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. MARYANN Oswego IL

    Liar...is this the kind of change we can expect....CNN why so many stories about MICHElle's MAKEOVER..is this also the kind of change we can expect..it seems like Obama's new politics are old . Obama changes alright like when he sees that the public does not like something (like Michelle) his campaign changes.... tries to change our perception....Is it too late to CHANGE the nominees? I thought Obama said a FIRST LADY just goes around the world having TEA with others...why would Michelle need to change her style if she is just having TEA?I am a life long Democrat and I am sick and tired of hearing how smart the Obama's are and how they could do no wrong ..I do not like any of the nominees....

    June 19, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  2. Aaron

    McCain is going after Obama for deciding against taking public funds when he is already spending millions of privately donated funds. He wants to get on Obama, but how ethical and fair is it to be spending private money in the general election and then go off on Obama? I used to have some respect for McCain, but it is quickly disappearing.

    June 19, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  3. HSNP

    Barack Obama is a pandering liar.

    June 19, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  4. Mike, St. Louis

    I guess this is the change we are all looking for. He is changing into the typical politician he rails against in his daily speeches. Congrats Barack!

    June 19, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  5. John Hussein Doe

    the ball's in your court, john-
    and the world is watching...

    June 19, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  6. isaac

    Nobody really cares. Only people who are decidedly anti-Obama will cry foul, and the supporters will be very defensive. Those of us who are undecided probably think this is not an issue. At least, I don't. Anyhow, the comments to these news stories tend to be very predictable.. I don't know why CNN even has them.

    This thought will probably keep my post from ever seeing the light of day...

    June 19, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  7. Kristen- Philadelphia, PA

    Well good for Obama. I have and will continue to donate to his campaign and I have even gotten my mother to match whatever I donate. It would have been really foolish for him to accept public financing when he has the ability to raise more on his own.

    I am glad that I along with a million other people have the opportunity to take part in owning a piece of this campaign which is truly making history.

    OBAMA 08!!!

    June 19, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  8. ddanquah

    This is a good idea. After all his campaign is well organized and does not need that money.
    Obama for President

    June 19, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  9. Steve

    What a joke. The guy opts out of public financing, which would actually cap ridiculous campaign spending, and CNN makes it look like he gives up $80 million. He's going to have more $$ to spend.

    June 19, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  10. jen

    Great news and a smart move. Do not let the Repukes dictate the rules and win another election with their slimy 527s.

    June 19, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  11. right source

    The public will financially support who they know will be the next president. Ask Clinton and McCain.

    June 19, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  12. Barbara

    The purpose of public financing is to get the special interest PACs out of the campaign, and out of politics in general. The rich and powerful have dominated Washington for decades. Now, the Obama campaign has revolutionized politics by financing the majority of its campaign through small-donor contributions. Obama has gone one better than public financing. The millions of small donations he's received represent the democratic process at its finest – Obama's message is getting through to the grassroots and we're responding.

    McCain, on the other hand, manipulated the public finance system during the primaries, using the funding as collateral for a large loan, then opting out of public financing when there were not enough members of the FEC to enforce the rules he had broken. McCain will, of course, claim that he has taken the high road.

    June 19, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  13. Gerald

    Mccain is trying hard to drag Obama down to his level in fund-raising.
    The Mccain people are simply scared of Obama's success in raising money.

    This time is like no other !!! The GOP old tricks won't work this time because they 've got an opponent who is simply too hot for them to handle.

    That's Obama – Yes we can !!!

    June 19, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  14. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    I would much rather see Obama "flip-flop" on public financing instead of changing his mind on getting our men and women home from the war abroad. The GOP has had the field skewered in their favor financially for far too long, it is about time that Democrats have someone who can take on all of their big pocket donors and beat them with numerous, smaller donors. Going to go give another $50 to Barack's campaign tomorrow!!!

    June 19, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  15. Pennsylvania

    Obama has been making smart political campaign choices from the beginning. No doubt, this decision is one that is well thought out and will work to his benefit.

    Go Obama'08 – Landslide Victory!

    June 19, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  16. @everyamericans

    let's go Barack!

    I'm fired up and ready to roll...we gone' get dem repugnants' outta da white house!

    June 19, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  17. Vote Nader

    Keep drinking the kool-aid people, just be sure to come up for air every once in a while.

    It's amazing that he claims both forms of financing are broken, yet selects the worst of the two. He isn't about change people, he just tells you he is. Why has he not introduced legislation reforming public financing while he's been in the Senate?

    It's not broken, he just wants to be able to outspend 3-1 again and maybe eek out a 1-2% win.


    ** Nader/Gonzalez 2008 **

    June 19, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  18. HSNP

    P.S. His wife needs a large staff to keep those feet out of her mouth.

    June 19, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  19. ATLian

    Just WOW!!!!! Where is my checkbook!

    June 19, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  20. pam Eugene OR

    Calm down McCain. I am sure your new on-line "crib" will get you all the money you deserve! You just have to figure out where the money comes out of the computer. HA HA

    June 19, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  21. Eyes

    I applaud Obama. And I don't understand Schmidt's words or his viewpoint.

    June 19, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  22. Cathy

    Just like they said at Tim Russert's memorial...people are allowed to rethink things and make better decisions. I don't think Obama's decision to forego public funding is a big deal. Give me a break already.

    I'm going to make another donation to Obama's campaign today.

    June 19, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  23. Alice

    I'll send in my $100 !

    June 19, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  24. SDunn

    Good for him! I don't trust those Repubs as far as you can throw them and I definitely don't trust John McCain! The only reason why McCain has to take public financing is for legal reasons! He's such a hypocrite of huge proportions! There is no way we're going to allow Repubs to swiftboat us this time. This is the people's campaign.

    June 19, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  25. Kyle

    The system was just as "broken" when he promised to take public financing when deciding to run for the Presidency. I find it sad that he is already breaking one of his very first promises. And now he is also flip flopping on NAFTA. i'm waiting for all those Obama supporters who criticized Clinton for flip flopping on NAFTA from 20 years ago to criticize Obama for doing the same thing (in only a 3 month period). His excuse is more pathetic, saying that things get heated in the primaries and you say things that may be an exaggeration. Hello, it's called lying! But hey he says a lot of politician do it....yea, so much for him being a "new" type of politician. It's one thing for a politician to lie about something, but it's another thing to say you are going to tell America the truth, and then we find out he was lying.

    June 19, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
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