Obama hints at abandoning public financing for the election; Update: “Typical politician,” McCain camp charges

posted at 12:02 pm on April 9, 2008 by Allahpundit

No surprise. If you missed the early skirmishes on this subject between him and McCain — and judging by the sluggish comments on the posts, a lot of you did — revisit them now so that you’ll understand the stakes. If a candidate accepts public financing, he gets roughly $85 mil from the government to pay for his campaign on the condition that he not accept private donations. Obama pledged to do that last year and Maverick merrily followed suit. Now that he’s raising $40 million a month, that $85M figure doesn’t look so sweet. Which means it was a fait accompli that he’d break his promise and free himself up for massive private fundraising; the only question is what excuse he’d end up using. Here’s your answer:

Tonight at a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., at the National Museum of Women in the Arts — at a $2,300-per-person event for 200 people held before a $1,000-per-person reception for 350 people — Obama previewed his argument to justify this possible future discarding of a principle.

“We have created a parallel public financing system where the American people decide if they want to support a campaign they can get on the Internet and finance it, and they will have as much access and influence over the course and direction of our campaign that has traditionally been reserved for the wealthy and the powerful,” Obama said.

In other words, if the goal of public financing is to stop special interests from coopting cash-hungry candidates with big donations (doesn’t McCain-Feingold already do that to some extent?), then in theory a candidate whose money comes from hundreds of thousands of average voters in small donations is equally insulated from that risk. Obama raised $28 million online in January, per the Times, compared to $4 million from traditional donors. (McCain raised a meager $4 million online in March, leading to much teeth-gnashing and hand-wringing from Republican Internet consultants.) What’s going to happen when Hillary drops out and her own big money supporters — at least the ones who aren’t hopelessly disgruntled — start chipping in to Obama, though? True public financing prevents that; the Obama version of public financing, which is really just private financing with a broader-than-usual base, doesn’t. More to the point, who’s going to object if and when this happens? The left, for all its piety about campaign finance reform, won’t be pounding the table about it with Obama riding his cash rocket to the White House. The right has always treated campaign donations as a subset of free speech, which makes it hard to get too indignant about a candidate opting out and thereby giving his donors a “voice.” The only well positioned critic is Maverick himself, who’ll make a stink about Obama reneging on his pledge, get some minor political mileage out of it from a few weeks, and then go back to the hard business of figuring out how to fill a fundraising gap that may approach nine figures. Gulp.

Update: Why it matters.

Update: Milk it for all it’s worth. Because compared to the money, it ain’t worth much:

John McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said today that only a “typical politician” would vow to accept public financing and then reneg [sic] on his promise. Bounds was, of course, responding to Barack Obama’s statement last night that his campaign has created a “parallel public financing system,” a hint, of course, that he’s likely to opt out if he’s wins the Dem nom.

“Barack Obama publicly promised the American people that he would accept public financing if he is the nominee of his Party,” Bounds said. “Launching his campaign by going back on a promise to voters would be dishonest, and exposes his ‘politics of hope’ as empty rhetoric out of a typical politician.”


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so why would we expect a committed leftist to keep his word?

Onager on April 9, 2008 at 12:04 PM

The right has always treated campaign donations as a subset of free speech, which makes it hard to get too indignant about a candidate opting out and thereby giving his donors a “voice.”

True, but the left hasn’t. Obama pledged to abide by the pledge and now he’s breaking his promise. Like you said, though, it’ll only get a bit of political mileage.

Cue the comments talking about how it’s all McCain’s fault and he shouldn’t have done what he did with the immigration issue.

amerpundit on April 9, 2008 at 12:08 PM

Hussein can’t possibly win the general election. His wife is a way to severe for prolonged scrutiny. His longtime pastor’s a lunatic. He’s been caught in umpteen lies already, and he bowls like a sissy. McCain will catch him in the alley, push him to the ground, sit on his chest, make him eat dog poop, and send him home crying to his Typical White Person Grandmother. Game, set, match.

