June 19th, 2008
12:00 PM ET
6 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.

Full story

soundoff (570 Responses)
  1. ALLBAMALLTHETIME

    I will help you baby!! I will send NOW!!!!!!!!!

    June 19, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  2. OLD MAN WHINES

    On Iraq, the economy, guns, and God, McCain is to the right. On immigration, campaign finance reform, and global warming, McCain is to the left. Sort of reminiscent of John Kerry back in 2004. McCain went after Barack Obama yesterday for proposing a windfall tax on the oil companies. A month ago McCain said he was willing to consider a windfall tax on the oil companies. What about offshore drilling? During his run for president in 2000, McCain was against it. Now he's for it, saying the state should decide if they want to drill for oil off their coastlines. This could cost him big-time in states like California and Florida which are very environmentally conscious. Then there are the Bush tax cuts, McCain was against them – twice – now he's for them. McCain has also called for the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay to be closed down, and torture banned. But last week he criticized the Supreme Court's ruling that detainees there should have access to U.S. courts, calling the Supreme Court decision one of the worst decisions in the history of this country. So here's the question. How clear is it where John McCain stands on the issues? – Jack Cafferty

    June 19, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  3. Power to the People

    Thank You President Obama.
    The People Need to Determine their President and we believe you are that person. Let me go donate another $10 after sending this email.
    Stay away from McCain FLIP FLOPs as he takes public financing with one hand and lobby money with the other. He thinks the American People are foolish to believe in the Stright Talk Express BS.
    Not this time!

    Obama 08

    June 19, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  4. Xena

    FLIP FLOP – FLIP FLOP – FLIP FLOP – FLIP FLOP – FLIP FLOP – FLIP FLOP – FLIP FLOP – FLIP FLOP – FLIP FLOP – FLIP FLOP – FLIP FLOP – FLIP FLOP –
    SAME OLD, SAME OLD. THIS GUY NEVER CHANGES HIS TUNE, HE IS JUST LIKE ALL THE REST. WELL... HE WILL LOSE JUST LIKE THE LAST 2 DEMS LOST THE GE. WHAT A LOSER HE IS!!
    PUMA

    June 19, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  5. Xavier, Saint Louis, MO

    Folks, now that's CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN! And, I'll be the first to make another donation to his campaign!

    YES WE CAN!

    June 19, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  6. Isaac

    what about Mcwar and lobbyists? no spending of public money. channel to infrastructure ,health care and education.
    GoBam

    June 19, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  7. Tim

    Obama is a fraud. He is every bit the ambitious, dc politician that he rails against in speeches.

    June 19, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  8. Shelly in IL

    I am with you @ Emma! I will send $$$ because I want to help this country's next president.

    June 19, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  9. Charlotte

    He turned it down only because it would limit his spending. If he needed it believe me, he would take it. Remember, in the beginning he would take it. Filp-floper

    June 19, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  10. Lailasmom in CA

    See...this is excatly why I have no doubt this man will make a change that is so needed in this country. I've donated over $200 to his campaign and will gladly to so again!

    Obama '08!

    June 19, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  11. BaBa

    Once again, Obama forgets what is right and does what is best for him politically. What else is new? Will he try to make McCain drop out so he can run unopposed again or just get his network or supporters to work their insidious attacks. Obama is the worst kind of politician.

    June 19, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  12. ReaganDem84

    Want Change?

    Opt out of public financing!

    Barack is such a bamboozler!!

    –rd84

    June 19, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  13. David O

    Barack Obama:

    President of the United States of America.

    SOUNDS SO GOOOOOD!

    June 19, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  14. Steve

    What's the deal with people saying "smalldonors = public financing'?" It's the EXACT OPPOSITE of public financing! Say you support private financing of campaigns if you do, we'll disagree but you're at least making a real point. Saying that private financing is public financing just shows ignorance. Reading the comments on CNN political news shows me how people like Obama and McCain can be nominated – the avearge American is a fool who will believe whatever the talking heads tell him.

    June 19, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  15. Will in Richmond, VA

    Once again this guy shows he's ready to back up his talk, no matter how difficult the situation must be.

    Integrity and honor being brought back to Washington!!! I love it.

