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June 23rd, 2008
05:28 PM ET

Keeping a promise is one thing, flexibility is another

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/23/art.obama5.jpg]

David Gergen
CNN Sr. Political Analyst
Fmr. Presidential Adviser

As he heads toward a joint fundraiser with Hillary Clinton, this Thursday, Barack Obama is sure to come under more fire for his decision to reject public financing this fall. Much of it is deserved: he has clearly broken a vow on a matter of importance to many Americans.

Still, I think he showed a side of himself that voters needed to know was there. All along, there have been questions about whether he is tough enough to be President. He showed here that in the crunch he is no Bambi, that on a hard call, he has the inner will to prevail – even if he has to go back on what he has promised.

This is a longer argument, but in essence, our best Presidents have been those willing to reverse themselves and take the heat when it seemed necessary. It is not always attractive – and it isn’t attractive here – but it can be pretty darn important in the White House.

In this case, Obama could legitimately believe that his prodigious capacity to raise money can help to level the playing field with John McCain. Republicans have long shown they know how to raise money and use it effectively to bring down a Democratic candidate; while their coffers may be low now, who can guarantee that Republican oriented 527’s won’t fill them up this fall. Left unsaid so far is that Obama may also need extra funds to bolster himself as the first African-American nominee to run for President. As Washington Post poll yesterday found, 23% of respondents said that the race of a candidate was important in their decision – a sobering number.

Finally, we learned over the weekend, that with extra funds, Obama is planning a 50-state election strategy – a luxury no other Democratic could ever afford. It may not guarantee many more electoral votes, but if he does make it to the White House (and that remains a big if) it will sure help him with governing to have a grassroots organization in every state.

***

One other note, Cindy McCain is sometimes portrayed in the press as a Stepford wife who seems plastic and has little to say. That portrayal is actually unfair. If you want to know the real Cindy McCain, I recommend your reading the new Newsweek cover story. She emerges as a caring, independent-minded woman who has shown a great compassion for disabled children. It’s a very worthwhile read.


Filed under: David Gergen • Raw Politics
soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. Patrick (Salem, Oregon)

    Let's recognize Obama as a realist who changed his mind to get the advantage of his tremendous fundraising ability. Let's not claim it was a character strength, a sign of necessary toughness, and let's not demonize the Republicans as full of dirty tricks, thus implying Obama had to do this. As an Obama supporter, I believe he was correct to refuse public funds to help him win the presidency. Joe Biden was very eloquent on how Obama is much less beholden to special interests than other candidates who take "big money", so he doesn't need to be as reigned in by the public financing requirement. Many individuals want to fund him; he doesn't need special interests to do it. So the character problem of going back on his word is somewhat diminished by the fact that he isn't really beholden to big money. In my opinion, this is the lesser evil.

    June 24, 2008 at 1:55 am |
  2. Stuartgg, in BC Canada

    There are times when winning is everything.......; the only acceptable 'outcome'! "This Presidential Election is one of those times"!

    At this time in Global and Domestic History and Circumstances.........; Senator Barrack Obama, 'must do what's legally possible/acceptable to win'!

    "Strategic and Ruthless; results oriented Action and Flexibility"!

    We are 'all' affected by this Presidential Election!

    "Go Barrack..........GO"

    June 24, 2008 at 1:21 am |
  3. frieda

    Obama's stand and his comments have an "expiration date"...he has changed too many positions and that shows an indecisiveness not flexibility!

    June 24, 2008 at 1:14 am |
  4. frieda

    I have loved Cindy Mcain's activism for years now...quietly and without any media attention she has been doing a great job for disabled children and for operation smile.

    Classy Lady

    I loved the fact that she has adopted a child from India..I love that her son has served in Iran. For once we have a candidate that he has his own son in the battle ground.

    I think McCain is the "change" candidate.

    June 24, 2008 at 1:11 am |
  5. Ben

    It is simple. Obama took the money and set aside principles.
    Not good for a guy who is running as Mr. Clean or New Wave Politician. As for the 527 swift boaters he needs the money to defend against- It appears Move- on.org (for Obama)is already out there
    ahead of the pack .

