June 20th, 2008
06:05 AM ET
9 years ago

McCain team: Obama campaign lying about public financing talks

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Sens. Obama and McCain talked during a Capitol Hill press conference in this 2006 file photo.

Sens. Obama and McCain talked during a Capitol Hill press conference in this 2006 file photo.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - John McCain’s campaign is denying an account by staffers on Barack Obama’s team that the rival campaigns had been involved in discussions over whether or not they would accept public funds.

Obama counsel Bob Bauer said Thursday he had met with Trevor Potter, his counterpart on the McCain team, on June 6 to discuss a possible joint townhall appearance later in the month, and that the two discussed the public funding issue for 45 minutes.

“I asked him to address a [series] of issues of concern to the Obama campaign–the McCain campaign's active raising and spending of private money since February for a general election campaign, including for media, while we were still in the middle of a primary contest,” said Bauer in a statement. “He gave me his perspectives–the best arguments he could offer for an agreement on both sides to accept public financing–and it was clear to me that these offered no basis for any further exchange.”

McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker flatly said Thursday that Bauer “never negotiated with Potter about public financing.”

Others in the McCain camp said that Obama’s staffers are “libeling” their attorney, and lying about the discussion – that the two counsels were meeting on a separate topic entirely, and that there were no negotiations on public finance.

(UPDATED with response from the McCain campaign, after the jump)

UPDATE: Trevor Potter disputed the Obama campaign's account, telling CNN Thursday that he had met with Bauer on a completely unrelated subject, and that campaign financing had only been discussed in an abstract way.

"We then spoke in general terms about the public financing system, with Bob outlining reasons it could be considered 'broken' or irrelevant in 2008, and I explaining why Sen. McCain remained committed to it and thought it was good for the country," said Potter.

"Other than this informal discussion, there have been no contacts between the two campaigns on the subject, and this discussion contained no negotiations or even offer to hold negotiations. I cannot begin to explain how the Obama campaign could twist my reiteration of Sen. McCain’s support of the system, and hope the two candidates would participate in it, into what they said today," he added

"...An attempt to imply otherwise by any representative of the Obama campaign (and an attempt to turn an informal conversation between Bob Bauer and me into a discussion of negotiations between the campaigns) is a complete misrepresentation of the facts”

soundoff (223 Responses)
  1. Beverly, NYC

    oops meant 2000

    June 19, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. Dylan

    I'm sorry... but John McCain looks like he's about 102 years old in this picture.

    June 19, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  3. Alice in Florida

    Obama lying? What a SHOCKER that would be – NOT!

    After all, he's the guy who denied all knowledge of what his preacher, honorary uncle and spiritual mentor of 20 years was screeching at the top of his lungs....oh, but then he did kinda remember......

    PUMA! PUMA! PUMA!

    June 19, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  4. Grace

    Silly!

    June 19, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. DC Insider

    Washington insiders in the know on this one say McCain is correct. The Obama story is fiction and meant to leverage Obama om campaign finance. So, the Democratic dirty tricks begin, and it appears that Obama is no rookie at this dirty game.

    June 19, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. Angus

    "Speechless" sure talks a lot about Obama. As for the litany of frail jabs that the McCain team is throwing at Obama's Campaign, I would like to once again introduce the teacup to the storm. Such a non-issue.

    June 19, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. Joe Idaho

    In a statement Thursday, a McCain spokeswoman said that the Democrat "revealed himself to be just another typical politician who will do and say whatever is most expedient" and accused Obama of undermining the public financing system.

    "The true test of a candidate for president is whether he will stand on principle and keep his word to the American people," said Jill Hazelbaker, McCain's communications director

    3 Words: George Walker bush:

    Post Script: No-one died when Clinton lied....

    June 19, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. Joe M

    You can bet that if the McCain campaign had the ability to out raise Obama two or 3 to 1 then they'd opt out as well. What about that suit regarding McCain's opting in and then out of the primary funding?

    June 19, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  9. Alex

    I am sure this issue will get resolved within few hours.... Obama campaign hasn't responded yet!!!

    June 19, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  10. Charlene, 67, white, retired, Republican

    Obama has my vote...I just wish he were pro-life.

    June 19, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. Marc in DeKalb, IL

    If you feel it is libel, SUE.

    If you aren't taking actions against libelous remarks made in such a public manner, you can't expect us to believe that the remarks aren't true.

    June 19, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  12. Media darling

    Obama doesn't lie....

    HE just does complete turnabouts : Rev Wright, talking with our enemies without preconditions etc- and the media just goes right along with it.

    The media just encourages his flip flopping by praising/presenting his shifting positions for political posturing as integrity.

    June 19, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. Janet Wilcox

    McSame as Bush! You are the liar and cheater.

    June 19, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. GDC

    Obama is a lie. A fake. A PUPPET.......

    June 19, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  15. Amanda

    Obama people are so vindictive and such haters! Precisely why I will vote McCain in November!

    Hillary 2012!

    June 19, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. Independent-woman-4-Obama

    HERE COMES THE LIES FROM THE REPUBLICANS. DISGUSTING! WHEN WILL WE, THE PEOPLE, SAY ENOUGH?!

    June 19, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. demwit

    CHANGE!? WHAT CHANGE!!??

    June 19, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. Michael

    McCain the idiot that he is not wanting to surpress the 527's just handed Obama an early Christmas present.

    June 19, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. peakarach,des moines,IA

    JUSTSAYNODEAL.COM
    JUSTSAYNODEAL.COM
    JUSTSAYNODEAL.COM
    JUSTSAYNODEAL.COM

    June 19, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    To every one posting hear.

    Both sides lie. In politics every body lies to say they don't is just stupid.

    every one saying that dems don't lie. Bill Clinton

    every onesaying that repubs don't lie. Bush

    June 19, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. Joe

    John McCain is a good man, but he is not the man for the country right now. We are moving in a different direction and he can't be our leader.

    June 19, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. MD FOR OBAMA

    What about the issues of the American people? Lets get back to the basics.

    June 19, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. Xena

    NOBAMA has a reputation as a LIAR. No doubt his team is spinning lies, they are very very desparate.
    HAHAHAHAHA
    PUMA

    June 19, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
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