    June 19, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  16. Bob S

    FRAUDBAMA'S DOING IT AGAIN. HE HAS THE AUDACITY TO SAY, "I SUPPORT A ROBUST SYSTEM OF PUBLIC FINANCING OF ELECTIONS," AT THE VERY SAME TIME HE ANNOUNCES HE'S OPTING OUT OF THAT SYSTEM, TO GO PRIVATE. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE HYPOCRITE! Obama supporters, do you ever think about what Obama actually says?

    June 19, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  17. Jasmyne

    Don June 19th, 2008 10:11 am ET

    Something about this seems shady. I think he has billionaires ready to give him the money like Oprah, so he can state that he is above the rest by not accepting this. Anyway, this is not a new policy issue how will Senator Obama help gas prices specifically and the economy in general i need specifics. Not speeches.
    ****************************************************************************

    First off, regardless of how much money a person has the max they can donate is still $2,300. So Oprah and his other affluent friends can still only donate as much as the next guy. Anyways, most of his money has come from small donations. People sending in $5-20.

    ALSO,

    IF YOU WANT SPECIFICS GO TO BARACKOBAMA.COM AND CLICK ON ISSUES AND STOP WAITING ON CNN TO TELL YOU HOW HE STANDS. SOME PEOPLE ARE SO EFFIN LAZY IT MAKES NO SENSE.

    June 19, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  18. Ms.Walker OHIO

    I've already made a donation, and they will keep coming! This election is too important! Why should Barack be criticized for not taking lobbyist and special interest money? Give me a break! Obama 08!

    June 19, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  19. JP

    They should both take public financing. Instead of donating hundreds of millions of dollars to candidates, how about giving the money to charities.

    June 19, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  20. EDW

    I'm donating more cash to the Obama campaign. Crushing the Republican with my $25 bucks here and my $25 bucks there. I just love it!!!

    Democrats 2008

    June 19, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. Brian Knoxville, TN

    Why is Obama afraid to debate McCain fairly?

    Toward the end of the primaries and caucuses, Obama said that he’d debate McCain “any time, any place.” But now he’d rather debate McCain behind closed doors, avoiding the joint town hall appearance by fighting McCain over technicalities about how to run them, than debate McCain publicly and answer questions from real Americans like me.

    And now I read on CNN’s website that Obama is trying once again to unethically use rules to tie McCain’s hands behind his back. Just another same old trick that Obama used in 1996 to win his seat in the Illinois state Senate. That’s right, early on in the nomination process, Obama promised to use only public funding if he were to become the nominee. Now that he had limitless resources, he’s reneged on that promise. Even so, he’s not above using his new power over the DNC to press for an investigation aimed at forcing McCain to use only public funding to fight Obama in the general election. Obama, you’ve got to be joking.

    i guess Obama just can’t debate openly or fight fairly. Just look at his record…

    Doesn’t look like Obama can take the heat, and he’s willing to say one thing one day and the exact opposite the next…

    OBAMA-FLIP. OBAMA-FLOP.
    FLIP, FLOP.
    FLIP, FLOP.
    OBAMA DOES THE FLIP, FLOP.

    Puma PAC RULES!

    June 19, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  22. mohammad

    how can we trust this guy when he clearly doe not follow through with his promises. Liar.

    June 19, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  23. Flip-Flop McCain

    True, 1.5 million American citizens donate to your campaign is public financing. HOWEVER, the difference between Obama and McCain is simple. Accepting Public Financing from the Gov't is directly from the taxpayers who have no say to where their money is being funded. As a Democrat, I do not want my money sent to th McCain campaign under no circumstances. Obama's method for raising money is strickly from the people who want a change in office.

    That's the diffrence...it's a brilliant strategy and I applaud it.

    June 19, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  24. Barbara Gooch

    If Democrats was so great they would have been in the white house the last eight years. People say they want change, well let me tell you people, you may get more change than you want. If you do your home-work you will see a lot of what is going on now was started by the democrates. Do your home-work! you will see that McCain is the best of the two evils. He is experianced has been in the military. Please, he is not to old, after all people live to be one hundred and over these days, we need a God fearing man, one that has compasion and if you do your home-work you will see that McCain has all the above. Best man for the job.

    June 19, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  25. Jon

    I like how they simply dismiss the public financing system as "broken" and move on without any specifics, but then again, I've learned to not expect any specifics from the Obama campaign.

    June 19, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
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