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. Obama Man in NJ

    $80 million dollars..who needs eighty stinkin' million dollars, I am Barack Hussein Obama and I am the next president of the United States.
    He should donate it to McCain, the poor guy needs it!
    Hey Republicans, McCain should pick one of the greatest republicans ever Colin Powell....That's right, he is an Obama supporter too! Aww you will find one soon don't worry!

    June 19, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. One Vote

    OBAMA KNOWS HE DOES NOT NEED PUBLIC FINANCING. "Since January of 2007, has raised over $272 million." There are many American people that still beleive in the American dream (which is not just buying a home). It's the freedom from any type of oppression. That is the dream this county provides.....

    OBAMA 08....

    June 19, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. rachel

    He is only doing it because he knows he can raise more than 85 million, if he couldnt he would have took public fianancing nothing genious about this decision.

    June 19, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  4. squirrelfood

    McCain's just jealous.

    I would have approached it in a more tactful and grown up manner, but honestly, that's really all it boils down to.

    June 19, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  5. Glenn Pretoria, South Africa

    Since Mcwar raised roughly $100 millions, half the amount Obama raised. The Repubs have become masters at gaming that broken system. Mcwar are you going to accept public financing or flip flop on the issue? I bet you wont even exceed $50 millions in fundraising this time around. That is why you wont return the $300 000 to your misogynist friend.

    June 19, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. Ford

    And where is this vaunted change? backing out of your promises now are we Barrack? This is simply more sleazy chicago politics and the lemmings are all running off the cliff together...

    June 19, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. Teresa- charlotte, nc

    i am with you–will send more money....You are practicing what you preach....

    June 19, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  8. Quincy

    Smart move.

    Look out Sen. McCain, Sen. Obama's knights are on the move and you are still on the 2nd rank playing the smear game.

    June 19, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  9. David O

    The DEMs are coming baby, we are attacking the fear and lies machine from all sides, and in every state...the South is up for grabs as well.

    June 19, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  10. therealist


    June 19, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  11. Vicky

    Awesome! If they insist on spending the $80 million of our tax dollars from a system that that is already grossly in debt and that Obama does not wish to particpate in, then they should donate the funds to the flood, tornado and economic disasters going on in our country. It will be better spent and Obama can better support his campaign by accepting funds from those that believe in his message of change, and I think this most recent message of change and to reject the funds should be respected and appreciated. Obama has my support!

    June 19, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  12. Shane

    Hmm...They talk about Obama's words. To me it seems Mccain's words look sooooo much emptier. I cant believe a thing i hear from that old geezer snakeoil salesmen

    June 19, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  13. George from Minneapolis

    Watch the McCain people WHINE, WHINE, WHINE. They will whine because they can't match Senator Obama in raising funds. Obama has more money than they do and they are going to whine like 3 year olds about it.

    If McBush had a personality perhaps he could raise more money.

    June 19, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  14. tony

    Does the hypocritical double-talk ever end with this guy???

    June 19, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  15. Fishers, Indiana

    Obama supporters who booed the mention of Hillary Clinton, watch out. We'll vote for McCain if you aren't nice.

    June 19, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  16. Nick - Arlington, VA

    He's not opting out of public finance to take money from big donors...instead he is getting public financing but instead of taking it out of our taxes, he is funding his entire campaign with small funders, who donate on average, less than 100 bucks....that is public financing

    June 19, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  17. Kay

    Yeah!! You can say what you want but one thing you can not say is that he will not owe the people of America. Obama will have to answer to us and that is alright with me.

    OBAMA 2008/20012

    June 19, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  18. Kathy in Oregon

    Jerry - You are right on the mark.

    Like you, I realize that the lies, manipulations, and outright hypocrisy demonstrated by OBAMA throughout this campaign is simply business as usual in the current political climate = doing whatever it takes to win. Why pretend otherwise?

    WHAT bothers me is that OBAMA professes top be "above it all", and then criticizes his opponents for thier "business as usual" approach to politics. This tactic by OBAMA has turned my OFF completely.

    I will not be voting for "saint" Obama...because he's a phony!

    June 19, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  19. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    I guess McCain and his croinies thought (HOPED!) that Obama was going to throw away one of his biggest weapons (fundraising) and go with the public money.

    Obama knows a good weapon when he sees one.

    Let McCain have his little bb gun, Obama has the big guns.

    I have sent 40 bucks to the Obama fund and will be contributing more.

    June 19, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  20. Herman in LA

    Good choice my donation is on the way cha ching cha ching....

    Change is coming to Washington...

    June 19, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. Sue/PA

    Even before the news outlets were privy to Sen Obamas decision....He let all his supporters know in advance. Because we truely DO fund his campaign.. And will continue to do so one small donation at a time. 🙂

    June 19, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  22. Enlightened Voter -

    Like I said the Obama haters (repubs) will spin his good and HONEST intentions into something negative but I understand it's all you guys have. You couldn't really attack him with something substantitive so go for the petty stuff, you guys are great at it.

    June 19, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  23. D_in_TX

    At this point, EVERYONE'S campaign is based on speeches. Neither one is the current Commander-In-Chief, therefore, they both have to just talk about what they're going to do. The main thing is to elect someone that will be able to accomplish what they say to better this country.

    For those Hillary supporters who say they that they'll vote for McCain, that's the dumbest thing I've heard. Hillary and Barak were pretty much the same on most major issues. To say that you'll go to vote for someone who is opposite to Obama's/Hillary's view's shows that you didn't care about issued one bit! The attitude to decide to vote for McCain is basically something you'd expect out of people in grammar school, not adults. This also applies to those who say they won't vote at all.

    June 19, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  24. Jerry

    This is the end of America as we once knew it. All you people who think this is a good thing are in for a real shock.

    June 19, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  25. Possible

    Look how far a person can go with Oprah's money in their pocket. One could finance an eloquent village idiot with her bank roll and get the same result. Shameful how our system has come to a battle of money with the "have" group while the "have not" group doesn't even have a true vote in the matter anymore.Shameful.

    June 19, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
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