June 19th, 2008
11:52 AM ET

Money, politics, flip-flops and principle

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/19/art.obama.jpg]

Barclay Palmer
360° Senior Producer

Barack Obama seems to have changed his mind. And who can blame him. His campaign had indicated he would take public financing, but today says it'll opt out.

Hey, this guy raised $272 million during the primary, compared to John McCain's $99 million. Principle is one thing, but money wins elections. And when you have that many supporters giving that much money, another principle pops up: shouldn't your supporters have a voice?

Since when does money equal voice? Well, those who oppose campaign finance limits have long argued limiting campaign donations violates the First Amendment. Money's always had a voice, hasn't it.

And as so often happens in politics, the desirable principle outweighs the undesirable principle. At least we have principles. In some countries, of course, it's about nothing but power.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Barclay Palmer • Raw Politics
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Robin in FL

    In the age of the internet using tax payer money to fund a campaign seems outdated. I commend Obama on taking the initiative of not using taxpayer money.

    June 20, 2008 at 3:17 am |
  2. Danny

    Regardless of the issue, I feel like all respectable journalists, such as Anderson Cooper, need to stop using the phrase "flip-flop" on the issues. This term sounds so childish and immature and I feel it dumbs down the issues.

    June 20, 2008 at 1:19 am |
  3. Annie Kate

    More money equals more ads, tv spots, more campaign workers. So it looks like to me that money really does influence who becomes President. If you have all this exposure and your opponent only has a fraction of it then whose name will the voters have heard the most? Part of who you vote for is based on name recognition – so in this way money does drive the voters voices and ultimately the quest for power.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    June 19, 2008 at 8:29 pm |
  4. Betty

    When Senator Obama changes his mind is because he has gotten wiser is call strategy and leans toward the most intelligent choice. When Senator McCain changes his mind the effect is usually the contrary. Many times he had changed a good decision for a bad one and I am very serious about it. Thanks!

    June 19, 2008 at 8:11 pm |
  5. Betty

    I can't believe someone is asking how a Christian could be name Hussein? Anybody could become a Christian the name is not what it counts. What counts is your faith. I hope who ever asked that is not a Christian. I will be so dissapointed. Thanks!

    June 19, 2008 at 8:04 pm |
  6. Betty

    If you guys are wondering where the money is coming from. I could respond to that. From the American people. We have being donating little by little and every time we could afford it. Now you don't need to wonder any more. This is a movement and if you don't where is it coming from is only because you are not voting for him. I could assure you that most of the people that is voting for Senator Obama is donating for his campaign. The American People will be electing him by donating and by voting for him. I hope this answers your question. Thanks!

    June 19, 2008 at 7:59 pm |
  7. Betty

    I think he had explained why he has changed his mind enough. He is being hinting that he was going to do it a long time ago. The republican machinery is very powerful and dirty. He could only fight this machinery with something that could be more powerful than that and it is the American people that is keeping Senator Obama's shield strong enough by donating little by little. He has chosen the people to run his campaign and is keeping us involved all the way to the end. Go get them Senator Obama.
    Lu D. is so envious he keeps calling himself independant and neutral, but he keeps talking about Senator Obama and making sarcastic comments about his decision. Lu D. will not brake his promise to his viewers (I was loyal until today) but I could see he has broken every promise he has made to his viewers by always standing against Senator Obama. First promoting Senator Clinton and now promoting McCain. If it will be the devil agains Senator Obama he will still promote the devil and still will stand agains Senator Obama. Lu D. is the one that is being braking his promise to be neutral and independent. Why he doesn't jus say that he will be voting for McCain and be honest and just say so, instead he keeps trying to find things against Senator Obama just like any other Republican. I wouldn't call that independent. He could just say that he is a Republican and I as a viewer will be happy that at least he is being honest. Thanks!

    A loyal viewer and honest American.

    June 19, 2008 at 7:47 pm |
  8. Karen

    For Jeremy at 1:45 p.m. There are and have been for a very long time many Christians in the Middle East - for example in Morocco, Egypt and Lebanon. I'm sure quite a few of these men are named Hussein as it's a respected historical name. ( P.S. Let's not forget King Hussein of Jordan, a long-time friend of the United States.) You're right, maybe AC360 can give us some information about the use of the name since it seems to be of much concern right now.

    June 19, 2008 at 7:34 pm |
  9. Ginger

    I hate to think that money elects a president, but it seems it does.
    There should be an equal amount for each candidate. How they spend it is up to them.

    June 19, 2008 at 7:05 pm |
  10. Jo Ann

    Larry, I have wondered about that myself. No one in the media seems interested in where these massive amounts of donations are coming from.

    Mike, Syracuse, NY I agree. I am curious as to why so many bloggers seem content to let any candidate buy the election. If Obama is such a great candidate he should be able to beat McCain with equal funding. This has nothing to do with confidence in the American people, as someone suggested on another thread. We have no idea where much of his campaign money is coming from and I am convinced that that is why he is taking this less traceable route.

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    June 19, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  11. Jeremy

    I watched the piece on AC360 last nite where the show was emphasizing that Obama is a Christian and never has been or is a Moslem.
    My question to Anderson is: When was the last time you heard of a Christian w/ the middle name "Hussein"?
    If you are going to address this topic you need to cover both sides.
    It would be fair & unbiased journalism for you to explore his roots with a Kenyan father and how he obtained the middle name of Hussein.
    Let's delve into the truth once and for all.


    June 19, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  12. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    So how does choosing money over principle equal change? Why is it when Obama does it, he's changing his mind; but when McCain does it, he flip-flops?

    June 19, 2008 at 1:38 pm |
  13. Jolene

    Barclay: I would normally agree that money talks but this election year has been so remarkable that I wouldn't bet nor count on it. Personally, I'd much rather see all this money go towards addressing the issues rather than selling them, but that's just wishful thinking I suppose.

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    June 19, 2008 at 12:39 pm |
  14. Larry

    Who monitors the legality of the campaign contributions?

    June 19, 2008 at 12:35 pm |
  15. Liv

    so, the money is buying the president? What about the people who cannot pay for him? Is he a merchandize? Is president a thing you just buy....?
    how is it then here?

    June 19, 2008 at 12:34 pm |
  16. Robert J. Morgan

    After listening to right wing talk radio and FOX "news" and their vicious
    attacks and half truths, as well as so many people propogandized by them, especially their race based attacks on Barak Obama, and his wife , I have reached one inescapable conclusion. It is this:

    "Prejudice is the product of a weak mind."

    You may quote me.

    June 19, 2008 at 12:15 pm |
  17. Michelle

    I am glad. Obama opened up politics to a lot of everyday

    June 19, 2008 at 12:01 pm |
  18. Cindy

    I think that each side should be given a certain amount of money to work with and then there would not be any special interest groups or what have you that give more money to get more favors if you know what I mean.

    Obama raises mega bucks so he needs no help in that! But I hope within that money doesn't come favors.


    June 19, 2008 at 11:58 am |