Tuesday, June 24

Obama Opts Out of Public Campaign Financing

Last week, Sen. Obama announced that he would not take $85 million in public financing--as well as the strict spending limits that would accompany those funds. He is the first candidate to reject public funding since the system's creation after Watergate.

I have to admit that I was a little surprised by that announcement since he had just declared the opposite a few weeks earlier. Sen. McCain jumped on the news saying that Obama had broken his promise to fund his race publicly.

So what could possibly change Obama's mind about how to finance his campaign?

Obama argued that he opted out of public funding because "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 used Internet to raise nearly $266 million from 1.5 million-plus donors and there seems to be no stopping him.

While those numbers are impressive, the negative for Obama may be a public perception of hypocrisy.

"The true test of a candidate for president is whether he will stand on principle and keep his word to the American people," said Jill Hazelbaker, McCain's communications director. "Barack Obama has failed that test, and his reversal of his promise to participate in the public finance system undermines his call for a new type of politics."

The real question is, "Does the public care?" Weigh in with your opinion on the sidebar poll.

For more on this topic, you can read:

Can Obama's Money Buy Him Love, CNN

Obama in Danger of Damaging His Brand, ABC News


Alyssa said...

I'm a bit torn in my opinion on this topic. Where exactly would the $85 million of public money come from? Is it tax dollars? If so, I think it's great that he's not going to take it.

But he DID support pubic financing, and it sounds like he said he would accept it. So for him to then change his mind is a bit hypocritical. (Such a big workd to throw around, but it's the one that comes closest to how I feel.) If he really thinks the system is broken, he probably thought it a few weeks ago, as well, and should have said something then.

tigrefan98 said...

The public financing money comes (I believe) from voluntary contributions on your tax form (the 1040 I believe, you can check a box to donate or not).

Obama said repeatedly, publicly that he would run his campaign one way and chose, when it was convenient, to run it another. To me that speaks volumes about how he would run our country.


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