Thursday, June 19, 2008

Barack Obama Didn't Back Out of Public Funding Promise

It was conditional upon coming to an agreement with the Republican nominee for President as explained by Keith Olbermann and Howard Fineman...

Fineman also said the grassroots contributions received by Barack Obama are public financing, directly from individuals.

Get the transcript. Good discussion of the entire situation, including how the news media has been basically paroting John McCain's charge Obama breaking a promise.

CNN's group discussing with Wolf Blitzer

Sanchez says Obama broke a promise.

Jonathan Prince... says that's wrong he didn't break a promise... it was conditional on negotiating with the Republican nominee some details

Get the transcript

Wolf Blitzer interjects... he changed his mind...

Very interesting

June 19, 2008, 8:54 am
No ‘Easy Decision’ for Obama on Public Financing
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama announced that he would become the first presidential candidate to forgo public financing of his general election campaign since the system was established three decades ago.

McCain attacks Obama for opting out of public financing

Sen. John McCain on Thursday accused Sen. Barack Obama of breaking a promise when the Democrat decided to forgo public financing in this fall's campaign.

Obama told supporters in an e-mail message Thursday that he would not accept about $85 million in public funds when he becomes the Democratic presidential nominee.

In the e-mail, Obama said the public campaign financing system allowed "special interests [to] drown out the voices of the American people" and asked his supporters to "declare our independence from a broken system."

McCain said that Obama's move to drop out of the system "should be disturbing to all Americans" and that he may decide to opt out, too.

"Sen. Obama's reversal on public financing is one of a number of reversals ... that he has taken," McCain said while touring flood-damaged parts of Iowa.

"This election is about a lot of things, but it's also about trust. It's also about whether you can take people's word. ... He said he would stick to his agreement. He didn't."

He said his campaign will reconsider whether to opt out as well.

"We''l have to reevaluate in light of his decision," he said. But he said he leans toward taking public money.

But Rep. Rahm Emanuel, an Obama supporter, argued that the Democrat had "more than realized the objective of public financing" by setting up a system to accept small donations over the Internet.

Posted by Rick Hasen at 08:14 AM
Sen. Obama Opts Out of Public Financing
You can find his video announcement here. The news is currently the lead story on the NYT website.

I find Senator Obama's decision completely defensible and unsurprising. The system is broken. We cannot expect opt ins by successful candidates, especially in the internet age which has greatly decreased the cost of fundraising from micro-donors.

February 21, 2008
Posted by Rick Hasen at February 21, 2008 09:39 PM
Sen. McCain in Legal and Political Pickle Over FEC Letter
Though the New York Times story about Sen. McCain's alleged improprieties with a lobbyist is dominating today's news, another story could prove equally or more important to the success of McCain's candidacy. Today's FEC decision barring McCain, at least temporarily, from withdrawing from the presidential public financing system for the primary season could affect McCain legally, by limiting his ability to spend money until the Republican party convention this summer (and even potentially subjecting McCain to fines for violating campaign finance laws), and politically, by taking the wind out of the sails of his recent attacks on Sen. Obama for suggesting Obama may back out of a pledge to take public financing for the fall campaign if his Republican challenger does. The developments look to be good news for Obama, at least in the short term.

Here's the relevant background:

John Wilson post

Why Obama Is Right to Reject Public Financing
by JohnKWilson
Thu Jun 19, 2008 at 10:20:13 AM PDT

Early in 2007, Obama asked the FEC for permission to leave open the possibility of public financing in the general election, even though he made no promises. In his USA Today op-ed in February 2008 (matching the wording of his earlier promises), Obama wrote that he would "aggressively pursue such an agreement" for public funding.

But Obama explained that such an agreement would have to be carefully negotiated: "The candidates will have to commit to discouraging cheating by their supporters; to refusing fundraising help to outside groups; and to limiting their own parties to legal forms of involvement. And the agreement may have to address the amounts that Senator McCain, the presumptive nominee of his party, will spend for the general election while the Democratic primary contest continues. According to the Obama campaign, McCain’s side simply refused to take the difficult steps necessary to fulfill this condition outlined by Obama.


Public Financing Advocacy Group Files FEC Complaint Against McCain
by Associated Press
Monday, June 9, 2008

Predicting McCain will attack Obama over public financing, CNN's Crowley did not report that McCain may be breaking the law
Summary: On CNN's American Morning, reporting on Sen. Barack Obama's decision to opt out of public financing for the general election, Candy Crowley asserted that "you can expect that [Sen. John McCain] will hit Obama on two scores: One, you went back on what you said you would do; and two, this is not how to reform Washington." But Crowley did not report that McCain may actually be breaking campaign finance law.

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