ordinary citizen donors from online contributions. This is very democratic and as it should be. The public financing initiatives were designed to eliminate the corrupting influence of big donors (the very rich and corporations) to make very large donations (bribes and influence buying). Barack Obama has refused money from lobbyists and corporate PACs. He is abiding by the spirit of the intent to eliminate the influence of the few and the well-heeled. By accepting small contributions from private citizens, Obama will be "obligated" to serve the "people." McCain, on-the-other-hand, does accept money from lobbyists and corporate PACs. McCain is being bought by and would be obliged to do corporate bidding, if he were to be elected. The very intent of public financing has been circumvented by previous campaigns. Barack Obama is doing the democratic, populist thing by accepting support of supporters and not taking funds from taxpayers and the Treasury.

    June 19, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  23. APS in Hawaii

    This campaign is disgusting. We have put the highest office up for sale to the highest bidder. There needs to be spending limits because this is showing how the rich are buying the Presidency. This goes for all parties.

    June 19, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  24. Kelby from Houston, TX

    Who needs $80 million dollars when you are raising campaign funds like Barrack Obama?
    The reason why he can afford to turn down public financing is because he doesn't need the financing. HE HAS THE PUBLIC!
    I don't know who is polling who, but the support around Obama is palpable in the very air we breathe.
    The support is around him and the Democratic party because we the American people are looking to them to save us from this Republican debacle that has been the last 8 years.
    The race to the White house has already been decided in the Democratic primary process. The November election is just a formality at this point and the race is actually over.
    We can't afford more Republican policy. John McCain will loose because of his politics alone.
    The Republicans will lose because their policies suck. They are for business and not THE PEOPLE.

    DEMOCRATS '08 AND FOREVER

    June 19, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  25. America for Obama

    Barack Obama is a freakin genius! He is not only a brilliant man that anyone can look up too in all walks of life, he is a true leader and we are ready to follow you Barack! Let freedom ring!

    OBAMA 2008!!!

    June 19, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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