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. Q Glenn

    This man has so much integrity! I am about to make a donation right now, let's all support him and contribute so there will be no limits in our quest to take the white house in November!

    June 19, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  2. KJ, GA

    Oh the republicans are looking for anything to discredit Obama. It's looking desperate. Obama is simply trying to alter a system that is broken and this is inline with his promises...good for him!

    June 19, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  3. Dem in CA

    Barack Obama is already taking public financing in the form of small donations from millions of individual supporters, and he's absolutely right about the other system being gamed. He is already doing, in principle, what the other system claims is its noble goal, so why change course?

    I'm pleased he's talking about this.

    June 19, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  4. Greg, NY

    I would too if I was outraising my rival by more than double.

    June 19, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  5. Joe Six

    Well, it seems to be final. Change you can believe in is just an empty slogan. Obama just blew up the campaign finance system. No system is perfect, and a refusal to limit spending because the system is not perfect may doom us to never again having public financing of presidential campaigns because we will never have a perfect system. This short term gain for Obama will come with long term pain for the country. Richard Nixon must be laughing in his grave. I thought Obama was better than this. I thought Democrats were better than this. I guess I was wrong.

    June 19, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  6. Chris

    Smart decision... The republicans will go after him for it, but only because they know it's a smart move that is going to hurt them and had they've been given the choice themselves, they would've jumped at it.

    Unfortunately for them, they're stuck with McCain who can't raise funds very well and Bush who's great at it, but cannot be seen with McCain in public.

    June 19, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  7. Kori

    Nice move, lead by example.

    June 19, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  8. Phil, FL

    Change is in the air. I can smell it.

    So much nicer than the smut that's been hanging around DC for way too many years.

    Way to go Obama !!!!!!

    June 19, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. AJ

    Who are you kidding, Steve. Don't throw rocks when you know that your candidate's glasshouse will get shattered also based on several flip-flops he has done since he announced his candidacy.


    June 19, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  10. Lori

    What a change! Is this the change he talking about?

    June 19, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  11. Glenn

    McCain needs to get a grip, just because the GOP isn't funding his campaign,

    June 19, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  12. Tired of W, OH

    Smart move by Obama. He'll need every penny he can raise to fight the republican smear machine and the swift-boaters. To accept public financing would give an advantage to McBush and his rule-bending cronies and limit Obama's greatest asset: The millions of people who have donated what little cash they can spare in order to ensure that we don't have another clueless republican in the White House.

    June 19, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  13. The Truth Hurts

    This is a very good move by Senator Obama...Thank you for making a wise decision. Hope Senator McCain will do the same..

    Fight for the people's interest!!

    June 19, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  14. Nina De Ponca

    When the Vision is right.
    When the Message is on point.
    When the Messender has integrity

    People WILLINGLY support the campaign. It is that simple.

    Any politician with money troubles isn't resonating with the public.

    Mr. Obama is a transformational candidate for the next phase of America's greatness.

    June 19, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  15. Scorekeeper

    has anything positive come out of the McCan't camp.

    June 19, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  16. Sharon, Raleigh NC

    Is he really going to bring about change? I don't care what he said earlier about public financing, but it would have been nice to see him and McCain (who has made campaign financing a center piece of his political career) sit down and discuss how they could make campaign finance better during this election and maybe just maybe other candidates would follow. That would have been real change.

    June 19, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  17. Andy J, NY

    Good for him. He should use his own money to spread his socialist, marxist propaganda.

    When the heck is America going to wake up? Obama can speak well, but do you listen to what he is saying?

    He wants the government to redistribute wealth. Yeah, Exxon made 40 billion dollars, but what Obama won't tell you is that only about 2-4 billion of that was made HERE in the U.S., which puts Exxon on par with other giants like WalMart, ect. Oh, and their profit margin is only about %8, and for you liberals who don't know business and economics (its obvious you don't), thats not really all that oustanding.

    He wants the government to be in our faces and have more control over our lives, via government run health care.

    Look up the topic of the Senate's chain of restaurants... Run by the government, its lost millions of dollars and adds about 1 or 2 new items to the menu per YEAR. That is garbage. Pretty sad.

    If the government can't even run a restaurant, do you really want them in control of your health care?


    June 19, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  18. Yes.We.Can.

    Great! I know he believes in public financing but why tie his own hands when we all know the republicans will bend the rules? They will respond now and call him all kinds of names but that’s nothing compared to being financially disabled.

    June 19, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  19. Chris

    Barack Obama/Caroline Kennedy 2008!

    "Some see things as they are and say why, I see things that never were and say why not." (RFK)

    June 19, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  20. p Coleman

    According to Obama is there anything in this country that is not broken. If everything is wrong and he is the only one that can fix it why is he surrounding himself with all these people that have been in
    Washington all along.

    The sad truth will be that he will change nothing.

    June 19, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  21. College-bound going for Obama

    This is exactly why we need Obama in the White House. He provides the change that we as Americans need to see occur in modern day politics. I hope we can get behind this candiate that supports change and provides a hope for the future.

    June 19, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  22. KDC

    I'm confused. How is this a broken promise of staggering dimensions?

    June 19, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  23. Diddy

    Finally...someone with morals

    June 19, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  24. Kenneth

    a REPUB is complaining about the money that a DEM can raise
    very interesting

    June 19, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  25. Rob Johnson

    He probably could have won even with the limitations of public financing, so I'm not sure how I feel about this, if only because it is something that McCain can criticize him for.

    It is legitimate to point out that Obama's campaign is by far the most grassroots-financed political campaign in history. Despite the attacks by Obama haters, who will jump on this story like fresh meat, his money doesn't come from some sinister conspiracy of moneyed interests.

    It comes in small donations from people like you and me, and that will probably enable him to continue to raise unparalleled amounts of money between now and November.

    June 19, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23