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. steve lewis

    You would think after viewing CNN's website, that Obama is the only candidate in this race.

    Certainly, McCain has not received nearly the 'air time' that Obama has had.

    June 19, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  2. Venus

    Man has got to do what a man has to do to win!

    Go Bam!

    June 19, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  3. JK

    Im glad he did not join in. We the people will find his campaign.

    Now lets see what Mr. McCain does.

    He flip floped on major issues this week.

    Against drilling now for it. Where were you and Bush before the problem got bad.

    For gay marriage now against it.

    For abortion now against it.

    This guy is joke and is in for a thumpin this November.

    June 19, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  4. Patty

    Well, I guess all the speeches of hope and change from the politics of old means nothing when you see that staying out of public financing does buy your way into the White House. I guess I can safely presume that his message of hope means that we all could have hoped he would have been a different candidate by his words but once again our dreams of a new politics have been shattered by saying what is politically expedient at the time and then doing something different when it comes time to prove you stand behind your own words. Once again this is doing nothing more than any other politician would have done and that is say anything and do anything to get you where you want to go. This is not anything different that he decries in others.

    June 19, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  5. Mery

    I don't know what Mr. Schmidt is talking about.
    Obama happen to be very congruent with his words.

    June 19, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  6. Tom

    I couldn't say it better than Mr. Schmidt did. It's another decision that Obama made and then backed out on. This line of broken decisions is getting longer all the time but we're supposed to believe what he says in other matters? His billionaire buddy has financed his "grass roots" campaign and I'm sure will continue to do so but we should also take notice of the fact that he dropped out of a decision that would have capped the total money spent – that's supposed to be the guy who's going to get us out of a financial crisis?

    June 19, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  7. US Soldier

    WOW! A campaign for the people by the people. I cannot wait until this man becomes President. My fellow soldiers believe the same thing. Now this is change you can believe in!

    June 19, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  8. sjl

    Bottom line...Contributions FROM THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE will make BO indebted TO THE PEOPLE....on the otherhand, considering McCain accepts Federal Lobbyist and PAC financing...he will be indebted to them...

    I think I'll take the guy who is raising $$$$ over the internet!!!!!

    June 19, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  9. Former Hillary Supporter

    The only reason that McCain is using this as a political ploy to make Obama look like he is all words is because McCain can NOT compete. Eeven his best supports with lots of money dont want to throw good money on a lost cause.

    June 19, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  10. chrls

    i j ust donated 200...glad he did opt out..now let mcshame do the same and see if he can raise some money thru the internet..i doubt it..

    June 19, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  11. Don

    Something about this seems shady. I think he has billionaires ready to give him the money like Oprah, so he can state that he is above the rest by not accepting this. Anyway, this is not a new policy issue how will Senator Obama help gas prices specifically and the economy in general i need specifics. Not speeches.

    June 19, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  12. PoliticsAsUsual

    Does this really come as a surprise? Obama is the master at crafting the debate so that anything he does is acceptable but everything Hillary or McCain does is politcs as usual. At the end of the day, it is Obama who is the biggest liar and politician of them all.

    June 19, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  13. NELSON Colorado Springs, Co

    The right thing to do. Sen Obama don't let the Republican try to limited what you can accomplish. Steve Schmidt, a senior McCain adviser should worry about Sen McCain campaign fundraising. GO OBAMA

    June 19, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  14. Fired up

    McCain's fundraising has been pathetic.

    Barack has over a million ordinary Americans giving 10 dollar donations and he's built an amazing campaign.

    McCain may need more money to come up with some more lies about Mrs. Obama.

    June 19, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  15. Scott

    How can this man claim to be past partisan bickering when he tried to trick McCain into taking it then went back on his word?


    June 19, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  16. McSameMcCain on myspace

    Before I worry about whether or not Barack accepts or does not accept public funding Mr. McCain, I will worry about why you support this illegal war that we are mired in due to you either being gullible (at best) or knowingly supporting the lies (at worst). I will also worry about why you think 100 or 1000 years is acceptable to remain in Iraq. You seem to indicate that because we are in Japan and Germany that it relates, the problem, Mr. McCain, is that we have not been in either of those countries for 100 years. I will also worry that you don't think it is important when we pull our troops out of Iraq and that you do not support the troops with the new GI Bill.

    June 19, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  17. George

    This, along with the entire democratic party not accepting money from lobbyist, are two steps in the right direction. Now taxpayers are NOT involuntarily partially funding Obama's campaign. McCain SHOULD do the same. republicans have always had problems with spending taxpayer funds... on certain things.

    As much as republicans are trying to put a negative light on Sen. Obama, a lot of things ARE going to CHANGE. Republicans... I don't see how this is the wrong kind of CHANGE.

    June 19, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  18. Brett from Austin, TX

    Does beating someone at their own under-handed game (e.g. the Republican fundraising tactics) sound like the politics of hope and change?

    June 19, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  19. Matt

    Wait a minute.. Is Barack backtracking from his words. I thought he was better than that.

    June 19, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  20. Brendan

    So much for doing things different. He's just another lying politician. He says one thing to get the nomination. Now that he has it, he's going to go against what he promised. He's a liar!

    June 19, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  21. Bob

    "Obama's candidacy is based on words and it seems like everyday that passes, those words look emptier and emptier when judged against his actions"

    Can I have an example please? Mr Schmidt, what you are saying is "empty" if you don't give an example. Three examples would be even better.

    With regards to this comment alone, this leads me to believe that you are just trying to portray Senator Obama in a negative light without any justification.

    Examples PLEASE

    June 19, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  22. Johhny C.

    Obama blames his own flip-flop/ flat-out-lie once again on Republicans.

    But America is smart enough to see through that though....

    ...aren't they?

    June 19, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  23. Give Me Liberty, Or Give Me Death

    Empty promises from a politician? What a surprise.

    You Obama supporters need to understand that he is a politician, just like the rest of them. Barack Obama is nothing new, just more of the same.

    Lesser of two evils: McCain 08.

    June 19, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  24. Ray

    Good call Barack

    June 19, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  25. Jamaal Kansas

    Smart man he know that the 527 will eat him alive if he takes public finacing now he can match there negative ads with postive adds smart move Obama Smart Move.

    June 19, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
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