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. AC

    "I support a robust system of public financing of elections," says he? Sounds like Clinton (yes, Clinton) double-speak. Lies and more lies.

    June 19, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  2. jfs Memhis, Tn

    I believe that the purpose of the Matching Fund Option was to STOP Special Interests, lobbyists, etc. making large donations and then expecting favors from the politician. Clearly Obama does not need that type of contributor nor the baggage that goes with those kinds of donations. Besides, the Govt. could use the 85 million someplace else......like paying back social security vouchers ... or making an interest payment on our Iraq war debt. Go Obama

    June 19, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. Neil

    Why does this article not mention that McCain is currently in violation of election law in his use of public funds?

    June 19, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  4. BlameGame?

    From a McCain Spokesman :
    Um Mr. Obama your obviously a fund raising giant and since we "The McCain Campaign" can not match your monsterous fund raising abilities we whole heartedly request that you place yourself at a minor disadvantage by limiting your cash flow. PLEASE...Pretty PLEASE....

    June 19, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  5. Andy J, NY

    When are you going to see that Obama isn't some messiah, but just another politician peddling the party line?

    I don't want a democrat or a republican in office, i want a real American who holds the principles and beliefs of our Founding Fathers.
    McCain doesn't, and Obama is closer to Marx and Lenin than Jefferson and Adams.

    June 19, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  6. Taxman

    Sure Republicans like to take all Private and Public money and do nothing but Barack has surely put his principles and ethics before taking public money and do something.

    June 19, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  7. Bill

    Barack Obama: previous commitment to accept public financing and now going the other way. I can understand why he is doing it. I would like to point out this falls under the same "box" that many Obama backers would call McCain a "flip-flopper" on. So the next time the flip comes up remember this. Again I can understand why he is but if you use the flip-flop stamp you need to use it here also.

    Obama: 2nd Cater Term.

    June 19, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  8. Joan

    Good, he can get more money otherwise.

    i do want to say that's it's getting increasing hard to contact a real person online. The message box is full. Can the Obama campaign look into that situation.

    Also, I don't want to give more money until Hillary's debt is paid. I don't want my money going to Hillary, period.

    Another note: When Obama meets with the women on Capitol Hill, I hope they tell him to stop kissing so many women supporters. It does not look presidential. Everytime some woman introduces him on stage, he has to kiss them, why?

    June 19, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  9. Seth in Jacksonville, FL

    Poor, poor McCain. He wants to cry foul because he knows Obama will double or triple what he is able to raise over the next four months. Good luck, McCain. There aren't enough souls in this nation who want to donate to your campaign and its promises of more war, fewer civil rights, less equality, and no tax breaks for the people who really need them.

    June 19, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  10. Republican for Obama

    Of course John McCain will accept public financing, since he is criticizing Obama for not doing it, right?

    Yeah that's what I thought.

    McCain used to have my respect but he is not the same man since getting the nomination. He has sold his soul for his last chance to be president and is nothing more than a puppet for the RNC. What a shame.

    June 19, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  11. Belle

    Obama keeps backtracking on his commitments to the voters.

    He backtracked about running for President in his first term.
    He made a commitment to accept public financing and backtracked on that.
    He now says NAFTA is a "Good thing".

    The war in Iraq is being won. There is a good chance troop withdrawal will begin before the the end of the year....Iraq is beginning to take charge of their own affairs.

    Cuba and China are going to drill for oil off OUR coastlines....which is better...letting US companies do it, or letting China do it? If American companies do it at least we'll know they are obeying environmental laws....

    It does appear, after watching the interview with McCain, that he actually has a better ability to unite BOTH parties. He has a proven Record of crossing the aisle.

    As a Democrat, I am more impressed with McCain than Obama. Obama continues to speak in broad strokes, refuses to actually do town hall meetings with McCain, so voters can actually ask the questions instead of pundits.

    June 19, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  12. Brian near Charlotte, NC

    No tax money should go to political campaigns! All canidates should have to raise their funding dollars on their own without the aid of the federal government!

    June 19, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  13. MIke

    lol...we all saw this coming. I thought when he said "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" was etremely hilarious. I wonder how much he would raise before November.

    June 19, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. Dem

    Not the first thing Barrack has flip-floped on, and won't be the last.
    NAFTA.
    This man is an empty suit that said whatever he needed to say to get the nomination.
    Thanks but no thanks.
    Anyone but NoBama

    June 19, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  15. Linda from Prescott AZ

    Oh please! is there nothing to small for McCain to grab onto.

    June 19, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  16. April Garlow

    After he went crawling to Hillary so she could set up a meeting between Obama and her supporters.He raised a record amount–he also spent a record amount– Why is the DNC and their convention committee brOke?More spin on top of spin.

    June 19, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  17. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Gee, Obama isn't even waiting to get into office before starting to break promises. That IS a change isn't it? Pretty lame Obama.

    June 19, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  18. McCain Supporter

    I'm convinced. OBAMA '08!

    -Former McCain Supporter

    June 19, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  19. Bill

    ops.....

    Obama: 2nd Carter Term

    June 19, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  20. Joan II

    Typo: increasingly

    June 19, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  21. twister49 - oklahoma

    broken promises..again..why no ticker on NAFTA and his – "I changed my mind on that too"

    June 19, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  22. John in Ohio

    But there's nothing wrong with McCain zooming around on his wife's private jet for free, right?

    June 19, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  23. Terri

    Good for Obama

    I will donate every payday until he wins in Nov.

    Go Obama 08

    June 19, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  24. Kevin

    It should be obvious that Obama is opting out because of his tremendous fundraising advantage over McCain.

    Combine that with McCain's unwillingness to clean up the independent 527 smear groups, and Obama really had no choice.

    June 19, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  25. HULK

    from food stamps to the White House, only in America! Try to do that in China or England

    June 19, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
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