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. FactCheck

    Let's be straight about this: Obama said that he would pursue a truce with the presumptive Republican candidate to forego private donations and McCain agreed to go along. McCain then backs out of his agreement and he's blaming Obama for this? McFlip-flop better start barking up a new tree if he thinks the public are stupid enough to fall for this.

    June 19, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  2. You want my vote?

    HERE WE GO!!! THE FIRST PUBLIC LIE TO BE EXPOSED. I HAVE BEEN SAYING THAT HE WOULD GO BACK ON HIS WORD, AND A SIGNED PROMISE TO ACCEPT PUBLIC FINANCING. HE AND JOHN MCCAIN BOTH SIGNED, AND MCCAIN CALLED HIM ON IT, I KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN. BUYERS REMORSE IS GOING TO SET IN. HE CANT KEEP HIS WORD, ESPECIALLY ON SUCH AND IMPORTANT ISSUE TO VOTERS. THIS MAKES ME SICK. AND ALL OF YOU SHOULD BE SICKENED AS WELL. THIS WILL NOW ALLOW JOHN MCCAIN TO GET OUT OF HIS PROMISE AND HE WAS THE ONE WHO INTRODUCED THE BILL IN THE FIRST PLACE. HOW SAD THAT OBAMA IS GONNA TAKE THE MONEY TRAIN ROAD TO THE PRESIDENCY. UP UNTIL RECENTLY I WAS A TRUE DEMOCRATE. NOT ANY MORE. LETS FACE IT ANYONE CAN PURCHASE THE PRESIDENCY.

    June 19, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  3. YES WE WILL

    I'm going to make another donation to Barack Obama our next President.

    TEXAS

    June 19, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  4. Saad from NJ

    and we are in tough economic times..... oooooook!!

    Now that that's out of the way, it is Obama's choice. It is perfectly fine if he does or chooses not to take public financing. McCain officials have to criticize him for things like these because they realize there is a serious mismatch – the stuff that's out there for McCain to be criticized versus the criticism material in the market for Obama. I like Senator McCain but feel bad for him.

    June 19, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  5. Aspire

    Obama's campaign is "public" financing in its truest sense. As long as the republicanmachinery will spend millions in 527, the limited publica financing is meaning less.

    Right move Barack ! We will start pouring down our pennies

    June 19, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  6. Jasmyne

    Good!! Our tax money can go elsewhere. High school graduation rates in this country are shameful, put the miilions of dollars he has declined to take towards them. If a candidate wants to run for office than they should have the know-how to raise the money they need without sucking uncle sam dry. Obama has proven that he has enough supporters that are willing to put out money to ensure that the past 8 years are not repeated.

    June 19, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  7. Hello!!!

    I guess this is the CHANGE he has been speaking about.....Changing his mind.

    June 19, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. Steve Randall

    This should shut those idotic repubs' mouths up...

    June 19, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  9. obamacrat

    Good for him. Agreeing to a campaign spending limit while 527 groups that support your oppenent are free to spend as much money as they wish to attack you would be foolish. Obama is nobodys fool.

    June 19, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. Mike

    Oh my God! A politician actually TURNED DOWN $80 million in PUBLIC funds... how in the world does that equate to "a broken promise of staggering dimensions" If I were McCain... I'd fire Steve Schmidt.

    June 19, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  11. Devin in Minneapolis, MN

    The movement that Sen. Barack Obama has created has grown to a dynamically unprecedented and unstoppable force in this nation...and all results point to the proof of it. No matter who you are out there, what party you're from, the color of your skin, what religion you are, or what your thoughts of him are........Barack Obama WILL be the next President of the United States of America.

    Obama in '08

    June 19, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  12. Rob

    So much for that promise from Obama.

    Fraud.

    And folks around here will applaud his decision to break his word. Unbelievable.

    June 19, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  13. Denise Groves

    I don't blame him. he doesn't need the money that comes from lobbyist and special interest. If he raised over $200 million from ordinary people on the net, think what he can raise as the Democratic Nominee. Top donors who gave during the Primary could only give $1300. During the General election it is $28,000. Do the math. Mccain does not excite his own base. He NEEDS the funds, Obama doesn't.

