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. Karen

    I guess keeping one's word means nothing anymore. The Public Financing "machine" hasn't changed since Obama first pledged that he would take public financing. All you Obama Nuts just choose to look the other way.

    He continually goes back on his word and "fancy's up" a response that makes him look like he's taking the high road.

    It's easy to tell that you supporters are young and uninformed and ready to follow anyone who makes speeches and hands out concert tickets.

    Call me old and cynical, but that sounds alot like brain-washing and bribery.

    June 19, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. Bob (Maryland)

    Good decision! People who donate money are accordingly more motivated to show up at the polls on election day!

    June 19, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  3. Jim

    Bravo Senator Obama. Bravo. You will continue to see my regular online donations to your campaign. I've been on board since October 2007. I admire your courage to take on this beast called "Old School Washington" and especially one of the "Old" old schoolers, John McBush. John "Keating Five, Vicki Iseman, Donald Diamond, Votes against veterans" McCain must be stopped. He's seeking Bush's third term. We don't need that sort of toolbox ineptitude in the white house for another four years. VOTE OBAMA!!!

    June 19, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  4. Rafael Rivas

    No need for public funds...the funds of the public are with you!!!

    June 19, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |

    Emma since you're sending your surplus to Obama, can you send some to me! just kidding

    June 19, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. Ex-mod-GOP for Obama

    It's refreshing that for once a candidate seems to be able to raise significant funds through small contributions rather than corporate donations at the upper limit allowable by law.

    Obama for America. We're behind you all the way.

    June 19, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  7. Daver

    Good on him. That money would be much better spent helping flood victims, building schools or helping those in need. If he doesn't need it, why take it?

    June 19, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. Nikki

    I'm sure the anti-Obama crews are ready to fire away with insults about an Obama flip-flop on public finance.

    When this race started, Obama didn't know that he was going to be the money machine that he is today. Why allow McCain to out-raise him by taking public funds? It would be political suicide. But of course, that's what the right-wing wants. We already know what the talking points are going to be in the upcoming news cycle from the right. They're so predictable.

    June 19, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    The Obamabots again, leave their saviour off the hook for saying one thing and doing another. It doesn't matter what he does, it's ok with his supporters. But, another candidate does something like this and the Obamabots jump up and down with scaithing criticism. This is, without any doubt, the most hypocritcal campaign ever.

    Oh yeah, another thing – there are plenty of 527s on Obama's side, too. They've sprung into action as quickly as John McCain's have.

    June 19, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. Annette

    Smart move! I'll support you!

    June 19, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  11. trust

    MASTER OF THE GAME – you guys must see this old movie. Obama sees that McCain wrote his own loan rules early on, so the Obama campaign is going to use his own fundraising money. Too bad so sad McCain, looks like the young democrat just did a check mate on your azz.

    Dems '08

    June 19, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. randy

    So sad i was even thinking about saving some money and contribute in his website.well this on on good example by obama.but i can still buy machandise from his website.

    June 19, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. Ding, Washington, DC

    Obama moves will absolutely scare the crap out of K. Street. Slap in the face of lobbists but really good for Americans. Now, we can count on Obama because he will count on us. Good deal.

    June 19, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  14. shawn atlanta

    Obama continues to make historic changes in todays politics. Everyday you can see how he is different. Not accepting government money should make republicans happy since they are not for government spending of taxpayers money. The decision may have even been bad if he was only recieving money from corporations, but he is not, he is receiving majority of his money from small donors, the kinds of donors that should fund the election. Of the people, By the people and For the people of the United States. The US people will really determine the election this year...if they don't support their candidate then he won't win. This is a historic day for american politics.

    June 19, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  15. Marie

    Best news I've heard so far today. Really smart move. Go Barack! We've got your money back. You can count on me and my family for funding. Now, for the rest of the political day we will hear from the Repugs how terrible this is. He's so scary, he doesn't keep his word. My answer to this... Eat S...t and die. Who cares.

    June 19, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  16. j

    I think it's a good choice. It means that this presidential candidate will be fully funded by the people.

    June 19, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  17. Nicole in NE

    Is it just me or have the comments on here been MORE ridiculous this week?

    Please educate yourselves before posting. thanks.

    June 19, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. Mike H.

    Another broken promise from the great reformer. Obama is a fraud, period.

    June 19, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  19. miller

    For all those people that voted for Bush...now would be a good time to say I'm sorry!!!

    June 19, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  20. california for Hillary and proud of it..

    moderation is not the answer. The truth is what matter most. I don't play around with moderation attitude or life style. Guess what? our gas problems today was all moderation and this is the result what's happening in our country today. so much moderation, people are suffering because of it. No jobs and people are getting laid-of by the thousands. You probably is better of than most of us, going around telling moderation is good, maybe!!! for you perhaps...how about those people who spent 3/4 of their family budget on gas and foods, and no relief on sight, how can you say moderation is more important. why don't you line people up and give them finanical support.....instead!!! huh????

    June 19, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  21. Janice

    Good for Obama. Why should he have to limit his donations from his small donor base to take public money.

    You can't be the only one taking public financing and following rules that will in the end hamstring the campaign when McCain will play this little game he's got going to seem to follow the rules but then get virtually unlimited money from the RNC and it's corporate and PAC sponsors behind the scenes because that isn't regulated money.

    The media will most certainly give the smear campaign of the Republicans plenty of time to play hypocrites on the public airwaves, however.

    June 19, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  22. NO OBAMA

    Well of course he is going to decline public financing. How else would be able to claim all the money he is getting from Hollywood, Oprah and those other mysterious sources that still have not been revealed. It is amazing to me that someone with ZERO political experience, ZERO new ideas, and ZERO substance can supposedly raise this much money. I am not claiming conspiracy but something stinks in Denmark if you know what I mean!

    June 19, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  23. Mark

    As you can plainly see he is wanting to take the US in a new direction by starting with his campaign funding by stepping over the pit falls that others before him have created and still rely upon

    June 19, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  24. Schalaine Ellisor

    You and your advisors are always one up!! Not only does this move cast you in a favorable light, it will be a crippling blow to the McCain camp!!! Of course with the numberous organizations-Planned Parenthood, Move On.Org., SEIU, and Pro-Democratic labor union AFC CIO poised to spend MILLIONS to help get you elected, there is NO STOPPING YOU NOW!!!

    OBAMA '08

    There seems to be a lack of Pro Republican groups gearing up to help elect their candidate. I wonder why?

    June 19, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  25. I.Bennett

    I am so excited for him and the american people .republicans can just stay home this election.i can almost hear the screams of victory thanks Obama.

    June 19, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
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