    June 24, 2008 at 12:45 am |
  6. tonnie

    Mr. Gergen,
    You are my favorite analyst in all mainstream network. I love your objectiveness not partisanship, which shows from having served in both republican and democratic adminstrations. This is what we need in this country that is been so divided by partisan politics. As an independent I have watched people say HILLARY is divisive. Is she more divisive than George Bush? NO. But she is got some negatives just like Obama as well as McCain. We all have our negatives.
    There is nothing wrong with a man changing his mind at some point. Just like you said Mr. Gergen, the best leaders are the flexible ones.I just hope whoever becomes the president should add you to their team. I will vote for OBAMA because he is going to take this country on a different but positive course. Thank you Mr. Gergen for your excellent work. You a great asset to CNN. You are one of the few reasons I watch CNN. My friends agree you are the best.

    June 24, 2008 at 12:37 am |
  7. Missy (Ca)

    I sure hope you post this one. It is amazing to me the amount of support Obama gets from his followers. Just what, I wonder, do these Americans think he is going to change? What I have learned so far about this man is that he is not honest and his supporters make excuse after excuse for his actions. His pastor, the bomber, his wife never being proud of her country until her husband is a candidate, the slum lord he worked for, etc., etc., now this! Hmmmm... take everything and what do you get? McCain may be old but he still would make a much better president and I would feel safe! By the way, McCain is a republican just like many other great presidents we had but he is not George Bush!

    June 24, 2008 at 12:28 am |
  8. darcy

    Obama's promise to me is HOPE for a better future for my children and grandchildren with HIM in the Oval Office.

    That is why I support him with my dollars.

    I expect him to use his judgment as to how he is going to fund his run for this office.

    Clinton has proven she would run it in the red, and McCain has proven he does not personally have control over RNC and 527 negative ads that may require Obama's strong response.

    Obama is again using good judgment... that of course is a thorn in the side of a McCain supporter.

    June 24, 2008 at 12:27 am |
  9. Frank

    I didn't read all of the blogs–about 20 perhaps–but Mike from Syracuse may have put it best ; to wit, it would have been refreshing if Obama had stood by his earlier expressions of intent to accept federal campaign financing. He blew an opportunity to stand out as a politician of principle (if you will pardon the oxymoron.) It's a matter of respect: it is more difficult now to respect the man once he has revealed himself to be like the others. One gets a little tired of folks who continually prostitute themselves for money. Obama apparently is no different. Would like to cut him some slack but with the Rev. Wright association, the "bitter" comments, a few other missteps, and now this, what to do? Heaven knows McCain is no paragon and Hillary was just awful. What a mess this country is in that we can't pick better leaders. It's a flawed system (the primaries) I think. But one does have to admire them all for putting up with such a lengthy and excruciatingly demanding process. 'Nuff said except: we think you are one of the better comentators, Gergen. Hang tough.

    June 24, 2008 at 12:13 am |
  10. JC- Los Angeles

    Bobby, I greatly appreciate your comments and understand how you feel a leader may be inclined to change his mind once additional information is gathered, however, the stakes today are so high that we need leadership that is inclined to be right the first time. We didn't get a second chance to prevent 911, period. With your logic it would be very easy to say, "gee, if we had to do it all again, we'd throw out Alan Greenspan, we'd crack down on Wall Street, we'd stop the mortgage banking fraud, we'd crack down on crooked politicians and their sweetheart loans, we'd stop corporate malfeasance, we'd correct the healthcare system and we'd fix the public schools." I believe the American people deserve someone who addresses these issues upfront, the first time around fixes them once and for all.

    June 24, 2008 at 12:02 am |
  11. keesa

    You right i would of optout on public financing to.whos that stupid to take 83million when you can make tripple that amount,and all the flip-flopping john mccain does please the world aint that crazy i dont thank a religous person that crazy i dont call that optout i call that being smart thats why i want Obama as my president good thinking.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:43 pm |
  12. Augustine E.