    June 19, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  14. Hayward

    I don't understand the subject enough yet to make a quotable, unbiased and educated decision but I will say that I am growing tired of both of these candidates flip flopping on issues and promises. One minute you're for it and the next you're not. One minute you say something the next you're apologizing for something you obviously meant. We've witnessed more apologies this year that it's hard to believe anything either of the candidates and all other parties involved have to say. As for McCain, he starts out saying we're gonna have a respectable campaign for the election and he comes out and does the exact opposite. What's up with that? As for Obama, he hates NAFTA, but now NAFTA's not so bad after all, but he hated it and demonized Hillary for it during the primaries. These politicians are hysterical. Where's Hillary when you need her??? We need a person that says "Hey you know me, here are my faults and short comings, my baggage is open for all the public to see, I'm not ashamed and I'm not hiding it, it is what it is. I'm human, I make mistakes, I'm a proud American and I love my country. Let he or she without error cast the first stone. I have the experience and the know how and I'm ready to be president on day one"!! Which neither one of the other candidates can boast.

    June 19, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  15. Jeff

    McCain himself has not accepted public financing. Obama never committed himself to public financing, he said that if he won the nomination AND the Republican nominee also accepted public financing then he would to if proper guidelines were in place. Since McCain has never indicated that he would take public financing, and since the RNC has actually out raised the DNC and since there are many 504s or whatever that are already airing adds in support of McCain, none of the conditions for Obama taking public financing have been met.

    June 19, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  16. Illinois

    His decision to refuse public financing of his presidential campaign should come as no surprise to anyone. The system isn't "broken"; all it means is that he would have to trade his nearly $300M campaign for an $80M one. He'll need all the money he can get his hands on in order to fight all the TRUE attacks on his character. As we've already seen this election, money truly does buy anything. This man lies about everything. He doesn't know how to keep his word. He will always do what is best for himself first......and everyone else last. Thank God he won't be president.

    June 19, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  17. Steve in DC

    Obama didnt promise to accept public funds. He told the Mccain camp that if he received the nomination, then he would make his decision then. Seems like that time is now. Mccain love to twists Obama's words!

    Obama 08

    June 19, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  18. Obama all the way

    Obama is looking out for our citizens best interests, passing $80 million. Let's see if McCain is willing to do the same.

    June 19, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  19. Ed

    It's a shame that a man who founded his campaign on the principle of changing the way Washington works just used a typical Washington excuse to get himself out of a promise he made almost 2 years ago. He wasn't saying it was a "broken system" when he challenged the Republicans to fund their campaigns in this manner – it's when he got a taste for such a robust campaign fundraising season that he decided the only way he can win is by drowning the opponent in cash – just as the Republicans did to prior Democrats and just as he did to Hillary Clinton in the primary. Shame on you Barack Obama – you hypocrite.

    June 19, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  20. Steve, PA

    LIAR!

    June 19, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  21. Matt, Manchester, CT

    What this shows about your messiah (very little "m") Obama is not so much his financial strength, as it does highlight his nervousness that he'd need to spend McCain out of the race. I guess his meaningless and mindless mantra of "Yes We Can" should be "Yes We Can For the Right Price!"

    June 19, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  22. MaryJo Bruce Surprise, Ariz

    Sure Obama, now that you have already won the Dem nonmation with the gazillions that you already spent from private and public monies. You are sure to have lots left. And it looks good to say, Ok I really do not want anymore of the publics monies. Really!

    June 19, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  23. INDEPENDENT IN 2008

    This is bad for America. Very bad! I have lost faith in our elected officals. They cannot be partial about anything. Its all about the money.

    June 19, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  24. NoMcSame

    18 million voters and they can't even give her $1.00 to help her out of the hole. What kind of support is that? All day they come on here and TRY to smear Obama with the same LIP service that they give Hillary. If you REALLY love her PUMA People and want to help her then send her your money and if you don't you are just full of HOT AIR. Show us how strong you are by wiping out her dept today. Now go vote McSame and shut your mouth.
    OBAMA08 with or without you. You can take that to the BANK.

    June 19, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  25. bryan San Ramon

    Obama, just words, when will the world realize that with him we will not be safe, and with out him we will be safer. Please american turn this empty suit back into the drycleaners, otherwise he will hang us all out to dry! One Word "Taxes".

    June 19, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23