Akzed on April 9, 2008 at 12:11 PM

I kind of hope Obama lets people exercise their free speech rights. I’ll stand with him on that 1st amendment principle.

But on nothing else.

HYTEAndy on April 9, 2008 at 12:16 PM

Remember when people left of center used to make a stink about “buying elections”?

Good times. Good times.

Lehosh on April 9, 2008 at 12:16 PM

Cue the comments talking about how it’s all McCain’s fault and he shouldn’t have done what he did with the immigration issue.

amerpundit on April 9, 2008 at 12:08 PM

Well, he DID sort of shoot himself in the foot with that atrocious piece of legislation…

Hussein can’t possibly win the general election. His wife is a way to severe for prolonged scrutiny…. He’s been caught in umpteen lies already, and he bowls like a sissy.

You underestimate the stupidity of the electorate. Obviously, you’re forgetting that we elected Clinton twice.

HYTEAndy on April 9, 2008 at 12:18 PM

Oh oh! My toast is burning! Oh wait… Nevermind. Thats just our crappy candidate.

Zetterson on April 9, 2008 at 12:19 PM

Well Allahpundit, there you go again.

Is the White House for sell, or is the White House earned?

How much is the White House mortgage these days?

BDU-33 on April 9, 2008 at 12:20 PM

Yep. Barry the Bagman will have a record amount to spend. Astounding volumes of money, say $20-30M per month from June thru August. After his Big Convention speech of uplifting and ChangeHopeUnity he’ll shatter any previous records, even perharps a $50 million month in Sept or October. All total he could see something between $150-200 million just for his campaign, plus whatever the DNC, the 527s, unions, “civil rights groups” and environmental lobbies can throw in. McCain will be swamped by the dem cash tsunami. It looks bad.

Vote Sauron 08 on April 9, 2008 at 12:20 PM

Democrats abandoning principles that they did not have the capacity to hold in the first place is the dog bites man of politics.

Drop the electoral college and make it a bowl-off. That costs three games for two players and I’m sure Barry would have to rent shoes.

“Two Bowlers Enter, One President Leaves”

Hening on April 9, 2008 at 12:21 PM

Heh. Throw in a million dollar earmark for his wife’s employer, who more than doubled her salary the year prior and Obama looks alot more Clintonesque by the day.

“Eroding trust with ‘new politics’”

-Obama ’08

Theworldisnotenough on April 9, 2008 at 12:22 PM

Obama, is that Kenyan for speaks from both sides of mouth?

profitsbeard on April 9, 2008 at 12:25 PM

His position has evolved as his circumstances changed. It does look like the money will be overwhelmingly on his side, with nonstop TV ads, etc. McCain better hope his team can provide better, more effective ads that make an impact in fewer showings and markets.

Will that be enough for McCain to prevail over an enormous financial disadvantage? My guess- No.

cs89 on April 9, 2008 at 12:26 PM

Complete lack of integrity.

JayHaw Phrenzie on April 9, 2008 at 12:27 PM

Republicans upset about private financing of a campaign. Will wonders ever cease? Aren’t republicans against publically financed campaigns?

lorien1973 on April 9, 2008 at 12:27 PM

All the money in the world wont cover all his flaws. He will get exposed in the general, he relies too much on his charm, that wont work on the folks he needs to sway. The RNC, FOX and bloggers will find his hidden skeletons and pound on them till election day.

He wont win OHIO
He wont win FLORIDA

TroubledMonkey on April 9, 2008 at 12:27 PM

Republicans upset about private financing of a campaign. Will wonders ever cease? Aren’t republicans against publically financed campaigns?

lorien1973 on April 9, 2008 at 12:27 PM

It’s not so much the principle of public financing as the fact he blatantly broke his promise to accept it.

amerpundit on April 9, 2008 at 12:28 PM

amerpundit on April 9, 2008 at 12:28 PM

If it’s a promise that republicans are ideologically opposed to, wouldn’t you want him to break it?

lorien1973 on April 9, 2008 at 12:31 PM

It doesn’t mean the RNC can’t spend as much dough as it wants, just as long as they don’t actively coordinate with the McCain campaign.