    The truth is, this is great wisdom from the part of Senator Obama in particular and his campaign in general. Yes he said he was going to take public finance but after examining the Republican party's relations with the 527s he had to change his mind. Let us be mindful of the fact that without successfully getting to the oval office he can not bring the most needed change in America where people pray for terrorist attacks for political gains.Infact, that was the right decision.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:41 pm |
  13. Cathy

    I just read the Newsweek article about Cindy McCain. What really struck me is that wife and family took a back seat to career and country with Sen. McCain. Life is about balance, spouses have a responsibility to their partners and to their family. It is truly unfortunate that Cindy McCain was in her words a "single parent" and it is even more unfortunate that she settled for that.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:39 pm |
  14. Lani In California

    Mr. Gergen, you are one of the few analyst on television whose analysis I trust and respect. That said, I agree with you on most of what you said.

    I'm am concerned that everyone says Obama made a PROMISE. Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought he filled out a survey of some sort. Everyone acts as if he solicited the funds from the FEC, signed a pledge to use the funds and then changed his mind.

    By completing a form, did he break a promise to the American people?

    June 23, 2008 at 11:39 pm |
  15. Jeanine

    Smart move. He would have been a fool to give up this big advantage. He's going to need a lot of money to answer all the "swift boaters" that are going to come out against him. The Republicans are just grousing because their little trap didn't work. There is a good reason John McCain can't match the donations going to Obama. I just hope all the voters that came out in the primaries show up in the general election. Every vote counts!

    June 23, 2008 at 11:35 pm |
  16. Jim

    Obama did the right thing. The objective is to win the Presidency. To not use the financial resources at his disposal, many small contributions which are essentially vote proxies and strongly suggest how well he will do in the election, would be foolish. To change one's mind when the facts demand it is good sense, not a flip flop.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:33 pm |
  17. Craig-IL

    To be honest, I never thought this was the reform Obama has been talking about. I see, due to journalist digging up the story, he had mentioned it in the past. For me, this change of heart makes sense and is the right thing to do. What change means to me is a change in government, a more mature foreign policy that includes diplomacy, and a willingness to negotiate with people who disagree with you- even if they are the minority political party or heads of states who are dictators and pursue policies not in US interests.

    Further, in terms of money, the real problem has always been big money. If a candidate can raise large sums of small donations, from any party, on some level he or she must be popular. It is democracy in action. People should be able to express who they are for though a financial donation.

    Politicians, including Obama are going to have to change their position from time to time. The important thing is to be honest about it. I think he was. He thought it was best thing, and did it. Whoever you vote for, I guarantee their position will change once in the White House. Sometimes that is for good reason.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:31 pm |
  18. Howard

    Maybe Obama could just "stay the course," even when he is wrong–oh wait, that's what the clown we have now does. Of course, Bush is just parroting what his advisors (and Cheney) tell him to say. The whole Bush presidency is a criminal nightmare of bad decisions and ignorance. Why in God's name have we not impeached both Cheney and Bush?
    This is is a non-issue for Obama. Grow up, people. Perhaps, he should have stated that he would wait to decide on what to do regarding funding. If he had, this would not be a discussion.
    If Obama wins, it will be nice to have one of the smarter guys around running the show. A person who can make good decisions with the data available. Right now, even if we gathered some of the dimwits on this site and around the Internet, Bush would NOT be the smartest guy in the ROOM. Sad, but frightening!

    June 23, 2008 at 11:27 pm |
  19. Lou R

    When circumstances change, choices change. Plain and simple! The problem becomes when the change is done in the darkness of night; Obama spoke about the choice change in broad daylight. Only the simple minded will remain stuck with a previously made choice when circumstances change-Obama recognizes his campaign has many challenges to overcome so why should he limit his financial options? Considering the low road nature of the competition, I applaud the choice!

    June 23, 2008 at 11:23 pm |
  20. Michael Leftwich

    What WE THE PEOPLE want is campaign finance where the total amount of money spent is about even.

