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. Travis. LA, CA

    Having 1.5 million American citizens donate to your campaign IS public financing!!! It's not like he's opened the door to PACs and lobbyists, these are just average Americans who feel passionately about their candidate. And if McCain is going to sit idly by while other members of his party launch negative attacks on Barack AND Michelle, acting as if he's powerless to do anything about it, then Barack should at least give himself the resources to defend against that. Obama wouldn't need to take this step if McCain had run the "civilized" campaign he said he wanted to in the beginning.

    If McCain is worried, it's because he knows that his supporters aren't nearly as passionate about him as Obama's are about Obama.

    June 19, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  2. AJ

    Steve, another note for McCain campaign. Cindy McCain brought the issue of Michelle Obama being "really" proud of the country for the first time for accepting an African American (the likes of whom we have seen only once earlier in our lifetime in MLK) for the highest office in the country. She said she was always proud of the country. Give me a break!! When she might have said to her children or her husband John that she was proud of them for achieving something, did she mean she was proud of them only for that day, or that day onwards or was she proud of them always??


    June 19, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  3. Chris from Canada

    Smart move Obama..You dont need public finance..the public is already behind your campaingn and your candidatecy..the Republicans will rave and pout over any goood decision that does not favoure them.

    June 19, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  4. Tony

    I hope he knows what he's doing, I'd hate for him to go broke before November...I know I've donated $5 a week for about a month now. I'll continue until he's elected. We support you Barack!

    June 19, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  5. Reality check #1

    Obama will take a stand. If it doesn't agree with public approval, wait a day, he'll take a different stand the next day.

    June 19, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. John

    Obama is such a fraud. Are his followers really this blind? Do they not realize they are being taken for fools? God save us all if this guy gets elected.

    June 19, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  7. FactCheck

    McFlip-flop is a co-author of the Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002 yet feels no need to abide by it at all. He has the Republican PACs doing the dirty work for him while his campaign goes around calling out Obama? No wonder Bush supports him so much.. what better way to have history judge your Presidency in a positive light than to have a complete moron follow in your footsteps.

    June 19, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  8. tony

    Lot of money -to pay for the demise of the system to Socialism–
    You will have only yourselves to blame-
    You paid for it-
    What is really interesting is that -most of the venom on these blogs comes from the Dems–Plain Nasty -!!
    Does anyone of you remeber Bill Clinton Veto's on drilling back in 1995 which would have prevented this or that he had Osama Bin and did nothing–
    We keep blaming Bush and I agree he has not done everything right–
    The problem we have goes back further than 7 or 8 Years–

    June 19, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  9. Caryn, WDC

    I think that this is a good decision. Too many people want to be a part of this campaign. For the first time, Democrats will raise more money than the Republicans and I'm thrilled.

    June 19, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  10. Dennis

    I guess the McCain campaign is banking on the uneducated of this society again. When Obama talked about taking public money, it was before his fund raising effort smashed all the records. Since the conditions have changed, he has a right to change his mind. McCain cannot talk because for every flip flop he tries to call Obama on, Obama can call out 10 flip flops of McCain's. Finally, it's ridiculous to think that if McCain were in the same position, he would give that all up and cap his funding at a much lower limit. Obama would be stupid to give up his funding advantage.

    June 19, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  11. nannie bouroughs, Kenosha, WI

    So Senator Obama has flipped-flopped once again... and who is surprised at that?

    He promised to serve out his term as an IL Senator, and then became a presidential candidate.

    He attacked NAFTA, now he enbraces it.

    There are many more instances of his flip-flop and many more to come – especiall on Iraq.

    Yes, this is the CHANGE candidate... he CHANGES his mind as often as the wind changes direction...

    This Jr. Senator from IL will SAY, DO, THROW ANYONE UNDER THE BUS, as long as it helps him get in the White House – BIG CHANGE!

    June 19, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  12. Kat

    Good. Now the govt should set that 80 mil aside and go after the futures and commodity speculators, the ENRON loophole and ICE.

    June 19, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  13. designer in training


    June 19, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  14. Ross in MD

    THE GOP needs to stop whining. As if Obama is going to be swift-boated

    June 19, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  15. David, Virginia

    Here' the proof, THE FACTS that show B Obama is changing the way the country works. He is not affraid to stand up for US, The united states and once again earn that title UNITED States.

    Thank you for your honesty and true honorable approach to a position many (like Bush) has taken for granted. Please stop him before he completely ruins the world.

    June 19, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  16. lakes

    Suck it up Steve...McConfused will do exactly the same if he were in his shoes !!!!

    June 19, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  17. Down with Obama

    DUH...what did we expect him to do...then he couldn't use Oprah's money or all the special interest money that he has used all along!!

    June 19, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  18. LynnB


    June 19, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  19. Pel

    Thank God Senator Obama is in the financial position to refuse public financing. He will be closer of the two candidates who will be supported by the people . Also, he can better protect has campaign against the republican attack ads.

    June 19, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  20. Hannah@theCaribbean

    [Thank you CNN for posting my message!]
    Yeah, right! If he goes for public financing, he'll regret it because McBush would take more money than him without reporting the most of it. Why? Because Dubya knows how to do that. He's got the tricks and the dirty money from bloody oil! McBush got they means of diverting that money and outspend you. Smart move, Barack! Keep up the good work! Meet you @ the White House after November!

    June 19, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  21. frank

    status quo is going down obama 08, never again

    June 19, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  22. John

    Hey McSenile campaign, how are those words empty? Obama spoke out about the public financing system, then he declined to take the funds. It would be quite another thing if he spoke out against the system and decided to take the money anyway.

    June 19, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  23. Raihan Islam

    Barack Obama is using more of an honest money system than the public financing system– isn't honest better than broken? Just because it's public doesn't mean it's actually good. It is not rational to lose trust in Barack Obama if he is taking individual donations that he does not have to weigh debt on, and therefore he maintains his impartial judgment.

    June 19, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  24. Mushi Straton

    I congratulate Hon. Barak Obama for that respectiful decision which he has taken.Hon Obama it is now your time to rule over the USA aand the whole world dont wory you aare our man and we shall keep on supporting yhou though we are far from America

    June 19, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  25. Anonymous

    I'm an avid Obama supporter, and I agree this looks a little bad, but what always makes me laugh is the McCain campaign's constant hyperventilation over the smallest perceived transgression.

    Here, it's "a broken promise of staggering proportions." When Obama misspoke about his great uncle's experience in liberating Dachau, McCain's people said it called into question Obama's judgment and ability to lead.

    The stench of desperation in the McCain camp amuses me and makes me feel very good about November.

    June 19, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
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