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.

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soundoff (570 Responses)


    June 19, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  2. Jerry

    Hardly surprising. Democrats like Senator Obama were all in favor of public financing when they were being massively outspent by the privately financed Republicans, but the second the shoe is on the other foot, they change their tune.

    Of course the Obamabots will rationalize, parse and justify this latest example of hypocrisy like they always do...

    My problem with Obama isn't that he's a manipulative hypocrite. ALL politicians are manipulative hypocrites. What I loathe about him is that the central plank of his candidacy is his "New Politics". He claims to be above all the petty bickering and sleaziness of Washington insiders, but in reality, he's no different to any of them.

    The same people who despised the Bush/Rove Machiavellian hypocrisy of 2000 and 2004 ("I'm a Uniter not a divider") are now prepared to overlook the similar tactics of Obama/Axelrod, simply because they're on the right (Left) team.

    June 19, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. Chris Parks

    Everytime either Obama opens their mouth, the opposition starts a fire. Why limit your funding to 80M when you constantly have to deal with attacks from everywhere?

    Get over it McCain!! If the play was fair, he could accept the public funding.

    June 19, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |

    I know the republicans are reelling about Obama's decision.
    I expected that and most American expected that. This campaign is a campaign funded by the American People for the American People, less lobbysts.

    Outstanding Judgment!!

    That is the judgment we need in the OVAL OFFICE!!

    June 19, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |

    I am so proud of Obama! He has a true sense of intergrity. Unlike what we have seen of McShame, as he refused to give the money back from that controversial guy last week.

    This is exactly what the US needs as a President. A stand up guy we can be proud of. Way to go Obama!

    -A proud OBAMABOT!

    June 19, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  6. John, Catholic

    To all the Hillary supports who threaten to write her name in please do so. By doing so you effectively waste your vote because. Hillary supporters like to say that Obama cannot win without their vote, yet they fail to realize that she cannot win without the votes of his people either. Writing her name in will not make her president. However writing her name in will assure that the vote does not go to McCain. As such it is a vote not cast to help the opposition and a vote that will not achieve victory for the name listed. Hence your vote is a waste. We thank you for your use of fuel to cast your wasted vote as your need to buy more will help stimulate the economy.

    I am tired of people trying to persuade or cajole BITTER supporters over. Do what you will do! For often in life we learn that when we get what we asked for it was not what we wanted. You want Obama to fail and McCain to succeed, so be it!! Most of Hillary supporters were blue collar workers and women who will suffer the most should McCain win. If they choose to cause Obama to lose out of spite than they will be rewarded by having to suffer more than anyone else under McCain. So by all means impose more grief upon yourself. I am not a woman nor am I blue collar so I can afford to wait out a McCain term or two. Indeed while I am an Obama supporter I may just vote for McCain to teach you people a lesson. Maybe after you suffer more for four more years you will realize that you got what you asked for and it was far from what you wanted!!!

    June 19, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  7. shelly

    Alright Senator Obama!!! I will continue to donate money to the campagin on a regular basis. It's time for real change and reform in Washington, and President Obama is the man for the job. With his Lovely wife and daughters at his side. America will once again be the proud country our founding fathers intended for us to be.

    June 19, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  8. Ike

    Smart decision. Only hypocrites will cry foul. With the Republican 'swift boat' groups out there, Obama needs all the money to counter their lies and expose the Republican's lack of vision for the country and the world.

    Imagine this scenario people:

    Gore As President in 2000:
    There would have been no Iraq war and Iran would not be be posing a threat now. Furthermore, Osama and his group would have been killed in Tora Bora mountains in Afghanistan.

    Kerry as President in 2004:
    American troops would have pulled out of Iraq and believe it or not, the Iraqis would have solved their problem without the loss of more than three thousand American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

    2008 President?
    The whole world is looking to the American people to set sentiments aside, ignore the visionless Republicans and make the right decision this time around.

    June 19, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. American

    The Repugnants know they are about to get their bootys kicked!!

    Go Obama....we will be donating to your campaign!!

    June 19, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  10. Gigi, NY

    Steve Schmidt – take some advance from Luke Russert, people change their minds and what empty words are you talking about. By the way what is Mclobbyist /McFilp-flopper doing. Nada!!!!