    With "public funding" [from the government] only comprising a portion of the total spending on Presidential elections, I look at Obama's move as a means for him to ensure that this year, unlike in years past, the Republicans and their PACs & 527s can not outspent the Democrats.

    I'm sorry but I see this in keeping with the true spirit of campaign fianance reform. In law we talk about the letter and the SPIRIT. Senator Obama seems to be keeping the SPIRIT.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:18 pm |
  21. kat

    So Obama cant change his mind when he feels he is making a better decision based on current circumstances, every person
    with a brain does this, Republicans have made seriously bad decisions and stuck too them at the disadvantage of about
    4000 or more very young soldiers and probably many more
    to come. We are not electing JESUS for president, we are
    electing a man, so to all you self righteous hypocrites out there
    so eager to throw the first stone, stop masking what is really
    behind your inhumane judgement of Obama, stop masking
    your hatred and fear of true change.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:17 pm |
  22. Susan - North Haven, CT

    Obamaniacs in this country need to wake up and stop excusing this man's actions. He lied – plain and simple – and it's time for someone to hold him accountable. He's getting accustomed to being let off the hook.......... it's not a good thing.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:17 pm |
  23. camillecarbetta

    crazyasacalabrez
    looks like Obama has changed public financing forever. He has
    already delivered on his promise to his supporters by not taking
    pac money, big oil, etc. He's talkin the talk, and walkin the walk,
    one taxpayer at a time. What a breath of fresh air.
    I also read the piece on Cindy MCain. I hope they just leave her alone. She is very brave.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:17 pm |
  24. Soul Rebel

    I think it's high time, white america give Barack a chance and stop scrutinising everything he says in an effort to find loop holes. It is quite obvious, you are using this to hide the fact y'all are some bigots.

    so .... he changed his mand .... Big deal!!!!

    June 23, 2008 at 11:16 pm |
  25. Dipak

    Mr. Obama is a realist. He has seen Senator Kerry's aspiration for the White House destroyed by a spurious & relentless war waged by Republican backed 527s'.
    Mr. McCain knows far too well that the surrogate 527 money makes the Public Funding Proposal a Farce.
    Why should Mr. Obama not count on the support of the millions that have contributed, and, want to continue to do so. Are we not a democracy after all. Should the peoples' will to contribute not be respected.
    Mr. Gergen has served several Presidents during trying times. His observations are backed by wisdom. CNN should be complemented for having Mr. Gergen as an expert commentator.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:16 pm |
  26. bobby

    JC – Los Angeles...

    I humbly disagree with your assertion.

    I understand that you think that Obama should have been able to "get it right the first time", but his decision, in my opinion, was one made after he gathered evidence, weighed what it was telling him, and made the best decision based upon that even if it contradicted what he said 1 year ago when he could not have foreseen that he would be able to raise as much money as he did and has the potential to do. I think it was the right call for him to forgo the public financing and capitalize on being able to raise substantial funds in his bid to be the next president. I think it was an astute judgment call.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:15 pm |
  27. Michael Leftwich

    He doesn't seem so "reckless & naieve" now, eh John McCain?"

    June 23, 2008 at 11:14 pm |
  28. mantysDOTus

    I don't understand the people that say Sen. Obama broke a promise. Barack has dedicated himself to campaign reform and has proven such over and over with his strikingly unusual approach to campaigning and campaign funding. The spirit of reform means, of course, he cannot become beholding to corporations by taking their money. It means The People must remain the principle beneficiaries of his execution of power, once he acquires it. So far, I see no major contradiction with his stance on public finance. But unlike the supporters of Junior George, I will be watching Sen. Obama with great interest in congruence between word and deed. Barack Obama's integrity is why I became an Obamacrat in the first place. Obamacrat.us!

    June 23, 2008 at 11:13 pm |
  29. Chris ( Ottawa Canada)

    David, i never doubt your opinion on any subject. Yourself and Rawlings are the only two analyst that speaks from their heart and both of you always make sense when i listen to what you have to say on any subj...Thank you for your insight..The rest of the world is watching AMERICA!

