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. Nicole in NE

    Vicky – I totally agree with you there!

    Those people really could use that money.

    June 19, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  2. Ken in NM

    Everytime one of the bloggers calls Obama a racist, an idiot, or something else that is a lie it only shows how you have nothing really to say and have to resort to personal attacks. It really makes these posters seem stupid. I can respect but not agree with someone who doesn't agree with his policies but not someone who just can throw out personal attacks.

    June 19, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  3. Disappointed Democrat

    This is an election the Democrats should win, given the poor economy and the Bush factor. I understand why Obama would forego public financing because he has raised alot of money. But remember, the Dems also have 527s that smear the Republicans, like the recent MoveOn/AFSCME ad, and the Supreme Court has said that independent groups have the 1st Amendment to express their views. My concern is that while Obama's decision may help Obama and the Dems this year, we will be hurt in future elections when the Republicans raise more money than our candidate. This sets a bad precedent that can come back to haunt us.

    June 19, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  4. Michael in Columbus, Ohio

    i guess I am lost here, why are people hating on a man who is willing to do somethng different. I admire John McCain for what he has done for this country, but as of lately I am trying to figure out why is He trying tobe like Bush in his actions of lately but his rhetoric is against what Bush has done to this country, sounds like confusion to me. One day he says he hate wars and knows thier consequenses and the "flip flops" and say we have to finish a fight that we all know we are obviously losing and is illegal from the get go. Even if Barack turns out to be a loser, at least I kow my son won't have to go to Iraq.

    By the way, I agree with many of the contributors here, I am part of the public and I will continue to help finanace Baracks campaign. The McCainites sound like a bunch of sore losers, as rodney king said, "Can't we all just get along"...That 80 million dollars can go to the flood victims in the midwest for i am concerned.

    June 19, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  5. idealistic in NM

    Right on ! Change we can believe in !

    Obama is walking the walk, not just talking the talk. I can't understand how this could possibly be twisted to be a bad thing. It is mystifying to me, b/c WE are the public and WE are raising money. Not like the GOP and its corporate money machine. The Repugs and the doubters who are attacking this most excellent move are bitter, angry, and will make up anything against Obama because they know they are going to LOSE BIGTIME in Nov. ! Obama will wipe the floor with McCain. It's going to be hilarious and a little sad.

    Sorry, Repugs, you're going down on this one.

    June 19, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  6. DC Missouri

    Good for you Obama. You already have public financing! It's the little people like myself – at $5, $10, $15, $20, & $25 a month – that builds a movement for change!


    June 19, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  7. Michael

    "Senator John McCain has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge. If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election." – Barack Obama

    Can anyone say empty shirt?

    June 19, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  8. Nausea

    For the record, all the sheep justifying this hypocrisy with the 527 excuse are ignoring the facts. The left 527s (moveon.org for example) are just as numerous and have outspent the right wing 527s by a substantial margin thus far. But then again, when have Obama supporters ever been constrained by logic and FACTS?!?!?!

    June 19, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. Gina

    God, I love this guy! An awesome move! Which I'm sure the Republicans will attempt to demonize.

    June 19, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. Chuck

    Flip Flop Obama, he signed to take public financing with McCain a long time ago and now he does not want it. LOL
    Flip Flop Obama again.

    June 19, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  11. Sarah, Northern Colorado

    Wow, this is awesome to know. The GOP talks about the dems pork-belly spending, and yet this democratic nominee turns down public funding by the government in lieu of allowing only those who want to donate to his campaign to do so. This is definitely change we can believe in!

    It's refreshing to know that this funding that came from our tax money will likely go towards something better than a presidential campaign. Thank you Obama, for not living down to the expectations of the naysayers!

    June 19, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  12. Fran

    Yes, change you can believe in. Ha! He is only doing it because he can raise more money from donations given through fundraising. This is not about him taking the high road, it is him playing politics and making the system work for him. He is the biggest politician out there. Does he have any suggestions for fixing this "broken" system? I haven't heard of any. All he is good at is pointing out what everyone else is doing wrong, he doesn't bring any alternatives to the table, unless someone else has already verbalized them. Well, I guess he does bring change, the change that suit his needs at the moment. Have you seen his group of national security advisers? Now, that is a group of "old politics" at work. Madeline Albright, and many gray haired men. Gee, I thought Obama wanted to bring change to Washington, why is he surrounding himself with people who have been there for ages. Oh I know, experience does have it's benefits.

    June 19, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  13. Drew, Central FL

    LOL!! He's got the GOP running scared.

    June 19, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. TESAP


    June 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. Quincy


    He's getting his money from the American people, $25.00 at a time. Maybe if you put your money where your smearing mouth is, your candidate might have a shot, but I doubt it.

    This train is moving a little too fast.

    June 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  16. Jeff in Illinois

    LOL! There are an awful lot of comments about Obama using "Oprah's money". We might as well start saying "John McCain is entirely financed by al Queda". Both statements contain the same degree of reality.

    Grow up people, we're trying to discern what's what in a campaign; we don't need people wading through your deranged fantasy ramblings.

    June 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  17. Nikki

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

    Okay, so you're going to vote for McCain because average Americans booed Hillary. Such well-thought logic.

    June 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. A Democrat in November - No McBush

    Good, accept private donations and not PAC money.

    June 19, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. paul

    Funny, he can change his mind now. LOL But when he said it before it was not because he didn't think he could get the money to run he said it because he knew the PRESS would eat it up... as they did ... and give him loads of press.

    Obama is no way a man of change! This would have been the biggest change he could have brought to a political atmosphere that wastes HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of million dollars just to get into the white house.

    So much for being for the people ... the little people. Think how many people can be feed, housed, given clean water in this country with the amount of money we SPEND on the presidential election. When all is finished I think it will be close to 2 billion dollars with the primaries and election all included!


    oh, Obama is a liar. Just on this matter ... so far

    June 19, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  20. Carol, San Luis Obispo, CA

    As closely as the candidates and their finances are being scrutinized, time will either prove Obama as a man who maintained his decision to decline public financing or as a man who didn't.

    As of today, I'm favorably impressed with this candidate.

    June 19, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  21. Nausea

    Hey Seyi,
    I have a small novel of proven facts from reliable sources (not the MSM) that support conclusions such as Schmidts. Fact is, CNN won't post them! Can you offer any factual evidence that this is not the case?? Any facts, evidence, or justification that is not campaign rhetoric??

    June 19, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  22. Mark Ferbet, Grain Valley Missouri

    John McCain's Campaign has been so wishy washy on the public financing, that I'm not positive which route he was going to go. I think he's being sued again, regarding some campaign finance decisions he has made.

    Obama has made a very smart, business decision. He has much more money in the coffer's, without taking public financing, and can use pretty much as much as he wants.

    Good for him.

    June 19, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. A.M. Saqib

    You are the "man'; Senator 'Obama', our next president of United States of America.

    A.M. Saqib
    Houston, Texas

    June 19, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  24. The T

    I keep seeing these post about Sen Obama's are just words....well let me see here....How many times has McClain changed his mind on positions since the yesterday? All of you who think Sen Obama a joke have you heard Sen McClain lately. Keep your votes and when he wins you have the right to change your minds too.

    June 19, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  25. Tea

    Can someone explain why it would be 'bad' for Obama to refuse public financing? To me, it seems like it's a respectful decision to make regardless of where his intent might have been in the past? I'm really confused by McCain's remarks on this– it sounds like telling someone who decides not to order dessert at a fancy restaurant when someone else is paying that they are being a bad guest because ten minutes earlier they were considering the dessert menu

    June 19, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
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