Obama is just another slippery lib who manages to weasel out of everything while his followers stare at the sun and ignore the lies. I hesitate to use the word “pig” but Obama seems to be lining himself up to be a world-class ahole.

Bishop on April 9, 2008 at 12:34 PM

If it’s a promise that republicans are ideologically opposed to, wouldn’t you want him to break it?

lorien1973 on April 9, 2008 at 12:31 PM

I’d want him not to support it. However, he already pledged to and is only changing his stance now because the bucks are flowing in faster than he can count. He hasn’t changed his position on public financing; He’s changed his position on public financing’s involvement in his wealthy campaign.

He’s a hypocrite.

amerpundit on April 9, 2008 at 12:35 PM

This criticism of Obama is going to ring true… With the three voters that hear about it.

tommylotto on April 9, 2008 at 12:36 PM

At least Senator Obama doesn’t take money from Big Oil Companies!

TooTall on April 9, 2008 at 12:39 PM

Tucker Bounds said today that only a “typical politician” would vow to accept public financing and then reneg

Priceless.

wepeople on April 9, 2008 at 12:41 PM

Milk it for all it’s worth. Because compared to the money, it ain’t worth much

I’m betting it is worth alot in a debate, and worth much more in swing states. Considering McCain plans to force the Dem nominee to spend money in states they have taken for granted, Obama will have to drain off the moolah to blunt McCain in states like Washington. And if McCain takes public funding who looks like the underdog, and who look slike the insider doing the special interests bidding? Obama’s stance on Columbia and being a union lap dog won’t go over well with the center. Iraq is a push but Obama drifting towards the middle if he is the nominee erodes a litle more of the “politcs of hope”. I would not simply dismiss the growing list of nuances that Obama is throwing around. Like Ed said all Obama has is the “politics of hope” without that what is he?

Theworldisnotenough on April 9, 2008 at 12:42 PM

He’s a hypocrite.

amerpundit on April 9, 2008 at 12:35 PM

You’re surprised? Of course he’s going to do the things that make it easiest for him to win, it’s a campaign.

I can’t blame him for using private financing. I wish McCain would.

But, what should really happen is that more people should donate to McCain instead of moaning about Obama. But of course that won’t happen. Too many people are in the McCain=Satan tank, that he’s doomed anyways.

lorien1973 on April 9, 2008 at 12:43 PM

Obama’s the same guy who promised voters in Illinois during his Senate race that he “definitely” would not be a candidate for President or V.P. in 2008. He said he wouldn’t have enough experience to be President after just a few years in the Senate. (Gee, ya think?)

Obama keeps his promises only for so long as they serve his own convenience.

Obama: Change we can believe in (until we can’t).

AZCoyote on April 9, 2008 at 12:44 PM

Considering McCain plans to force the Dem nominee to spend money in states they have taken for granted

With what money will he force this? McCain won’t have anything to spend. He’s going to have to rely on the RNC or special interests. And that’s gonna go over well.

lorien1973 on April 9, 2008 at 12:44 PM

TroubledMonkey on April 9, 2008 at 12:27 PM

True. He may not win Pennslyvania. The trade deal with Columbia actually helps America, Columbiua is dropping their tariffs against our products. Hello “politics of hope” shrink the tariff increase American exports to Columbia, duh.

Theworldisnotenough on April 9, 2008 at 12:44 PM

You’re surprised? Of course he’s going to do the things that make it easiest for him to win, it’s a campaign.

lorien1973 on April 9, 2008 at 12:43 PM

Which would be great, except he’s promised to do otherwise and he’s supposedly the bearer of “change” and “new politics”. Now, of course, I always believed it was bull, but this should be presented to independents and moderate Dems.

amerpundit on April 9, 2008 at 12:46 PM

Ed & Allah I strongly suggest you use the picture of Obama with the cigarette in his mouth. You are wearing this photo out.

wepeople on April 9, 2008 at 12:48 PM

McCain is much better at denouncing conservatives in any case. Whenever he “attacks” BHO or his dear friend Hillary, he sounds like grandpa spewing about the young hooligans stealing his gardening tools.

