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. TeraJ, MD

    My thought is this, Go Barack!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Do it different than everybody else. I think it says something that your campaign isn't being funding by PACs or special interest lobbyist firms! Me thinks the McCain campaign is a bit lemony because they know they can't raise as much as Sen. Obama can't. Where I come from, we call those types of folks HATERS!!!!!

    OBAMA '08

    June 19, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  2. David, Silver Spring, MD

    Look, he's already saving the government money. Once he gets elected, Obama will turn that deficit into a surplus in no time.

    June 19, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. Linda Esen

    Steve Schmidt, i suggest U retract...u wil need a job come October 🙂

    June 19, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. Barbara Gooch

    Like I say , he is being funded by his rich friends I bet. Does he have the money to fund his self ? if not who then. After all Clinton used her own money, does that make history. Let's get real, in past history future Presidents had very little money, didn't need it to buy votes.

    June 19, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  5. robert ga

    Obama has a point, he is new to all this, and its a smart move to count Mccain and his 527 supporters. Mccain has done this campaign thing before and knows why he is accepting public funding. I bet he was hoping to get one over Obama.
    Flip Flop by who, This is not a policy position, he is responding to his ability to get support from ordinary americans. Flip flop is Mccain switching his policy position on Not Drilling to Drilling in America's reserves for a less than 1% gain in oil production that will come good in 10yrs and have absolutely not impact on rising oil prices.
    Go Dems

    June 19, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. TESAP


    BARACK THE VOTE PEOPLE............... 🙂

    June 19, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. dennis from chicago

    when some one says NO to money then there is something up....his contributions mostly from the internet...suppose the internet and the world...... i mean the REAL WORLD.....the underground.....the underground world of GEORGE SOROS Reszno was just a money launderer he helped barrack get his house every body has friends like that...,.. while you are at it look into the death of DONALD YOUNG trinity church choir master..... ask Barry he may know...ALL IS NOT WHAT IT SEEMS.... look into this yourself beforee AMERICA GETS VOTED DOWN THE TUBES

    June 19, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. John, Catholic

    Excellent strategy. Anything that Obama does McCain will have to do or answer for why he failed to do so. As it is known that McCain cannot raise a dollar to save his life eliminating sources of income for a presidential bid is a brilliant tactic!!

    To be president you have got to able to afford to campaign. That is a qualification that no one can deny!!

    At the same time Obama removes the limit on what he can spend!! Very, very good idea!!

    June 19, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. Isaac

    I salute you Senator Obama, in the the wake of the devastaion in the Midwest maybe this money can be put to rebuilding lives there. With the country spending so much in Iraq every other cent that can be used to build lives should be used & your efforts no to use Public Funding shows how in touch you are with the nation.

    Learn a lesson there Senator McSame.

    June 19, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. Contributions

    If Obama's funding is from individuals – the most individual donors in history for a campaign, AND he's not accepting money from federal lobbyists / PAC money: Isn't that ideal?

    June 19, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  11. John

    Not surprised. Politics as usual people!

    June 19, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  12. DeeJam - Los Angeles

    Smart move. I will give to Obama's campaign.

    June 19, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. Jean

    As long as there are those "swift boat" type non profit advocacy groups you have no choice but to establish the resources to fight against it. If it was only McCain's group that you had to worry about, public financing would be a non issue, but as we know it is not.

    June 19, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. for reals

    every word out of the republicans' mouths these past couple weeks has been tinged with jealousy.

    June 19, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. NW Dem

    This just proves he is all about being a politician and winning. He's not running to stand on principles or ideals. He's running for personal power and influence.

    Say one thing and do another. So much for change we can believe in?

    June 19, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  16. hah hah

    Well said schmidt, thats exactly right

    June 19, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  17. ChicoSez

    So Obama wants to go back to privately funded campaigns. Why? Just because he can. He outspent Hillary 3 and 4 to 1 and still lost most of the last primaries. The Obama camp knows that on equal financial footing, Obama loses. He has to spend 2 or 3 times as much money as his opponents because he is such a flawed candidate. So who cares about past promises, that was just words and we all know how much words mean, don't we?
    McCain/Clinton 08

    June 19, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  18. MD

    He is truly a candidate of virtue.

    June 19, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  19. cheryl

    Obama is a smart man, I think that this decision is for the better, no special favors to anyone.....Get em Obama!

    June 19, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  20. sherry

    This should let the people know who is more popular...................

    June 19, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  21. Rick FL

    Obama can fund his campaign by using individual donations from his many supporters, instead of wasting tax dollars that should be used on something constructive. Imagine how $80 million of public funds could help those facing hardships from floods in the Midwest now. Just a thought.

    I believe Obama is a candidate of principle rarely seen at this level in politics. It is exactly why I have joined many Americans in donating to his campaign (for the first time in my life). It's worth it!

    Obama '08

    June 19, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  22. Jason, Texas

    You go Obama!

    June 19, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  23. california for Hillary and proud of it..

    I will change my votes to McCain. Both Hillary and McCain has the experience and dealing with the problems of the country. This young person will screw things up. Having Rookie in the white house is not a game, ti's not a place for someone for basic training. Hillary should have been the choosen one, a woman is a big change, I believe she can manage to do a better job, like a mother eagle she understand the terrain and see from above the enemies of time is very importance, not tomorrow but now is?. She been there before and knows exactly what she has to do without much adviser following her around. Obama, on the other hand, if people will listen to him, all talks and no solution...etc. the same old stuffs!, I get too tired listening to him. I have to shut-off the T.V. because nothing new! old junks......

    June 19, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  24. empty vessel

    So this get's two (so far) entries, but the STORY that HIS CAMPAIGN WOULD NOT ALLOW 2 MUSLIM WOMAN in a photo op, get's a quickie with NO CHANCE to comment on?

    Imagine if John McCain's campaign pointed out two black folks and told them they could not be in the picture for "political reasons", his CAMPAIGN WOULD BE DONE and it WOULD NOT BE BURIED.

    True, campaigns plant people IN, all the time, but NOBODY EVER omits a certain group.

    The actual audacity is they are "remaking his wife", imagine that, someone has to be re-made, meaning Obamabots, that what you will be seeing is not what SOMETHING REALLY is.

    They can whine about Republican smears and throw the race card down, but the Clinton's are the ones who RIGHTFULLY brought her own comments up and it was Bob Beckel that mentioned a whitey tape and he is NO Republican.

    The continued love affair with this windbag of change, who is an empty vessel with empty promises is glaring, but totally expected considering what has gone on so far.

    November is a long way off.

    June 19, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  25. dean

    Talk about a flip flopper. Isn't it convenient that he takes a vow to accept public fundraising but now that he knows he has raised more money he is backing out. It goes to show that the one with the most money always wins. The US presidency can be bought. It goes to the highest bidder. I hope people will wake up and see that Obama isn't the candidate of hope and change but the candidate of empty promises and false dreams. He is in it for the power and advancement of himself and is just another sleezy politician. America needs to wake up before its too late. I mean, Christ's sake, did any of you read what his campaign did to those Muslim girls? He promises change and unity and then his campaign discriminates against Muslims. Barack Obama is a hypocrite and a liar!!! Wake up America! At least McCain is honest!!!

    June 19, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
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