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. Brian

    So all you Obama supporters should carefully read this article, and the article about the woman in the head scarf. Obama is showing his true colors. First, a pledge to accept public financing that he has just broken, along with a brainwashed excuse. Secondly, his refusal to allow a Muslim woman sit behind him during a campaign event, while he talks about unity and overcoming differences. Obama is trying to speak out of both sides of his mouth at once. I wish Hillary were still in it. Shady dude.

    June 19, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  2. Larry in Harpers Ferry,WV

    What I don't understand here is why by saving the public $80 million dollars that he is doing a bad thing.Republicans have a very special way of turning things that don't go thier way into something wrong or deceptive on the competetions part.Way to go Mr. Obama for pointing out another broken system in our 15th century English Law based government.

    June 19, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  3. Gringo

    Yet I am not surprised. So much for the promise about not operating as a typical Washington insider. Business as usual when it works in his favor. Obama has already shown he will buy what he cant earn. And if that fails, work technicalities in his favor to strong arm the process.

    Obomo supporters, you have been duped, lied to and taken for a ride. You are all master of blogging, lets see what clever little spins you try and put on this. From the beginning he promised to do the public finance bit and he has gone back on his word. Yet you will still be willing to give him 4 years to do this over and over again to you, promise one thing and do the opposite.

    In the end he is a lawyer, I think that speaks for itself. As an independent I can sit back and laugh but he outspent Hillary, he'll outspend McCain, lets just hope the results are not dictated by who has the deeper pockets. For all you that bashed Hillary and called her a liar and a thief etc, it shows Obama is no better, he postioned himself by outspending her and now his lack of morals and ethics and the ability to hold to a commitment are now all to clear.


    June 19, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  4. joseph

    This is really the campaign of the future. The Obama campaign promised to be supported by grassroot supporters and is staying with it. The Republicans are afraid because thay lack the fundraising capacity that we have. We will continue to support this campaign to get rid of these warmongering repugs and restore our country to prosperity and respect. We will support Obama to fight the smears that the Repugs are using. As Obama once said: " they can take the low road if they want to, but it will not lead this country to a better place". The Repugs are done and we will win this election in a landslide. The politics of fear will not work this time. Smart move Obama!!!

    June 19, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. Lee

    McCain and people in his campaign are witch hunting missteps at Obama's campaign and the democratic party. Obama has been truthful all along throughout the primaries. McCain and the republicans are oil machined corrupt politicians with Clinton style attack and no substance to the fact and business at hand. Obama is going to win the election for '08 because McCain has no vision for the future of our nation.

    June 19, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  6. Indeed

    Schmidt is the new Wolfson. The just keep finding ways to demonize Obama, and it probably won't end until Obama takes the November election.

    June 19, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  7. Lande Sanusi

    It speaks volumes that Obama's supporters are willing to finance his campaign. We can use the $84Mil from public financing for other things. Go Barack!

    Barack '08

    June 19, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. Kris

    Schmidt is full of hot air...the republican noise machine at work. Obama will be successful without public financing. A man of his word. He has always kept consistant with his words. Obama 2008!

    June 19, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  9. Adam - TX

    Hypocrite – you signed in favor of it. "Gaming the system" is just a cop-out that your campaign has centered its entire existance around.

    Give me a break – typical politician from Chicago...

    June 19, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. Peter of Oregon

    Simply put: It was in McCain's best interest for Obama to accept public financing and not Obama's. If you look at prior elections, Republicans have been notorious for manipulating this stystem. Obama's campaign has been fincanced by the public, and not by lobbyist like his opponent. He has broken campaign fundraising records during the Democratic primary season, raising over $272 million, mostly with $25 donations from hard working Americans of all nationalities.

    June 19, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |



    DEMOCRAT '08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 19, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  12. Jackson

    since NObama couldn't beat Clinton in big states by outspending her 4-1 ... I guess he hasn't learned that money isn't enough to win an election.

