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. Joy

    Awesome, this is beyond politics.
    Great judjement !!!!

    June 19, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  2. Jodi


    To all of you who are talking about Obama Backtracking he is not. If you all read the document you would see he said he would CONSIDER the option of using public financing. He did not say he will take it. Now he has considered it and has decided against taking it. People please do your own research before you open your traps.

    June 19, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  3. EDW

    I will join you with my donation of $50 for the Obama campaign (I need gas). God keep the people of Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois during the flooding.

    Dems '08

    June 19, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  4. Power to the People

    Obama says he does not want money and Mcflop supporters are enraged. I am surprised. Cindy has $100 million why not just use it or tell big oil about it

    Obama 08

    June 19, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. Bishop

    "New Politics" = New DECISIONS, Jerry. Instead of crying about being out spent by Sen. Obama. Go with the old saying if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. WaaaaaWaaaaa I can't get enough actual voters to support me financially, I'll go ask my buddy George to help...But don't tell anyone...and close the doors...

    June 19, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. Beverly, NYC

    Let the crying begin, Waaah, Waaah, he's going to outspend me, people don't believe in me enough to donate money!! What's the internet? Man up McCain, Barack will need every penny raised to defend against the Rove playbook and the hot air hacks like Hannity, Limbaugh and Faux News Network.

    June 19, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. MD

    Hello obats, you can see the hypocrisy and lie already. Don't be blinded by Obama's excellent delivery of a stale message.

    NOBAMA ever.

    June 19, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  8. Jerry in Fresno

    It doesn't make sense to go with public financing since the candidates are burdened with the unpatriotic profiteering of the media when it comes to running political ad and messages.

    June 19, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. Hillary

    The gall of McCain's campaign, calling Obama a flip-flopper when John McCain is the BIGGEST FLIP-FLOPPER in this campaign.

    Obama and his campaign are smart and who says they aren't being publicly financed? Saying that is slapping his millions of supporters (we, the PUBLIC) who have donated to his campaign and will continue to do so.

    The GOP is just scared because this is the kind of movement they haven't seen before.

    June 19, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. MD

    Dear Emma,

    Please DO NOT send any more contributions to Obama. First, he has enough money already and YOU will need the money to pay for the tax increase that Obama's going to enact his first year in office.

    June 19, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. Cynthia

    I think it is great. He has loyal supporters who will send in money, no matter how small the amount. Small amounts add up.

    June 19, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  12. Mike from Westchester

    Jimenez June 19th, 2008 11:17 am ET

    "Someone needs to investigate where this guy is getting his money."

    He's getting his money from the over 1.5 million Americans donating mostly small amounts to his campaign (I believe the most individual donors in history – EVER!). You don't need an investigation, just read the required monthly reports that are publicly available.

    I don't think you will read the documents, however, as I expect that your comment was meant to cast aspersions through innuendo, not to get at the truth.... but I always appreciate the opportunities people like you provide for us to correct the many misconceptions being peddled about Barack Obama, his ideas, and his campaign. I believe that in the end, truth and justice prevail, even if they are suppressed for say – EIGHT YEARS.

    June 19, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. David, NY

    ---No OBUMA! LIES! LIES! June 19th, 2008 11:18 am ET
    Obuma uses this tactics as political agenda.
    I was a democrat and changed my party to INDEP..
    He hijacked the MI votes! -----

    My friend (like McCain't says), you're wrong, Barack never hijacked the MI votes, get over, his name wasn't even on the ballot so please, stop telling lies. Too bad that you changed your registration, I only hope you'll consider your thinking again, before it's too late for you...

    That's a great decision, no money from lobbyists, PACs or special interests, a campaign fully founded by US, the people of the USA.

    Great Barack, the American people will have a clear choice between another insider, a clone of Bush surrounded by dangerous lobbyists and special interests, and a real reformer, a guy like all of US who intends to deeply change things in this country.

    June 19, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  14. Jay

    Another new day , another Obama lie. He will never become president of the USA. Obama is a fraud people.