    June 23, 2008 at 11:13 pm |
  30. Lewis Odom

    Mr. Gergen: Your comments are thoughtful and insightful. Obama would have been making a terrible mistake to accept federal government financing of his campaign. One of your readers was correct: Senator Obama's financing has been "public financing" in small amounts from 1.5 million of his supporters. I am one of them. The American people have learned just how disastrous it can be to always "stay the course".

    Lewis/Ala

    June 23, 2008 at 11:12 pm |
  31. Mary Greene

    David, I am surprised at you writing this article. Bush and McCain have changed their minds so many times and we are suffering from it right now. It might not affect you, but it is affecting a lot of Americans. What if Bush decided not to go in Iraq. I am sure many parents and wives would be very happy. So you have never changed your mind-well-you are the first. What wrong David, why can't America have a sensible election. You supposed to know the in's and out's. There are so much to talk about except someone changing their minds. Let's talk about high gas prices, which probably doesn't affect you, health care, broken prisons systems, tornadoes, firers, hurricanes, flooding, Katrina still broke, child abuse in America, hunger in America, veterans sleeping under bridges and homeless.etc. just to name a few.
    Let's also talk about the hate in America that the whole world sees and we wonder why they should love us. Why should America celebrate MLK when we have not lived up to his ways of love and peace. Some of the America people are showing their true colors. David, don't let me down, I have always given you the credit for the better. Oh, well. Let me go and donate to Sen. Obama. It's all in God's hands anyway and His will, will be done. God Bless you David.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:11 pm |
  32. Andrew

    Sticking to something that would probably cost him the election would be absurd. Only those who want him to loose would say so. McCain and the right wing attack machine would off a family member if it would win them the election. So to play into grandpa McCain's hand would be self destructive to say the least. I agree with Gergen, if we had a president that would admit his failures our country wouldn't be in the position it is in right now. King George will be remembered for the tyrant that he is. And Grandpa McCain is just an extension of him. After being his whipping boy McCain know what they want him to do.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:10 pm |
  33. Wendy

    I give Obama credit for doing what's best for his campaign. I hope a President could also look at all aspects & choose the best course.
    Seriously people, the Republicans are the ones who REFUSE to stop taking money from Lobbyists so the fact that Obama will raise money without them is far more important. I seem to remember MANY occasions when McCain " changed his mind" about things far more
    important than this. Good for Obama for making a smart decision & turning his back on the old style politics. Proves that he is the only candidate interested & capable of implementing true change.
    Go Obama!!

    June 23, 2008 at 11:10 pm |
  34. Vickie A

    "Brave .... tough" ??? Respectfully disagree. More like... typical politician ! Reversing his pledge is all about what's good for HIM, which is considerably different than reversing a decision that would help others. I don't understand why the media is giving Obama a "free pass" on this. As an independent I've liked a lot of things about his candiacy, but this decision has eroded my confidence in his trustworthiness.

    June 23, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  35. Rose

    As far as I am concerned a man who can't keep his word doesn't need to win. He needs to lose. BIG

    June 23, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  36. Kay - Tallahassee, FL

    Mr. Gergen,
    I am a 31 year old African-American voter and I love you! No seriously! I love your perspective. I love your fairness. I love your honesty. It is a breath of fresh air to watch and listen to someone with your knowledge and experience and not just someone who has worked on one campaign that is all of a sudden a "political analyst.". I especially appreciate the fact that you don't have any hidden agendas as do some other "political analysts."
    Keep up the good work!

    June 23, 2008 at 11:00 pm |
  37. Cathy

    I've not viewed Cindy McCain as a Stepford wife. I guess my sense is that they lead somewhat separate lives, he in Washington and her at home tending to her family business and causes near to her heart.

    I'm getting off track here....I recently read something about John McCain's nasty temper, which gave me some pause. I think the job requires someone who operates on an even keel.

    June 23, 2008 at 10:58 pm |
  38. Mary Martin

    I liked your editorial and am in full agreement. My Dad always said," a wise man changes his mind, a fool never does." Things change, you gotta revisit situations and rethink, and adjust accodingly. I am an over 65 white female who is supporting Obama with regular contributions. Thanks.