No wonder BHO is kicking his (and our) ass.

And look what his small amount of money buys – crappy boring geriatric ads straight out of the Dole ’96 trash heap.

Next time (if we are still a viable party) let’s nominate someone who attracts Republican core voters and their wallets. And who effectively communicates a straight-forward conservative message.

One question – why is a Republican candidate taking tax money to pay for his campaign, anyway? State-financed (with all messages approved) candidacies? It’s like this election is being held in Guatemala.

TexasJew on April 9, 2008 at 12:48 PM

The democrats need to start raising this type of money for the poor. How much food, clothing, and heating oil, could have been distibuted to the American’s most in need? Have the libs raised more money this year than the have given to charities over the last ten years? If the Obama’s charitible giving is any indication of the left, then I would have to say yes. I question their priorities.

chief on April 9, 2008 at 12:49 PM

Once again, I have to paraphrase Roger Daltry:

“Meet the new politics … same as the old politics.”

And while he may be better positioned than anyone else to bash Obama’s (unsurprising) hypocrisy, who here doubts that McCain himself wouldn’t opt out if he too was raising a gazillion $$ per minute?

thirteen28 on April 9, 2008 at 12:53 PM

Obama is an unaccomplished, unexceptional individual that has never made a single sacrafice for his country yet spends every Sunday clapping his hands and singing hallelujah while his pastor shouts out a chorus of “Blame America” and “Hate Whitey”.

This America-hating coward will never be president no matter how many 100s of millions he spends to try to fool the voters.

JayHaw Phrenzie on April 9, 2008 at 12:56 PM

You all have it wrong. This proves just how incredibly truthful Obama is.

For him to be able to tell these great, whopping lies and yet still be honest and pure is an overwhelming testimony to his honesty. Imagine just how much extra honesty and purity he must possess to lie like this and yet remain upright and truthful.

It’s like Larry Craig. He’s so straight that he can have sex with as many men as he wants and still not be gay.

You guys just don’t get it.

29Victor on April 9, 2008 at 12:56 PM

Obama’s clearly hypocritical. However, I don’t see how McCain can use it against Obama. He’ll just announce the number of contributions and say look at who my special interests are.

freevillage on April 9, 2008 at 12:57 PM

Tonight at a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., at the National Museum of Women in the Arts — at a $2,300-per-person event for 200 people held before a $1,000-per-person reception for 350 people — Obama previewed his argument to justify this possible future discarding of a principle.

Yesterday at the Petraeus hearing, Obama had to ask his question early so he could leave early.
It appears he left that hearing so he could make to to a $2,300/person fundraiser.

Why isn’t that a part of the public finance debate? The man wants to be CinC, and doesn’t have time to talk to the commander and ambassador on the ground in Iraq because he wants to talk to donors instead.

MayBee on April 9, 2008 at 12:59 PM

The problem with internet donations is that there is absolutely no way to verify who exactly is sending in the donations. It could be anybody putting in anybody else’s name and donating a personal fortune.

I believed that’s what Ron Paul’s ‘money bomb’ was, and that’s where I think the majority of Obama’s donations are from either. Sure there are hundreds of thousands of NAMES, but who’s to say that the names aren’t just a front for a major AND ILLEGAL fund raising operation?

This whole internet fund raising garbage and the 40 million garbage in a month smells a whole lot like campaign finance violation.

ThackerAgency on April 9, 2008 at 1:00 PM

The people who are covering for McCain, finding in his shallowness and sick vanity all of the leadership qualities of a Churchill, are grasping at the same straws that we Republicans had in ’96 when Dole was running against Clinton. I remember how Limbaugh was amazed at the neverneverland of so many of his listeners while that huge defeat was looming over them.