    June 19, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  15. S. Wright

    In REAL news today:

    The House, under Democrat leadership came to an agreement with Republicans to continue to fund the war in Iraq.

    How does it feel Democrats? This is what you voted for in 2006, right? Change? An end to the war? Think it'll be different with Obama?


    A message to Jack Murtha: You need to apologize to the Marine Corps for your despicable comments about the Marines who served during the Haditha incident in which so far no one has been guilty of.

    You friggin' moron, you.

    June 19, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. TerryDo

    Public Funding?

    Who needs public funding when you have money men like G.S. backing you and Oprah and her money backing you, and who knows what other hidden money is coming into the country funneled through the 725.

    Does anyone smell corruption?

    June 19, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. bridgette

    The difference between Obama and McCain is McCain signed a contract stating that he will use public financing. Obama said it was a good idea, but, never signed anything. He was smart enough too know that who knows what the future will hold. John McCain typical politician says whatever sounds good at the moment and then when things change he's stuck. We need someone in that office who can think on their feet. And most of the time when you come from a privileage place in life the thinking is done for you. But you have too work for everything that you have you have no choice but too think on your feet.

    June 19, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  18. AJ

    Why should he take public funding when he has Oprah's deep pockets?

    June 19, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  19. Susan, PA


    I am a Hillary supporter and I know that Obama won fair and square. We were not supposed to get any delegates our of MI and FL, we should be glad that we half. I tell my kids that if you break the rules, you will be penalised not awarded. I am sure that my kids won't be Clintons when they grow up.

    I just voted for Hillary because I thought he is a stronger candidate having appeal to white voters and who can defeat McCain in November. My target in no more Republicans in White House.

    June 19, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  20. Tony

    I'm setting up an Obama Kool Aid stand. You lemmings need to open your eyes. He is nothing but a a bag of hot air. No different than any other politician.

    He made a promise and broke it when it was convenient for him to do so.

    No change.
    No backbone.
    No integrity.
    No vote from this guy.

    June 19, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  21. Carl from MI

    To 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."

    Isn't what Bush has done to our country qualify as the 'end of America as we once knew it?' Aren't we all currently in a state of shock at what is going on in our nation at this very moment?

    Wake up and smell the thorns!!! Like Obama could do any worse than Bush has for the past two terms... when you've reached rock bottom, the only place to go is up and Obama is going to take us there!!

    June 19, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  22. Heidi

    To: No OBUMA! LIES! LIES 11:18am

    I suppose in your mind Hillary didn't lie. You probably are still a democrat and can't even figure out how to change to and Independent.

    Sen. Obama WILL BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. And you will just have to live with it. Loser

    June 19, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  23. insanity

    To the poser who had posted under "No OBUMA! LIES! LIES!"

    First of all, you have no idea what you're talking about. "political agenda" ? What are you talking about?
    Second, No one believes you're an ex democrat. You're too stupid to ever have been a democrat. Republican part is the part for stupid people.

    And lastly, with regard to the MI voters, he didn't hijack anything. He just played by the rules. Hilary wanted to change the rules mid-race, and that's why he got awarded those voters. Then again, you're a moron, so you wouldn't get that.

    June 19, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  24. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    What a work of art, in the begining wanting public financing, but when Obama saw how much money he could raise, chucked that idea out the window. Obama now has the gull to say that receiving small individual contributions is also public financing.
    If Obama really wanted to bring change he would have keep his pledge to accept public financing, period.
    Where and when does changing the system beginning?
    With Obama turning his back on his on public financing I am turning my back on Obama.

    June 19, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  25. Tim from Buffalo

    While I see the concern about Obama who wrote an Op-ed stating he would accept public financing if his republican counterpart would do the same I don't see him opting out of public financing as a moral dilemma.

    His average campaign donation was near $100 per person the last time the fundraising numbers were reported. This effectively makes his case that he's well positioned to stand up to big money lobbyists as he simply doesn't need their money.

    June 19, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
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