June 19th, 2008
12:50 PM ET

Obama refuses public financing: The Raw Data

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/06/19/obama.public.financing/art.obama.wi.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Barack Obama repeatedly broke campaign fundraising records during the Democratic primary season."]
Robert Yoon
CNN Political Research Director

  • Obama will become the first major party presidential nominee to refuse general election public financing in the history of the program
  • In February 2007, Obama asked the Federal Election Commission whether federal rules allowed presidential candidates to begin raising money for the general election and then later return that money should the candidate decide later to participate in the general election public financing program.... Obama’s actions were seen at the time as a desire on his part to preserve the public financing option, while still enabling him to protectively raise general election money.
  • Obama spokesman Bill Burton made this statement on whether it would accept public financing: “Senator Obama is pleased the FEC took this important step in preserving the public financing system, which is why he sought the opinion. If Senator Obama is the nominee, he will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.” (3/1/2007)

Read the full blog...

Filed under: Barack Obama • Raw Politics
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Luv'nthisguy!, Des Plaines

    Let's all be happy we have one candidate who knows how to finance and run a campaign. Guess that just proves he can get a few things done right. Personally, I'll contribute to his campaign because I agree with his views, and I believe he will best represent my own interests.
    Now, as far as flip-flopping on campaign finance, McCain people better check their facts on their own candidate's record. No, you haven't done that–shame on you for calling Obama a flip flopper!
    Read his books and then tell me he's not exactly what he says he is.

    June 19, 2008 at 8:28 pm |
  2. Gerry

    What the MSM are forgetting or conveniently forgetting is the real reason Obama made this decision which are the large number of republican 527's ( outside and not covered by the elections guidelines) which are about to hit . They have collectively raised over 200 million.

    In order to combat their misleading messages he needs money to advertise the truth and the public financing takes that capability away.

    June 19, 2008 at 8:22 pm |
  3. Grant

    I was asked by my tax prep guy at H&R Block this year if i wanted to check that little box to give money to public financing. Let's see... if I do that I'm contributing equally to Obama AND McCain's ability to campaign? But wait a minute... I don't want McCain anywhere NEAR the White House! Forget that. "No, I don't think so" was my response. If I want my money spent on a political campaign I'll send it where I specifically WANT it to be spent thank you very much. And off to the Obama donation page we go...

    Go Barack. A million and a half individual donors ARE a public financing system. We're the public, we're doing the financing the way we want to do it. And McCain can just go cry us a river that he doesn't have as many people who support his run.

    June 19, 2008 at 8:15 pm |
  4. Pamela Alexander

    Great Job Obama. Now let's see how much McCain uses. If he don't need it, why should he take it? Do we really look at this as a broken promise? Come on people, stop taking such a small thing and making a mountain out of a moll hill. We get bent out of shape over nothing. There are more important things to be concerned about than a Senator turning down public funding. For all of those negetive people that continues to put Obama down, how much harm can he do to the mess that Bush has created. Let's see if he can make a change. For once in your life, give a Black man a chance. We waste more time and energy getting upset over petty issues. The world can become a much better place if everyone is willing to bring about change. I love all races, and my one prayer is that we all become united. That's what we stand for, United we stand and divided we fall. Please people, let us bridge the gap and start working together to create a much brighter future for ourselves and our youth.

    June 19, 2008 at 7:59 pm |
  5. Janie from Louisiana

    Obama broke a promise! In so doing, our federal funds will not lose 85 million dollars. Somehow, when I hear people on news shows say things like "he broke a promise", I am reminded of my children when they were very little.

    At 57 years old, this is one promise I am glad that a politician has broken! Would that all of the promises broken by politicians be so lucrative for our federal funds.

    The promises never impress me. The results of the actions of our political leaders always effect me.

    June 19, 2008 at 7:58 pm |
  6. cc


    June 19, 2008 at 7:46 pm |
  7. Ann

    Don't get too excited folks. He hasn't proved to be trustworthy. Quite the contrary. He goes back on everything he first says. This man is not to be trusted yet some people worship him like he's a God. He has NO business in our White House. Thank God we can vote for McCain (although I've been democrat all my life). Gut tells me there's something wrong about this fellow. But I guess it doesn't take a genius...Wright, Ayers, all his radical friends, his wife's comments, and on and on and on. The list is never ending and new info comes to light daily. Hopefully by the time of the convention, Hillary will still be around to pick up the pieces of what's left to this country.

    June 19, 2008 at 7:34 pm |
  8. Eric

    Instead of faulting Obama for not taking public finance, we should shaking his hand for not costing the tax payers more money. There will now be 85 millions more dollars for the government blow on a toothbrush. I support this move from Obama.

    June 19, 2008 at 7:27 pm |
  9. James Dylan

    This is a dangerous thing. By allowing one candidate to spend more than the other only furthers the one to spread their message, or misinformation, further than the other. It dictates to the people and media that fair and balanced coverage will not be achieved. Limits must be set so that, at least, efficiency is shown in the manner they spread their message. Negative adds can be held to a minimum. Because of this, I believe, further regulation is needed to stop other groups from advertising on behalf of their candidate. Only the candidates should be allowed to spend money on their own behalf.

    The people's voices must not be heard through donations in a general election, but only in the right to assemble and votes they cast. This is the root goal of our democratic republic. To go the way Obama is choosing is to do away with the democratic portion and replace it with a Capitalistic republic. Here the wealthy will rule. Presidencies must not be allowed to be BOUGHT!!!

    June 19, 2008 at 7:25 pm |
  10. jim

    I expected this from Obama. Here we have a racist candidate "typical white person" associates himself with Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers. Voters still don't get it. I can't understand why anybody would vote for him. Bottom line he is a shady character. If the voters can't see that they are retards

    June 19, 2008 at 6:58 pm |
  11. Larry

    It all gets lost in the semantics.

