September 28th, 2007
10:55 AM ET
13 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. Pat, Stratford, CT

    It's probably a little from column A and a little from column B. It's trying to make lemons out of lemonade. He is trying to turn a weakness into a stregnth...whether it works or on is a different story, but kudos to him for thinking out of the box.

    September 28, 2007 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  2. ronnie - knoxville, tn.

    of course it's a political calculation. he knows he can't compete with the big dogs, so he's calling foul

    September 28, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. Tony Naggoti, Los Angeles, California

    This is a complete and utter waste of good, hard earned money from the American people. He has already lost this election. He will go no where with these public funds – he is going no where now.

    September 28, 2007 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  4. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    Oh John, don't be disingenuous!!! If you had Hillary or Obama's war chest, would you be so willing to accept public financing??? I think not....

    September 28, 2007 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  5. Laura - Tulsa, OK

    Strict spending limits ? Don't make me laugh ! This from someone who sees no anomaly in living in a 28,000 square foot estate and holding stock in Fortress , who is foreclosing on Katrina victims.

    September 28, 2007 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. D.M. - Santa Barbara , Ca.

    He's more concerned in getting $400.00 haircuts than in using his vast fortune for bettering our country.

    September 28, 2007 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. Jamison, Orlando, FL

    An absolute waste of my taxes on a losing campaign. Please scrap the public financing system. We already have so much waste due to out of control spending.

    September 28, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  8. Laura - Tulsa, OK

    I studied body language and John is a textbook example of how someone hides their true motives.

    For example just before he takes the mic in the beginning, he smiles a most insincere smile that says "yes, I know I have to smile here, so I will..." he then "wipes " his face to change from who he really is, to who he wants us to see. He goes into acting mode.

    On the bus, after he talks about finance, he says, "Sen Clinton can show it by doing it in the campaign," his face changes into a mocking smile. It's very quick, but shows a lot.
    When he says "combat wars", he shows such a weakness that I cannot imagine him taking on Islamo-fascism and see the facial expressions of a lawyer once again trying to "win over" the jury.

    September 28, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. Hassan, Los Angeles, CA

    Principled stand! How can Hillary say she's for public financing and getting money out of politics when she gleefully smashes through fundraising records, has $1 million bundlers who put Bush's Pioneers to shame and rejects public financing? Edwards isn't perfect but this is a big stand for getting dirty money out of politics.

    September 28, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. Charlotte

    I used to support unquestionably. However once he started this reversal on the Iraq war he lost my respect and support.

    I would have respected him more if he simply said, based on the information I had I made the right decision.

    Thus I do not believe anything he does is uncalculated.

    September 28, 2007 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. Laura P., Baltimore, MD

    I think this is a principled move. Edwards is very much on track to raise his original target budget of $40 million on his own, and if he does so, he can really only expect to gain $10 million in matching funds from this, because of the spending cap. Also, it does limit his ability to spend additional money, even if he could raise it.

    Edwards has believe in public campaign financing for a long time and has been talking about it since at least 2004. I do believe he decided it's time to put his money where his mouth is. This move doesn't benefit him all that much, so I don't see it as a cynical political calculation.

    September 28, 2007 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  12. Jason, Minneapolis, MN

    Maybe when it comes down to it, it is a political calculation. I am far more likely to vote for him because of going with public financing and taking this stand than I would if he had the money of Hill-Obama and spent it all to get my vote. In this respect I hope it gets him more votes than the money of Hill-Obama combined.

    September 28, 2007 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. Nan Bozarth, Wilmington, NC

    I think it's brilliant. Since Clinton talked in the NH debate about being for public financing, John has given her the chance to put her money where her mouth is.

    Edwards is running a very thrifty campaign and has what he needs to compete. By taking this additional step, he gets a bit more assistance and once again, leads on the issues.

    September 28, 2007 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. Amy, Raleigh, NC

    I commend John Edwards for taking a stand against big corporate lobbyists and big corporate donors.

    It really is time to end the "pay to play game."

    Hillary refuses to do so.

    Thankfully, we have a Democratic candidate in John Edwards who is not afraid to turn his back on big corporate donors/big money that is corrupting our democratic process.

    September 28, 2007 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  15. Bob

    Everything John Edwards does is 'political calculation'. He doesn't have a bone in his body that doesn't reek 'It's all about me'. The only 'politician' that truly is about the USA, in every fiber of his body, is Mike Huckabee. Give him an objective listen sometime. You can't help but be impressed.

    September 28, 2007 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  16. Daniel, NY

    I think the best proof of insincerity here is to look at the contrast between Joe Trippi's 2003 declaration when Dean opted out and his statement yesterday when Edwards opted in. Quite a contrast...

    September 28, 2007 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. Rebecca Gomez, Brownsville, Texas

    What John and Elizabeth Edwards need to do is accept their defeat and pay more attention to spending the dying days of Elizabeth with her family in peace instead of raging in the greed for something she will never have or see

    September 28, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  18. Why are we all so mean, Saugus, MA

    Well...John & Elizabeth Edwards have been through enough in their lives and I am sure they would swap all their $ for their son back and Elizabeth's health. Having said that, I believe they have reached a point where they realize they don't have the ability to continue on in this election unless they have more money to compete. Having seen Elizabeth Edwards in a new TV ad bring her battle with Cancer into the request for more funds for John, I would say they have turned a tragic, sad corner.

    I wasn't going to vote for John anyway, but I feel very sorry for them and I hope they find peace in a life that is very long and doesn't include living in the White House.

    September 28, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    This guy is a pathological liar.

    Spent the early part of his career lying to juries to collect big damage awards.

    Now he is lying to try and cover for his poor fundraising abilities.


    September 28, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  20. Betty Hooker, Greensboro, North Carolina

    Principled stand. Edwards has been considering this for some time. I understand that people tend to be skeptical of people in politics, because we have all seen so much. But everyone who has been with Edwards since the early days of the Senate race knows that this is pure Edwards. John Edwards is one politician who will stand on principle.
    I am proud of him.

    September 28, 2007 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. Ryan_ broklyn, new york

    i object to public funding fueling individual ego and ambition on the presidential level. One who desires to serve as president obviously has the needs and wants of the public as a motivational force buried some place dark and deep within their programme. In fact the role of president for a country of this size seems absurd. Acting as an individual national representative seems more practical, while have legislation created by more localized government servants would be better for us all.

    September 28, 2007 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. Marc Anthony Brown, Palm Beach, Florida

    Thank God, we have someone who's willing to sacrifice and do something about presidential campaign reform; even it has an adverse effect on his fundraising. I admire him for that. Let's see how many other candidates follow.

    September 28, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  23. Matt from al Anbar, Iraq

    So why did he ever raise money in the first place? Why didn't he say he would do this in the very beginning? That would be real leadership. Now it looks like, if he means it or not, that he can't compete and is putting pressure on the others that have done better. I don't like it.

    September 28, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. Matthew Grubba Sterling Heights, MI

    Edwards has been releasing specific plans to solve our most pressing issues for some time now! Unfortunatly, he has been ignored by a media that is in love with the Hillary vs Obama angle. This is another bold stand and I only hope that people begin to notice his campaign more and take the time to research his positions along with the big two! Go Edwards!

    September 28, 2007 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  25. D Mac Nashua, NH

    Edwards' tapping of public funds is both principled and political calculation.

    September 28, 2007 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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