June 19th, 2008
12:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama decides to decline public financing


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. Abaya

    I do not agree with Schmidt statement. I listen to Obama speeches and most people will agree that he setting up good examples leading to his election as the President of United state. He is the kind of man who will walk what he speaks.

    June 19, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  2. Ang

    This is the CORRECT decision for Obama...


    He can fundraise the GOP blind folded!

    This is the BEST way to be sure he can fight all the 527s that are poised to attack him and his wife!

    McCain has already shown that he'll denounce such ads but has absolutely no power to put a stop to them... And since the GOP can't win this election on issues all they've got left is Swift Boat style dirty campaign tactics!

    Glad to see that Obama will NOT give them an inch here!

    June 19, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |

    good for him.

    June 19, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. Jeff, Huntington Beach, CA

    Respectfully said to an actual veteran, unlike Bush and Cheney and all the other chicken hawks in the Republican party,

    go away John McCain and Company and take that slime bag Phil Gramm with you. We do not need nor want "public serpents" as public servents anymore.

    June 19, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  5. Jeannie, Sacramento, CA

    Of course, he wouldn't take public financing. $85 million is nothing to sneeze at, but certainly a mere drop in the bucket when compared to what he could raise from private donors. Obama came out as a freshman with ideals nobody could match; only to find out that in order to survive the dirty world of politics, one has to get one's hands dirty, as well.

    June 19, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  6. I AM NOW AN INDEPENDENT!*********


    June 19, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. Will S.

    Why do people never use "everyday" and "every day" correctly?

    June 19, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. John McCain

    My friends I too broke a promise when I tried to weasel out of my public finacning agreement that saved my bid for the Presidency. If you all can re-call in early 2007 my campaign had no money.But it is ok for me my friends because I have flip-flopped this entire election. For example on the President's Tax Cuts, On my own campaign financing, On Cindy's baked cookies......might I add she stole a good recipe from Hershey, I've even stumped against two bills in which I've co-sponsored. My friends if Senator Obama flip flops like me one day he'll have more meaningful acheivements by which he can hang is hat on and run for re-election.


    June 19, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  9. TexasIndependent

    I don't understand this decision. If Obama would only propose realistic policies to back his outcry for energy independence, then I would vote for him. Blocking the drilling and refining of oil and natural gas in congress, and then blaming Bush for a "failed energy policy" is politics as usual. His proposal to research alternative energy will not help our energy independence for at least a decade. So much for "change".

    June 19, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  10. Jarrett, Los Angeles

    "Just based on words.." – McCain Team.

    This just in from the Republicans: "Hey millions of Obama supporters who are young and college educated! You aren't listening or studying!! You are naive DESPITE your intelligence and vigor."

    The only "clear and present danger", Republican politicans, is that of sounding out of touch with reality.

    June 19, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. Ron

    We all know about the fat cats in the Republican Party.... John McCain can afford to take public financing, his honchos will spend in the hundred million mark to attack Obama. We cannot have the swiftboat people do the same thing that they did to Kerry , because the DNC is practically broke. The Republicans can cry all the want....... Obama is changing the way that the game is played... that's a sign of a true leader.

    June 19, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. Natasha/Supporter of Democrats

    I am pride of you Obama. This change we can believe in.

    YES WE CAN!!!!

    Obama '08

    June 19, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  13. Phil-Little Rock

    Schmidt is only upset because McCain's campaign can only take $80 million and that's it. Basically, their whole budget is that amount and they have to give all the other donations back. Obama raises $80 million in roughly a month, so he can afford to live up to his promise.

    Sorry, McCain, better luck next time.

    GO OBAMA!!!

    June 19, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  14. SUE, Michigan

    Of course the Republicans will criticize this, but for the average citizen, who understands it anyway? All I know is that these campaigns go on for far too long, and cost way too much money. With the common man just trying to make his mortgage payment and buy gas and groceries, I doubt many people can afford to donate to any campaign. I know I am not sending anyone any more money.

    June 19, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  15. Barbara Gooch

    He doesn't have to Opra and other stars are funding for him.

    June 19, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  16. insanity

    awesome !!.. We are 100% behind this decision. The republicans would manipulate the system to gain a financial advantage. This is why he'll make a great president. He makes decisions based on reasoning and logic. Not on ideologies.

    Vote with love for Country, Vote Obama..

    June 19, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  17. tom

    What a surprise! "Let's change politics as usual, except when politics as usual benefits me." Senator Barry Obama

    June 19, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  18. Marcus, Houston, TX

    There is no way to protect candidates from being attacked from 3rd parties, so I agree, money would need to be available to counter those attack ads. Obama is doing something that is unprecedented by raising astronomical sums of money from small donations from many donors. He should be commended for this, not demonized. Matter of fact, let me find my checkbook so I can donate another $100 to Obama! McCain has very few advantages in the campaign and I don't think that Obama is willing to give him any if he can help it. Obama '08

    June 19, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  19. Marshall

    I think we spent way too much money and time on this already. This really needs to be changed.

    June 19, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  20. DB

    Shame on cnn for not posting THE COMPLETE STORY!!
    Obama never agreed to accept public financing AS IT STANDS.
    He was interested in DISCUSSING the possibility of changes in the program with McCain.
    Get the story straight, cnn.... You're beginning to sound more and more like Faux News

    June 19, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  21. WH

    In Ft. Hood, TX there are several reports in the growing number of homeless vets. These are men and women who had served well, usually several tours, most have been wounded and now have lost everything and living on the streets or in shelters if they are lucky to find one. They are families who have sacrificed everything, who have missed countless family milestones and who if given the chance would continue selfless service.

    That America is a disgrace.

    We should all hang our heads in shame.

    So I say, take the 80 milllion and use it to help the needy, the poor, the homeless, the vets. We already have too many political attack ads.

    June 19, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  22. Tired of W, OH

    So what if Obama changed his mind on public financing. McCain's mindset has changed to pander to the far-right. He's no longer the "maverick" that he portrays himself as. Here's how he's flip-flopped on his abortion views (credit to SFgate.com):

    John McCain on abortion
    - "I'd love to see a point where (Roe vs. Wade) is irrelevant, and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary. But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal Roe vs. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to (undergo) illegal and dangerous operations." McCain said he would support legislation banning abortions in the third trimester. – Interview with The Chronicle, Aug. 20, 1999

    - "After a lot of study, a lot of consultation and a lot of prayer, I came up with a position that I believe there should be an exception for rape, incest or the life of a mother ... (the issue) is one of the most difficult and agonizing issues that I think all of us face, because of our belief – yours and mine – that life begins at conception." – Reported in the New York Times, Jan. 22, 2000

    - "John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench." – McCain for President Web site


    McCain cannot be trusted. His views change with the political winds.

    June 19, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  23. Marcus Allen

    Naive and inexperienced. How is spending more money on political races a "change?" Combined with his track record of choosing exactly the worst people to surround himself with and this has all the makings of a train wreck.

    God help us all if this naive noob is elected to run the military/economy/country...

    June 19, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. Larry, Apex, North Carolina

    The more I see and hear of Obama, the more I like him. He is refreshing-he has integrity!

    June 19, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  25. white male

    WE ARE DOOMED!!!!!!!

    I am a card carrying devoted populist, progressive Democrat, and I will vote for Obama even though I supported Hillary but all of you Obamabots have succeded in truly destroying this country for good. John McCain will wipe the floor with Obama. The only difference between Obama and any other politician is he lies, cheats and minipulates more than the rest of them!

    June 19, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
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