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Thursday, June 19, 2008
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the Swamp: The Swamp: Obama rejects public financing

In a widely expected decision, Sen. Barack Obama announced this morning that his Democratic presidential bid will reject public financing, abandoning an earlier pledge to participate in the system if his Republican challenger agreed to do the same.

It will be the first time a presidential nominee has not agreed to limit his spending and accept public financing since the system was put in place in 1976. The Illinois Democrat would have been entitled to about $84 million in public money for his general election effort.

The calculus is pretty easy: does one think that the money one can raise will increase one’s chances to win more than the criticism one will take for breaking a previous pledge will decrease one’s chances to win?

While I could have seen Obama taking the public financing (as I discussed here), this is not a surprising move to me. While it give McCain and his supporters an item to ad to the list of things that Obama has changed his mind about? Yes, it will. Do I think that there is a significant block of voters out there whose single most important issue is whether a candidate takes public monies for the general election? No, I do not.

If Obama can raise as much money as it appears that he can, he will be able to challenge McCain with vigor in the battleground states while simultaneously allow him to mount attacks in states that otherwise appear to be in McCain’s column.

And, of course, I suspect people like George Will (and, to be honest, myself) will see a great deal of irony in the fact that Obama will be in a position to have more money by which he can broadcast his political speech over McCain, the advocate of restricting free speech in the context of campaigning.

Others commenting:
Ben Smith’s Blogs, Jonathan Martin’s Blogs, Comments from Left Field and Reason Magazine

Sphere: Related Content

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  1. Well, I am a block of voters (even if a block of one) who cares about public financing. On the other hand, I do not believe in unilateral campaign-finance disarmament.

    And right on that irony point!

    Comment by MSS — Thursday, June 19, 2008 @ 12:19 pm

  2. To clarify: while I know that there is a pro-public financing sentiment in the minds of some/many voters, I just don’t see any of them who are currently allied with Obama jumping ship over this issue to McCain.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Thursday, June 19, 2008 @ 12:21 pm

  3. [...] opinions: PoliBlog™; Drudge Retort (After all, it’s not an AP story); The Moderate Voice (Our good friend Joe [...]

    Pingback by John McCain Upset With Barack Obama’s Decision To Save Taxpayers Tens Of Millions Of Dollars To Run His Election | THE GUN TOTING LIBERAL™ — Thursday, June 19, 2008 @ 2:37 pm

  4. It would be nuts for Obama to go with public funding; the rich and famous will line up to give his campaign money.

    It won’t affect enough voters to matter. We’re all used to lots of money being involved in elections, public or private, who really cares?

    Comment by Captain D — Thursday, June 19, 2008 @ 5:32 pm

  5. The rich and famous might be giving him some money, but he would also have to cut-back on those $1,000 per invitation meetings like the one his wife is attending in Birmingham Monday.

    Comment by Talmadge East — Friday, June 20, 2008 @ 2:32 am

  6. Agreed, Steven. The block we are referring to could jump ship to a third party candidate, but for those of us in California, that’s not much of a threat. And then there is the problem of a strong field of indies/thirds in terms of name recognition and experience, but unpalatable on other grounds. (I love Nader, but yesterday’s news…)

    Comment by MSS — Friday, June 20, 2008 @ 11:59 am

  7. A good article about this:

    Comment by CV — Friday, June 20, 2008 @ 3:31 pm

  8. I find it amazing that McCain was in to get a loan and avoid having to get petition signatures to get on primary ballots and then tried to back out. Now he has acknowledged that he cannot back out and every penny he is spending is in excess of the primary limit the law required him to be under. He has a lot of gall to try to make this an issue! But the press and the republican administration will ignore McCain’s violation of the campaign finance laws and simply repeat McCain’s talking points in exchange for some more BBQ.

    Comment by Jim Gundlach — Friday, June 20, 2008 @ 4:37 pm

  9. Anyone who thinks that the press has a pro-McCain bias is clearly not living in reality.


    Comment by Captain D — Friday, June 20, 2008 @ 6:02 pm

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