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)
  1. AHerbert; San Diego, CA


    The next thing the flip flopping McSane camp will say is " Obama stated he put his shoes on starting with right foot however breaking news footage states he starts with his left" However Obama wants to run his camp financing is his bussiness. McSame and team keeps throwing up these non issues lets stick to the issues at hand. Our ecconomy, bringing our son's and daughters home, the envirioment, but basically domestic issues that needs to be tended.

    June 19, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. Just Me

    Of course he refuses it. He is bending the rules to help himself just like all other politicians. He looks at what will benefit him and then tries to make himself look good in the process. He has learned the game well. Now, he'll turn around and talk about change. In the US, we will always vote for the lesser of the evils. Nothing changes.

    June 19, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  3. Phil Newton, Murphy OR

    GOP 527 cash is the poison fueling GOP candidates like McCain.

    Until the GOP surrenders its political crack pipe, there is no reason for Obama to surrender his funding edge.

    McCain: Go out and earn some honest cash.

    My friend.

    June 19, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. PG

    Good for you Sir! You can count on my donations as you did in the primary!

    June 19, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  5. Chris

    Heres another historical angle to this campaign-Never before has a candidate being nominated who has shown the depth of Hyprocrisy that Obama has....condone divsion, hatred and corruptions for years with friends like Wright, Pfedger and Rezko while running on a unity, new and improve message. Now, further evidence has come out to show that his will do anything and deploy any tactics attitude to gain power has again emerged with the discrimination of two supporters who just happened to be muslims. How can one reconcile the integrity of the Unity message of a candidate when the same candidate has only showned consistent tendencies to divide the races, take advantage of gender bias, profile poor working people and now discriminate against a group of people that he feels poses a threat to his political ambition for the whitehouse. Yes, this is another historical angle that is disburbing and even more so when the media is not shinning a spot light on it.

    June 19, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. EuropeKdG

    just bought n obama t shirt!

    June 19, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  7. Independent-woman-4-Obama

    Good for him! The fact that his campaign has raised RECORD BREAKING (W. raised 200 million) money, from everyday ordinary people donating $20-$100 on his web site SAYS A LOT. ALL the nay-sayers can say all they want but there is a huge movement in our nation who wants change!

    McCain= more war, more troops dying, more national debt ($10 TRILLION is not enough?)........ more of the same!

    June 19, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  8. JC

    Way to set the bar high for McCain!

    Obama '08!

    June 19, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. Manuel TX

    I think that we should call it what it is...campaign rhetoric.

    This is why it's so annoying to constantly hear how Obama is going to change everything. Umm. No.

    He's already shifted his position on NAFTA, which is ridiculous given that his campaign certainly pushed out a lot of distortions regarding Hillary and NAFTA.

    Live and learn. 🙂

    June 19, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  10. PGraber

    Wouldn't it be nice if all the money that has been involved in this rigged election could have gone to the Red Cross to aid all the people who are homeless in the floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Our American values are all screwed up.

    June 19, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  11. Tonya, Richmond, VA



    June 19, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  12. Koby

    I am sure the McSame will criticize Obama for changing his mind but it says something to me, about how many Americans feel about the his campaign, that Obama can fund his campaign on donations from regular Americans. I can't afford to donate millions or even thousands of dollars but I can give something. A s many people like me give a little; we now have some ownership in this candidate and as a result some ownership in the process and the outcome.

    June 19, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  13. Mary

    Don't worry Barack, we have your back. I am sending another $50 today!

    June 19, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  14. Chris

    I wonder if McCain is going to feel any pressure to follow Obama's lead...

    But...lord knows McCain needs any money he can get.

    Should be interesting

    June 19, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  15. KMAN

    Barack is actually relying totally on public financing ... as his individual supporters/donors small and large ... WE are the 'public' helping to change the dynamics of the election process and the course of politics in this great country of ours! Yes, this is OUR country and with our financial support behind Barack ... CHANGE is coming!

    June 19, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. Daniel

    Very good move because he will need more than the 80 million to help fight all the lies, smears, and rumors that you keep putting out there before confirming and checking the facts yourselves.

    June 19, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  17. patrick b

    I'm too am glad he opted out of public financing. I also believe that ALL candidates should be forced to use public financing to level the playing field and remove the influence of corporations in the electoral process.

    Until the playing field is level, i have no problem with private financing at all – why cripple youreslf?

    June 19, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  18. Houston Texas

    WOW. This man is serious. Guess I better go make a contribution...

    June 19, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  19. Michelle

    That's all Obama's candidacy is: Words! Slogans! Cliches!

    Riding into Fantasyland on hopes and dreams. Waiting for Santa.

    Maybe it feels good to some but it is bogus.

    Aren't we supposed to be grownups? Don't we all know that change takes hard work and know-how?

    Obama has no legislative accomplishments. Nada. Zilch.

    When is the media going to wake from their stupor and vet Obama?
    I have NEVER seen anything like this in any election coverage.

    How about making a point that Obama is politics as usual?

    How about emphasizing that he kicked his mentor
    off the ballot on a technicality so that he could run unopposed for the Illinois Senate?

    Are all the investigative journalists gone? How about digging
    and finding the truth about any connection between Rezko and Obama? Where are the real stories? Where is the truth?

    Instead of investigative journalism, we get stories about Michelle being warm and fuzzy on The View.

    Is it true that Obama's campaign is going to start limiting media access? This is major!

    Media, start doing your jobs, please. You are not supposed to be press secretaries for Obama. Do the bloggers have to do your jobs for you?

    June 19, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  20. Tim

    Now this allows him to raise unlimited private funds... You might want to read up on *private funding*... what a horses butt

    June 19, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  21. B. Churchill

    Obama has public financing! The public, including me, is financing his campaign. People are donating a tsunami of cash precisely because he's cut the lobbyists and boardrooms out of the loop – it's what we the people want and Repugs can't function without.

    June 19, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  22. JOYCE

    right when i think he is at all time high for his greatness
    here he goes again, i wish bush had cared as much for our finances
    we would not be in such a mess
    thank you barack and god bless

    June 19, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  23. benvictor

    As a hard-working American, I choose to make some of my tax dollars go to public financing of this campaign when I file my return. I find his action revolting. As a Hillary Democrat, I know Hillary would have done the honorable thing and taken public financing. The party is heading for disaster in November and this election cannot be won when it being bankrolled in this way. Happy that I will not be part of this maneuver.

    June 19, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  24. Dems 4 McCain

    Funny how its always okay to liberals to go back on their word when it messes with the Republicans.

    Double standards for the man who consorts with terrorists and wants to meet with dictators.

    June 19, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  25. Democrat in 08!

    Well this is good news. I would love to see the republicans try to make something bad out of this. If they do than you know they have no real discussions on anything but to talk about Obama. Am sure he won't need public financing he has great supporters.

    June 19, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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