    June 19, 2008 at 6:47 pm |
  12. Robin in FL

    I detest the public financing system! Why should my hard earned money go to candidate who doesn't share my views? If I like a candidate I will send my money to their campaign. I don't need Washington to do that for me.

    June 19, 2008 at 6:41 pm |
  13. Lucky

    Let's be very honest on here, for once. By birth I am Black, not that this matters, but I was initially excited by Obama. However, the more you listen and learn about Barrack the more you have to wonder. He's a typical politician. Say and promise one thing and do the reverse. As for Michelle, she is a very, very angry person. You can see it in her face. Mute the volume on your TV, and just observe her body language. By the way, she called Obama "Pathetic" on the view. Now the spin masters are trying to tell us to beleive she said empathic. I recorded the View and listened over 20 times and she said, "sweet, Pathetic." My gut tells me that Obama is just a con man. Although I helped raise money for him in Desoto County, MS, I will not vote for him. Some thing is not right about Barrack and Michelle. I just feel it.

    June 19, 2008 at 6:38 pm |
  14. HAL

    Another Obama promise broken. More to follow!

    June 19, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  15. Deanna , Canada

    When will people realize that this man will tell you anything you want to hear , hence he flip flops and he gets away with it all the time.
    I thought after Bush there would be a very thorough and intense vetting process of the next Presidential candidate , instead I see a blind following of a man that has a thin resume with poor judgement and lacking knowledge and experience.
    His questionable association with certain people alone , should have disqualified him from running for office.

    June 19, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  16. Susan


    Sounds like Senator Obama wants to work both sides of the fence. It does not sound to me that he is not taking public funding. He is keeping his options open and speaks out of both sides of his mouth.


    June 19, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  17. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Usually politicians wait until they are elected to break their promises. Obama has already broken his about using public financing. I guess this is the change we've all been waiting for. I guess Obama feels he needs to outspend McCain 3 or 4 to one to get elected, just like he did to beat Hillary.

    June 19, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  18. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    So who holds him accountable if nothing is publicly financed? Private financing buys people a lot, but it also comes with tremendous payback in the form of favors to major donors (and this time no one to know who they are and what will be returned in kind for the money). It sounds like another form of scumbag back room politicking to me. Who needs federal lobbyists when you have your own private slush fund and no one to question it? Nice to know the change was for the betterment of America and not Obama's own agenda. Yeah right. He must have taken notes from Edwin Edwards' playbook.

    June 19, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  19. JC- Los Angeles

    It's so apparent that politicians, executives and the connected few, all have someone picking up the tab. Look at the mortgage meltdown. Obama slays Countrywide (and rightfully so) while a member of his inner circle was getting a few sweetheart loans. It's not as if these types and members of the House and Senate were getting preferred loans on their primary residences. No. They got deals on second, third or fourth homes paid by tax payers. Pathetic. Obama's finances were a mess before he received book advances. Do we need someone running the country who can't run his own finances? How about IPOs or stock options? Terry McCauliff made tens of millions of dollars off Global Crossing stock options for giving a few speeches. Pathetic. Now we hear that Obama will refuse general election public financing. It's hilarious; you can't make this stuff up. Pry a little deeper and you will find where the money comes from and be stunned by Obama's true inner circle.

    June 19, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  20. Caryl Foster, San Diego

    Senator McCain can only wish he had as much direct public interest in directly funding his campaign. Why should Senator Obama give up such an obvious "public" private financing advantage given that it directly reflects the desire of everyday citizens to have him elected as the next President of the United States?

    June 19, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  21. Jan from Wood Dale, IL

    Obama chose the option best suited for himself. Even though he banned the DNC, and boasts his own campaign will not accept money from federal lobbyists and PACs, Obama continues to accept money from state lobbyists and the spouses and family members of federal lobbyists.

    Two-thirds of his Senate campaign finances came from State lobbyists. Maybe that's why he's moved a big part of the DNC to Chicago, IL? He's been a student of the masters (Kennedy and Daley) in building his own political clout machine.

    June 19, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  22. Jo Ann, Ohio

    So this is Obama's way of “aggressively” preserving a publicly financed general election? People better get used to it; this won’t be the last “promise” Obama will worm his way out of. However, I am not surprised to see him take the less traceable route.

    Is this what his campaign meant when they said that Obama will bring “change” and a “new type of politics?” Sounds like old time politics to me. As I suspected, they were just catch phrases to win him the nomination. Like Reverend Wright suggested, he will do whatever it takes to get elected.

    Guess Kerry taught him the fine art of flip-flopping.

    Can’t wait to see the spin you guys in the media will put on this one! Oh the excuses you will make!

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    June 19, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  23. Patrick

    nice. good man, smart move.

    June 19, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  24. Dubb

    Confidence in the American people-HUGE!

    June 19, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  25. Kristen- Philadelphia, PA

    Good for him. Obama’s campaign is financed by over 1 million people. I would say that’s public financing at its finest.

    June 19, 2008 at 1:41 pm |
  26. Marlon

    Wow! That's speaks highly of Sen. Obama interests in the public.

    June 19, 2008 at 1:36 pm |
  27. Cindy

    So now Obama has become a flip flopper again! Why does he not want to go with a publicly finance campaign? Does he think that he is going to have to WAY outspend McCain to beat him? Or does he have some people in his pocket that he doesn't want to lose!? This just raises more questions about him.

    Personally I think all elections should be publicly financed. Then both start out with the same amount of money. We can see who does the best with it, and that way the best man will win.


    June 19, 2008 at 1:01 pm |