September 28th, 2007
10:55 AM ET
15 years ago

Edwards' public funds: Principled stand or political calculation?

CNN's Candy Crowley reports on Edwards' decision.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Sen. John Edwards told CNN Thursday he has decided to accept public financing for his presidential campaign, subjecting himself to strict spending limits.

Is this a principled stand against the surge of money in politics or the consequence of severely lagging behind rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in fundraising totals?

Edwards himself says it's the former: "This is not about a money calculation,” he told CNN's Candy Crowley Thursday. “This is about taking a stand, a principled stand, and I believe in public financing.”

What do you think?

Filed under: John Edwards
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Sister Sampson, Oklahoma

    All I know, is that Hillary won't use her last name in the primary, and is attending a birthday party with millionaires in Hollywood. I think any candidate that steps aside from the money, is not only viable, but electable.

    September 28, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    ITS ABOUT $$$$$

    September 28, 2007 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. John, Little Rock, AR

    A politician making a "political calculation"...Wow! What a surprise...and, let's see, that hard decision about taking thousands if not millions of dollars for free from the government...Gosh, I know I'm just a hick from Arkansas but is there anyone who would say no to that?

    September 28, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  4. John, kalamazoo

    I think Edwards is being the naive politician that thinks doing "the right thing" will win. He knows he can raise more by forgoing public financing and taking lobbyist k street money. Another jerk trying to show everyone up. I say when the teachers not looking we beat him up and take his lunch money

    September 28, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. DH - Lake Barrington, IL

    He is even more divisive than Hillary, if that can be believed !

    Although I do agree fundamentally that there's waaay too much $ in campaigns in general, I think his only aim is to get elected and be popular, NOT carry out his life based on principle.

    Why can't we get a Ronald Reagan-esque man in office ?!

    September 28, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. Andrew, Quincy MA

    I think this is mostly a principled stand. Money has taken over politics, the "Money Primary" is one of the worst phrases in politics. People should mater not money.

    Of course, if he couldn't still be competitive while taking public finance, he probably wouldn't do it.

    September 28, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. Julie, Atlanta, GA

    I couldn't be more proud of Senator Edwards. This is just one of the million reasons I support him because he is the ONLY candidate who will look out for America. The others? Don't make me laugh.

    I also couldn't be more ashamed and disgusted by the comments some have made here. GOOD GRIEF. I realize it is America and everyone has a right to speak. Just can't help but feel that sometimes it might be better to think before you do so.

    September 28, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. Bob , Hollywood fla

    The guy is a multi Millionaire. He believes in PUBLIC money ? Is there any other kind as far as democrats are concerned.

    September 28, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. Steve the Wise Man East Williston, NY

    Were we born yesterday? Nothing about this guy is principled, why should this be any different? He knows he's finished and that his best hope is for the VP slot. This will allow him to stay in the public eye until the selection is finally made by the cattle futures trading genius.

    September 28, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  10. Coach Haughton

    Yea so how come hillary makes the news by getting and endorsement but cnn seems to have not noticed 24000 people came out for Barack last night. You guys are doing a great job at burying his campaign.

    I dare you to post this.

    September 28, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. Chip, Reno NV

    The guy has shown a lot of principled actions over the last few years. I think he's credible on this one.

    September 28, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  12. Kate, Aurora CO

    My hope is one day laws will be passed to limit all candidates to public financing and no longer allow corporations to "donate" millions. I personally think it is sad in America that in order to be President you must be a millionaire. It is sickening how corporations and lobbyists are running our government.

    September 28, 2007 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  13. Meks

