Friday, June 20, 2008

Obama Campaign: Public Financing Occurring Daily

Interviewed this morning on CNN's American Morning by John Roberts... spokesman Robert Gibbs says the Obama campaign sees public financing occurring daily.

Roberts quotes Russ Feingold... spokesman says Feingold is introducing another bill regarding campaign financing for the General Election... how can he say its not broken.

Get the transcript

CNN Wolf Blitzer and Jack Cafferty discuss Obama opting out of public campaign financing... interview with David Axelrod...


AXELROD: Let me say that the whole point of campaign finance laws is to try and reduce the influence of large money in our politics. No one's done more to do that at the presidential level than Senator Obama in this campaign. Because of the grassroots support that he's had, 1.5 million or more contributors, average donation less than $100, he's really returning control to people at the grassroots.

He's refused money from lobbyists, federal lobbyists. He's refused money from PACs. He's now -- now the Democratic National Committee has followed suit.

He's asked these 527 committees who pledged so large in the last campaigns to stand down, and two of the larger ones have disbanded. He's doing more to reform our system as a candidate than anybody in my memory.


BLITZER: But isn't the real -- yes, let me just say, isn't the decision behind this, and let's be blunt, this is going to help him be elected president of the United States? Because he can obviously raise $200 million, $300 million, maybe $400 million, which is a lot more than $85 million that he would get under public financing.

Isn't that the real reason why he's doing this, smart policies?

AXELROD: Wolf, let's be clear about one thing. John McCain's taking this money in the general election, but it doesn't preclude him from raising money for the Republican National Committee. And he's already raised tens and tens and tens and tens of millions of dollars for the Republican National Committee.

By the time this is through, between Senator McCain, the Republican National Committee, and the 527s that he refuses to discourage, they're going to spend plenty of money. And they may well spend more money than we do.

We need to be prepared for that, and we're going to be prepared for that. But on the system of public financing, there's still no clarity as to whether Senator McCain is operating legally right now.

He opted in at one point, he opted out at another point. He used being in the system to get a loan, to get on ballots. Then he said, no, I'm not part of the system. And that issue is still being looked at as he spends all this money in the primary season toward his general election campaign.

So for all his pieties, there are many questions about how he's operating in this campaign. Plus, his average donation is much, much higher, more -- closer to $1,000 than $100. And so I -- you know, I don't think that he is in a position to moralize too much about this.

BLITZER: But it is smart politics on your part, isn't it?

AXELROD: Well, I think that it's good politics to be competitive with your opponents. We expect our opponents to spend a lot of money and to do it with a ferocity that has become the hallmark of the Republican Party in these national elections.

Nobody in America believe the Republicans are not going to have a lot of money. And if you look at how they're raising money at $28,000 a pop for the Republican National Committee, you can see that there's not going to be any tag days over there for John McCain.

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