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. young voter

    "a broken promise of staggering dimensions"......really?!?!....he decides not to take our money and this guy is criticizing that harshly?!?....wow.....this is better than reality television....if only we coulds set their lives up on camera 24/7 and scrutinize every pointless comment or action or percieved opinions whilst ignoring every important issue.....


    June 19, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  2. Cilu

    It would be stupid for him to accept Public financing, especially with the Repulbican smear machine and thier 527's...

    June 19, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  3. Nader

    You make Obama sound so nice when you title the story about how generous he is to turn down so much money. Why isn't your story focused on how he backed out of his commitment to use public money? How about "Obama backs out of commitment to use public funding" or "Obama's more interested in money than keeping promise"? Surely if McCain had done this, that would be the focus of your story.

    You need to do a better job at telling the real story, not what you think people need to hear so that they will vote for Obama.

    June 19, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  4. Patrick

    I don't think we've ever had a candidate in the history of politics whose actions have been further from their words. The man calls for change and then breaks his own promises faster than you can spell Obama. The only man in this race who has stood up to his own party, acted in a bi-partisan manner, and has acted with integrity the whole time is John McCain. I know most of us want change and a new course of direction on Washington and it pains me to no end that you have all bought into Obama. McCain is the candidate who can deliver on what you ask for, not Obama.

    June 19, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  5. frankie

    Good on ya' Obama!

    June 19, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  6. Kjetil Holmsen

    Its great that normal people with small income can support Obama while the special interest can support McBush. The reason for Obama sucsess is that so many people find his message correct. And this year the people will win and not the few. Obama 2008-2016!

    June 19, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  7. barackobama4prez

    Senator O, I can live with this broken promise. Good for you! Make history baby!

    June 19, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  8. Foreign observer

    Why he should run a campaign under circumstances being defined by the Republicans. The whole financing system needs to be reformed. As long as he has no power to cure the system it´s better to follow his current way of success.

    June 19, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  9. Pablo

    McCain wants to opt out, too. So what? If McTotallySameasBush could get $250 million, he would in a heartbeat.

    Hey, FL, he wants to ruin your coasts as well.

    June 19, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  10. Election Watcher

    Slick move, Obie. By declining public funds, you avoid the campaign spending cap and give the impression that you're levelling the playing field, but nothing could be farther from the truth. This simply leaves you open to outspend the opposition by nearly 3 to win, which is the only way he can hope to win. What a snake!!

    June 19, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |

    A taxpayer voting for Obama...is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders

    June 19, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  12. Edward

    Why is Schmidt concerned about Obama's decision! It is clear the GOP is worried about Obama's mega fundraising.

    Go Obama all the way!

    June 19, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  13. Mark Henderson

    McCain gets the benefit of daring Obama to get the same amount of funds he would get, while knowing full well that the rich and corporations will outspend everybody to ensure that Obama is not elected. Obama is just leveling the playing field by not falling for McCain's ploy to outspend him through third parties. Luckily, the "third parties" in Obama's corner are the individual citizens like me who send Obama $25 when we can afford it. This is truly "public" financing and I am not surprised that Obama is not going along with a system that is broken. Maybe, when he is elected, he can fix the public financing system to bar corporations and the rich from running a parallel system which minimizes the voices of the average American.

    June 19, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  14. Bradley M Lemberg,M.D.

    It has become very obvious that Sen Obama is just another politician.He is a man of "many words"but is NOT a man of HIS Word.How can that possibly represent change ?

    June 19, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  15. Independent for Obama

    This guy is amazing. Turning down $80 million and decided to trump McCain by trusting in the American people. I will be donating $25 every two weeks. Obama is transforming the way campaign fund-raising is done.

    Independent for Obama '08

    June 19, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  16. HyperD

    Now, that is a leader we can believe in... Will McSame do the same move? Ha! Don't think so... too many shady groups of interest and lobbies behind this guy. Then he says he represents the people... Who and for how long is McSame fooling? In the battle of showing honesty, moral and principles, Obama is also beating McCain... in a landslide.

    June 19, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  17. Wisconsin Vet

    I hope this comment makes it for other to read

    This is a great plan to slow down Obama's fundraising so Mc can catch up. Point out the flaws in a fundraising system that the Reps. have exploited for years. But this time the people are not throwing there money to them, but to this young upstart of a Sen.

    Do you not get it yet? Every time you try to slow this man down he raises to the challenge and excells. Every time you point out the flaw in the system that you have placed in the past for profit. Now is seen and pointed out for the public to see and for him to fix.

    I have to say I was so aganist O-bomb in the beginning of this race that I forgot all about him. But your attacks have showed me so much of this mans character and his mindset. I've watched him and looked for chinks in hes armour and i be darned if i can't find a one.

    LOL you have forged this humble man of no name into the best hope for this country and you didn't even realize it.

    June 19, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  18. AJ

    Steve, my earlier comment was not posted for some reason. Don't talk about Barack changing his position. John has given a completely new meaning to the word "flip-flop" since he decided to run for President. Just can't keep a count of how many positions he has changed, with the recent one being asking for oil exploration in off-shore waters off the coast of Florida!! Don't throw rocks when they can hit your house too!!


    June 19, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  19. Hannah@theCaribbean

    I'm contributing $50 right now.

    Fired Up, Ready to go!

    June 19, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  20. Brooke

    Not surprising. Keep the Change '08.

    June 19, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  21. Brian - Lawrence, KS

    Barack knows that $80million will not be enough to persuade enough voters to vote for him. He is smart to decline the funding based on past donations. I gave to Hillary, but I will not give a dime to him.

    June 19, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  22. proud army and navy mom

    Mcbush cannot criticize anyone for changing their mind, considering he does it on a daily basis.

    He's just mad because he won't be able to lie, cheat without Sen Obama being able to fight back.

    It is absolutely amazing to me my the gop thought mc-old is a viable candidate. he is too senile and out of touch entrust him with his grandchildren, let alone run a country. Not to mention, his wife is was a drug addicted thief.

    June 19, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  23. Orville

    Of course the McCain camp objects to Obama's position on the financing of the general election...Obama has collected much more money and this gives the Obama machine more flexibility. If the situation were the opposite do you suppose that the McCain people would be objecting? I think not!.

    June 19, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  24. NYC


    June 19, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  25. Laura

    So...NObama...exactly WHERE is all your money coming from then???? Overseas? Tony Rezko? Oprah???
    Ug. Wake up voters. He is a phony - CNN should pull up his voting record and actions in Illinois (he hasn't done anything!).

    June 19, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
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