    This country touts herself as a capitlaist economy and the world's best democracy and people here want a multi-millionaire who made his money from ill-conceived legal suits against healthcare industries, phamaceuticals, hospitals, doctors, etc for flimsy excuses to use tax-payers money to run his campaign while keeping back his earning in life for his children. Some of you here are the most uneducated and foolish citizens of this country though i suspect most of the positive feedback here are from campaign aides who sit in their desk and write nonsense on this blog. If we want to use public fund, then we should turn to a socialist state where everybody shares in everyone success and anybody that wants to run can use the people's money (public fiancing)for his campaign. If you do not support socialism, please do not blog anything about public financing. How many presidents have ever resign because their public opinion is low? none. In UK, when the Prime Minister's level of confidence becomes low, he resigns. In such instances, may be a case could be made for public financing since the masses do not require impeachment by 2/3 majority of the congress which is almost an impossible number to attain. John Edwards should transfers his wealth to his campaign coffers and use it to run for his campaign if he believes he is the best guy to do the job. Do you not think he will make more impact putting his wealth on the line? John Kerry put his house as lien to take loan for his campaign in 2004. He believed he could win and it does not matter the outcome. Brave men, Great leaders put everything in what they believe. Mitt Romney has moved over $20M of his wealth into his campaign. He believes he can win. All the story of buying vote is lameduck excuse. Do they give any voter any money. This is the money you use to deliver your campaign in best way you deem fit. If money is the consideration to be president, why did Steve Forbes not get RNC nomination? Why did Ross Perot not win the presidential election? Why is Bill Gates still in Seattle? The reason is simple you need to get people to buy into your cause and vision and these two are far more important than money. I don't mind all the lies by politicians but i mind them taking tax payers money to run their campaign. If you can't get people to buy into your cause and vision and donate money to the common cause you all shared then you are not good enough to be the president of arguably the most important country in the world at this time in history. Please say NO to public financing of any election in this country. We have the right to vote and to vote to any candidate of our choice, so it does not matter who the corporate americans donate their money to. Each person has a single vote and nothing more. Let us quit lying to ourselves. Do not support any candidate using tax-payers money when they are worth millions. We should use that money to help the poor, children and elderly.

    September 28, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  14. Ashley, San Francisco, CA

    I'm so proud of Edwards for taking such a principled stand. If he shows that you can be elected president using public financing (and if anyone can he can), not only would we finally have a moral leader but it would pave the way for others not willing to sell their soul to run for office in the future.

    And if Hillary wants to claim she supports public financing then she should do the same or concede that the only way she is going to be elected is to be in the pocket of special interests.

    September 28, 2007 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  15. Chris, Middletown, CT

    James – the small bus will pick you up to take you the voting station (free donuts will be provided) – oh...and to answer your question on why healthcare costs are so expensive – it has NOTHING to do with lawyers suing insurance companies for hundreds of millions (living in 35000 sq foot mansions..and getting 400 haircuts) – you my friend are exactly what the DNC loves...a true non-thinker....good for you

    September 28, 2007 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  16. JK, Gaithersburg, MD

    It is a shameless political calculation. He has always had the same position as Senator Clinton: I'm pro-public financing, but I have to be able to compete. Now having gone deep into the process and realizing he can't compete anyway, he has developed the "principle" that he is for public financing. Principles are not ideas that pop up in the middle of an extensive, life-consuming process. Tactics are.

    September 28, 2007 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  17. AHMIowa, Iowa City, IA

    While I was surprised at John's choice to accept public financing, I am not surprised. He has spent his entire career attempting to make principled arguments, and supporting what is right, vs. what is expedient.

    I continue to believe that John is the best candidate, because he is the one with the commitment and passion to do the right thing, not just that which is expedient. This is why he has offered clear, complete explanations of his policies and beliefs. He's not constantly avoiding questions, as is Hillary.

    My single biggest frustration with the campaign this year is the mainstream media's attempt to hold a coronation of Hillary a year ahead of the election. Even worse, when Bush starts talking about Hillary, you know it's to make sure they have the WEAKEST democrat on the ticket!

    All I can say is I hope we see a repeat of '04, when the media darling in September '03, Howard Dean, had his comeuppance in Iowa.

    September 28, 2007 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  18. candi, Spotsylvania, VA

    Ok – why hasn't CNN picked up on the "young black men will all be dead or in prison if I'm not elected" story? It you can report about Rush Limbaugh's remarks – someone who isn't even RUNNING for the office – you should absolutely report on these idiotic Edwards remarks.

    September 29, 2007 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  19. A. Thomas, New York, NY

    This is his admission of defeat in not able to raise enough personal funds for his election campaign, as Hillary & Obama are able to do.

    This public funding will put a spending limit on his campaign thus restricting his messages to get across.

    He is only dreaming that Hillary and Obama should also get public funding and restrict their campaign spending and, if he gets nominated, he would ask the republican nominee to agree to public funding to level the playing field. He is just naive.

    September 29, 2007 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  20. Sam, Los Angeles, CA

    So far I am really impressed with Edwards. Why did we stop talking about reform? Here he goes using it eh. I cant believe reading what idiot america says here. Especially the long paragraphs. Just look at the issues and then look at how the candidate's stand on them and you will narrow it down to Edwards being the most sane!

    September 29, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  21. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Laura Tulsa, I felt exactly same way with you, but I didn't know how to explain Edwards facial expression. Thank you. His facial expression has no confidence and his speech is not to be trusted. He is fine as lawyer but natually not for the President

    September 30, 2007 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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