    June 23, 2008 at 10:58 pm |
  39. Tanya

    I wish the media would scrutinize JM murky dealing on campaign finance like they have spent examining BO. BO is running for POTUS not the second coming of Christ. He is not perfect, doesn't always get it right time ,and suffers from a human condition known as humanity. We all have it. This doesn't make hime unfit to be Pres.

    I am happy he did it. On the whole it's more important to defeat JM right now. All BO other policies are on target...can't say the same for JM. BO needs all the money he can get to introduce himself to the public who thinks he's "exotic", "foreign", "muslim", "too black" or whatever other precluding small minded stereotype there is. He needs it to fight the RNC, media talking heads and 527s.

    When it comes down to it, BO showed some savvy. I like him even more for it. Also remember, "Change" doesn't mean God like perfection. Alot of people will be dissapointed with that kind of expectation. Keep it real and listen to the policies. He must fight to make through this hard process. He can't win acting like an angel all the time.

    June 23, 2008 at 10:56 pm |
  40. Rose

    I believe it is important for a President to keep his word and Obama went back on his word. I know you punditts believe it doesn't really matter to the voter. But it matters to me. I know very little about Obama. Now I know that he'll go back on his word when it might benefit him. He can't run enough ads to change that.

    June 23, 2008 at 10:55 pm |
  41. Sean from Orlando

    I also think it is funny that now when it works for Obama he is playing the race card. Also, David, as we seen with Obama's vetting team, his judgments of people is not the best. He picked two people with a tainted past whose opinion on our VP we cannot even trust, and while he let Clinton be branded as more of the same in Washington in order to make himself look better and something new, or "Change" if you will, then he goes and picks a Kennedy as the third person for his vetting team. All three suck, A Kennedy is way more of the same then a Clinton was, is or could be, they have been around forever and she is the last person I want to help choose my VP. I am not sure I want a president who is wrong from the start and admits it, who lies and flip-flops and says just what he thinks the people need to hear and not what he really intends, as well as one with poor judgments when it comes to important choices in office, like the choice of our VP.

    June 23, 2008 at 10:54 pm |
  42. Osiris, FL

    This is the game of politics. The candidates who make the best
    moves will win. This is an impresive move. He would be stupid if he lets that oportunity go. This is a turning point in our history. Be part of history.

    No many people has his IQ.

    I have to go and donate.....later

    June 23, 2008 at 10:49 pm |
  43. Georgia Cole

    Lou Dobbs and David Gergen seem to be the only ones on cnn who seem to be objective about Sen. O'Bama. Thanks Mr. Gergen for saying that he went back on his promise. I think it was probably a prudent thing to do , but he could have explained a good reason why instead of the lame excuse he used. CNN seems to have a problem telling the whole truth about Mr. O'Bama. They won't go near anything that appears to be remotely negative. I am sure he is not nearly as perfect as they portray him. Thanks Mr. Gergen for being able to talk about OB without having stars in your eyes. By the way, I am African- American and that is not going to make me vote for him. I think he is the least qualified of the field and doesn't seem to be very honest.

    June 23, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  44. Heidi-CT

    I agree with you David and always appreciate your thoughtful commentary. Even the nay sayers have to admit that Obama is running a very smart campaign. In my opinion, not only will this country benefit with Obama sitting in the Oval Office, so will the world at large. I have all my bets on the integrity and the leadership qualities of this man. He can do whatever it takes to win as far as I'm concerned because I trust, deep in my soul, that whatever he does will be above board.

    Signed,
    A White Middle Class/Middle Aged Woman

    June 23, 2008 at 10:46 pm |
  45. Cathy

    Good piece. My view is that he is putting his candidacy and the party in the best position to win in the fall. Agree, it was a bold move he will likely take some heat for....I do see David's point. Hmmm, I wonder if McCain would have done the same if he were to have found himself on the same level as Obama in fundraising!!