    June 19, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. Bishop

    I think that the McCain Champagne is scared. They need every drop of the "special interest" money to help them run their champagne. Barack ACTUALLY KEPT his promise to turn away those groups. He has his champagne ran by THE PEOPLE! Not shady groups...Please, Sen McCain learn what the people really want...

    I think this is where I'm suppose to say the McCain is "out of touch"...

    June 19, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  12. Salaam, Lawrence KS

    That's the only way you can effeciently overcome the crooked Republican smear machine

    June 19, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  13. John

    once again our canidate, changes they way the game is played now lets see if the GOP can put up or shut up in the same way. Obama for the people, he will be the next President. For the first time in my life I gave to a canidate and I will give more to Barack. Not just words, but principle actions to back them up. A man of his word. I love this country, GOP you better take notice, we are taking back our country. Things are going to change.

    June 19, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  14. christina

    We love you Obama!!!

    June 19, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  15. Jeff D, South Bend, IN

    Good for him. If he can raise the money, and do so without selling out to corporations and lobbyists, power to him. Hell, my lifelong Republican grandma gave him $50 from her social security income, because he gives her hope for the future of her grandkids, whereas McCain reminds her of some of her old, senile, angry friends.

    June 19, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  16. EMJ

    Is it November yet? I am so sick of the negativity, lies, and word twisting of the low life republicans. McCOld's handlers are making a big mistake if they think people don't know what is really going on with all the off-topic attacks. It did not work for you-know-who and It ain't gonna work for McCain either...Not this time.

    June 19, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  17. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    It's a good decision. The Republicans have abused the system by allowing groups like the Swiftboats to circumvent the spending limits. In such an important election, Obama should not allow the Republicans to attack him while he's got a hand tied behind his back.

    June 19, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  18. jimmy

    It is a very good decission for him, if we could give him more
    money than public financing . John macain we do same.
    GO OBAMA GO 08

    June 19, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  19. Virginia is Obama country

    McCain is afraid that he can't match our fund raising ability.

    Obama 08

    June 19, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  20. Ell

    Please give me a break this nonsense, so what if he wants the people involved. He changed his mind due to us "The American Vote" a Change we can believe in!

    I'm more concerned on the flip flop of policies isssues. Where do McCain stand??? It is confusing to some that really care about our Economy and our future Environmental concerns as well as Social Security. So when I hear the words confused I see why.

    We are clear on 2 things McCain wants more of the same on tax breaks for the wealthy and to continue war any war you name it and he's for it.

    June 19, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  21. Independant Vet

    He has taken over from the last election, from Fli[p an Flop, ( Kerry , Edwards )

    Wonder who writes his Script , it sure is not Oprah .

    All he know's is $$$$$ , he must have his own printing hardware.
    He is not worrying, run short , Charvez will bail him out should Oprah wise up.

    Yet who Votes for O B , don't cry when you get your change, for that is all you will have to live on is change , no more $'s .

    NNOOOOOooooooo Obama ,

    Take time to check up an see how he became the Senator , another behind the doors trick. No oposition , Found a way they could not run against him .

    June 19, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  22. BHO Not my candidate

    Check out Obamas top Corporations.... Mortgage Bank galore....

    June 19, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  23. Grad Student

    Mc Cain – accepted the public funding when his campaign was broke and then he went against the rules.

    I do not want that kind of leadership in office.

    Obama is right for the entire America.

    Mc Cain represents only a portion like G W Bush.

    Although I disagree with his stance on same gender marriage and Abortion.

    I want a uniter and not a divider in office.

    June 19, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  24. Jeff Kao

    I totally agree with ""Obama's candidacy is based on words and it seems like everyday that passes, those words look emptier and emptier when judged against his actions," Schmidt said.

    June 19, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  25. Xavier---Virginia

    I'm sure McCain would love to have Obama use public financing when McCain intends for Karl Rove's 527, Freedom's Watch, to do all the heavy lifting for his campaign in terms of attack adds, smear campaigns, and the rest.

    McCain is just trying to box Obama into a corner. Good on Obama for refusing to kow-tow to the Republican bullying.

    June 19, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
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