    June 19, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  13. ACA

    A powerful step to the "Change We Believe"!

    Change the old game in D.C.! Yes we can!!!

    June 19, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. Joe Reg

    The people fund Obama's campaign.

    They gladly contribute to his campaign for a change.

    Unlike the Republicans funded by big businesses and

    special parties where one big person can give a lot.

    America is awake this year. Go Obama go!!!

    June 19, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  15. Cyrus - NY

    Not good Obama....not good!!

    June 19, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  16. California Voter

    This does bring to question the truthfulness of Obama's words when he previously committed to accept public financing. Can Obama's words be trusted? Obama said he never heard Rev. Wright preach words of hate during his 20 year attendance at Trinity United Church of Christ. Can he be believed on other statements he's made?

    June 19, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  17. Ken Johnson

    Well, all of these donations look like very well from big pharmacies to get rid of Clinton, vicious Iran and muslim countries. There will be bigger corruptions under Obama because they can manipulate him easier than with Clinton or McCain. He needs help from everywhere because he is just not ready for the job.

    June 19, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  18. Robert

    This is shaping up to be a bad week for Obama. He's looking really soft on terror (I don't know why he felt a need to bring up the Bin Laden marter thing) and John McCain has out maneuvered him with off shore drilling by providing an actually long term solution that Obama as a Democrat can not afford to back. Now h'e made a move that can very easily be labeled as "Washington Politics". The daily tracking numbers are reflecting these hits already and he hasn't been pressed on them yet in a debate. I'm an Obama supporter but I have to call it like I see it. If he looses this race, this will be the week I'll trace the loss to.

    June 19, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  19. Bulldog

    Obama would be very mistaken if he didn't decline public financing because his opponent is more than happy to employ and take millions of dollars from the special interest groups and PACs in Washington. John McCain's top officials are mostly lobbyists some who have a direct hand in lobbying for deregulation and policies that has had a major impact on skyrocketing oil and gas prices we are facing today. In fact, McCain has high level advisors on his staff that have very shaky relationships with ENRON and Big Oil. These are the very same guys who lobby for these types of companies which have had a direct result in the US economic woes we see today. Obama would rather count on the support of the average American rather than McCain who loves to count on these special interests and lobbyists whose interests are in the pockets of large corporations rather than the average American. John McCain wants public financing for this very reason, he has a large crowd of lobbyists and PACs ready to back him up while Obama refuses to take their money.

    June 19, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  20. Allison- Mclean, Va

    So now my taxes will be paying for John McCain's campaign and not Obama's. Another reason to love Obama and dislike McCain.

    June 19, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  21. Watermann

    Yes, Senator Obama is clever and is setting Senator McCaine under pressure. Let`s wait for his answer

    June 19, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  22. RussF

    Obama has demonstrated that he is just another politician who is willing to sacrifice the interests of the country for his personal spending pleasure. By opting out of the public finance system, he has doomed it for future elections. All future candidates will need to raise as much money as possible and accept no spending limits, if for no other reason that they may face Obama's successor. The system may be broken, and Obama has just destroyed it. He will never be able to get it fixed because nobody will trust him.

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

    his actions are commendable..

    June 19, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  24. Janet from Ohio

    McCain should stop whining and just get on with his campaign. Did it start yet? I can't tell. His speeches are so boring and dry that I thought he was still speaking from the senate.

    June 19, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  25. E for Obama

    Mr Schmidt,

    What is worse, Obama's flip flop on campaign financing or McCain's flip flop on oil drilling, or McCain's flip flop on the Bush tax cuts or McCain's flip flop on illegal immigration?

    It is amazing how the McCain campaign makes a big deal out of such small issues like Obama's campaign financing, VP vetter's, the SanFran comments, Michelle's comments, when McCain has flipped on issues that will affect our nation.

    I don't lie in bed at night worrying about presidential campaign financing.

    I can't wait for an Obama vs McCain debate!!!

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