    June 23, 2008 at 10:46 pm |
  46. sarbjit

    Well David. I read all the comments above. I agree that you normally have extreme perspective. However this time your analysis is wrong your perspective is accurate and would be great if your analysis of the situation was right. The problem with Obama's decision is that its devoid of any principle and is purely oppurtunistic. What you are thinking about when you are saying a president needs to be able to reverse himself – i believe you are thinking about when circumstances change and what was once right changes a president would require courage and character to go to the people and explain – totally true. However there is no fit with Obama's situation – system didn't become broke since 2007. Actually very disturbing from a man whose presidency is based on words only. Here's perspective. Match obama words to his actions over his very limited political existence. maybe you get a 10 to 90 match. Then look at the reversals . Then consider what his record might be if he were around for as long as mccain has been around. Media if its to do the job properly should report on how obama's word match with his actions.

    June 23, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  47. Sean from Orlando

    I think that while it is his choice to make and the American people may not care so much about his funding, we do mind if he is not honest and not a man of his word. Going back on this makes him both a liar and a flip-flopper. Now I am aware that McCain flip-flopped on oil drilling this week, but Obama also flip-flopped on NAFTA and these two flip-flops are far from the only ones so far that Obama has flip-flopped on. Also, drilling for oil off state coasts is an issue that most American's agree on, so McCain is siding with the overall agreement of the Country. I will still give Obama my vote if Hillary is his VP, if not I will probably vote McCain, but this shows a flaw in the image and character that Obama has tried to portray himself as. Much more flip-flopping on Obama's part and I will not vote for him at all. Also, shame on Obama for trying to make McCain look bad for not doing anything about the floods. Last I checked the Democrats have been in Charge of congress for about 2 years, how come none of them have done anything about the poor state of our levees in these states? I think it is funny that Obama would blame McCain for not doing anything when McCain in a senator from AZ (a state that is not even in this flood region) and Obama just happens to be from Chicago, and his home state is one of the states in this flood region. So, how come Obama did not do anything about this in his state about the floods???

    June 23, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  48. syl

    At least David Gergen is consistent. His comments in the primaries invariably were positive on Obama as they were negative on Hillary.
    Now he is trying the same strategy – excuse Obama when he is wrong, praise and advise him most of the times and damage McCain as much as one could.
    Obama is the change man....He changed on public financing., He changed his position on NAFTA. He changed his position on sitting down unconditionally with the Iranian president. Change you can believe in Gergen!
    Obama's claim of judgement is speaking out against the Iraq war. Jeremie Wright also spoke out against the war...even before Obama. Does that make Jeremie Wright fit to be president. If you ask most of the people from Jeremie Wright's church (including the Obamas) they would all have been against the Iraq war taking their cue from the Rev. Wright. Would that make them all having great judgement and be fit to be president? You are a Harvard man, Gergen...do some more profound analysis.

    June 23, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  49. Priscilla

    I think everyone needs to keep this in perspective: While Obama is not accepting public financing as defined by lawmakers, he is funding his campaign through the people with small donations. The reason for campaign financing is to keep the big donors and lobbyists away from influencing the people they give money to (politicians) in ways to support their causes and to ignore the will of the people. Obama will remain loyal to the people. This decision demonstrates that he was able to change his mind while remaining loyal to the people he serves. In addition he called for 527s against McCain to close shop–nobody talks about that. Can we see more than "all or nothing", "all or none" dynamics in communication. Life is full of gray!!! There is more than one way to end up with the same result of "not accepting money from PACS, lobbyists, big donors, and so forth.

    June 23, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  50. jeno

    People listen – Senator Obama not accepting funds is no big deal, but in essence he is. Every dollar donation is receives is from who? the public, so use your head, why should he double dip? At least he's being honest and not accepting and also keep in mind; these funds restrict him to a certain dollar amount, which means he cannot go after the big republican ads. How and why do you think Kerry lost? he accepted these funds, which limited and the big money republicans went after him because all the 527's or what ever you call them put up the money for Bush and his dogs to go after him.

    This allows Obama – to have more money from donations, which are public citizens like you and me. Use your heads!!!!!!

    June 23, 2008 at 10:38 pm |
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