McCain will not grasp that his long-time pandering to the Left is the main reason that he is going broke. He will always blame someone else, especially conservatives.

I, of course, will vote for him, since BHO and Hillary are, frankly, traitorous hacks. But this is not the sort of situation that I want to support wholeheartedly.

I only hope that after the probable defeat in the White House and almost certain defeat in a filibuster-proof Senate
and massively realigned House, that there will be enough left to rebuild.

TexasJew on April 9, 2008 at 1:01 PM

Obama’s clearly hypocritical. However, I don’t see how McCain can use it against Obama. He’ll just announce the number of contributions and say look at who my special interests are.

freevillage on April 9, 2008 at 12:57 PM

Obama would exactly escape that fight clean. He’s taken donations from oil executives, rich fundraisers, and so-called Billionaire’s Row.

amerpundit on April 9, 2008 at 1:05 PM

would=wouldn’t

amerpundit on April 9, 2008 at 1:05 PM

candidate whose money comes from hundreds of thousands of average voters in small donations

Can we have an independent audit of these donations?

“trust but verify”

rockhauler on April 9, 2008 at 1:06 PM

Oops. Looks like he let the wrong side of the mouth do some talking. He really needs to be more careful. People might actually get to know what he stands for.

sheesh on April 9, 2008 at 1:10 PM

We have created a parallel public financing system where the American people decide if they want to support a campaign they can get on the Internet and finance it, and they will have as much access and influence over the course and direction of our campaign that has traditionally been reserved for the wealthy and the “powerful,” Obama said.

“Created a parallel public financing system with the Internet….”? So….previously people couldn’t send checks and have their voices heard? This guy doesn’t even lie well.

tgharris on April 9, 2008 at 1:16 PM

Obama is a liar.
Pure and simple.

http://www.armyaunt.johnmccain.com

ArmyAunt on April 9, 2008 at 1:18 PM

TexasJew on April 9, 2008 at 12:48 PM

I respectfully suggest a negative attitude will not prove very useful.

mikeyboss on April 9, 2008 at 1:23 PM

Only until the children have gotten sick from eating too much candy, will the American people finally realize what a mess they’ve made from their love of socialism. This election is lost, the people just are not sick enough yet. But they will be, they will be.

leftnomore on April 9, 2008 at 1:26 PM

“No wonder BHO is kicking his (and our) ass”.

I wouldn’t go that far just yet. BO is just screaming in to the libtard echo chamber. And while he’s ahead for the D nomination, he’s yet to dispatch Hillary.

The contrast is coming and it won’t be pretty for BO.

swami on April 9, 2008 at 1:30 PM

Liberals can’t even tell when their candidate is lying thru his teeth. Or they choose to ignore the lies. Not a soul will even notice a promise re-nigged.

Griz on April 9, 2008 at 1:33 PM

I guess that means I’ll have to increase my donations to McCain.
As for Obama . . . let them believe that dolt at their own risk. I’m sure Obama is looking forward to a lucrative surplus of donations. The plan is to buy the election then have a never ending party.

rplat on April 9, 2008 at 1:46 PM

For him to be able to tell these great, whopping lies and yet still be honest and pure is an overwhelming testimony to his honesty. Imagine just how much extra honesty and purity he must possess to lie like this and yet remain upright and truthful.

29Victor on April 9, 2008 at 12:56 PM

Well said. Believing in change, changing your beliefs, it’s all the same, if you have enough hopeful audacity.

Only a real uniter can successfully blend totally contradictory positions!

The real problem is cynicism.

Did I miss anything important?

CK MacLeod on April 9, 2008 at 1:52 PM

“typical politician”

It’s been clear for quite a while that that’s all Obama really is. In a way, it’s reassuring; I would hate to have somebody in the White House who really thinks the way Obama comes off as thinking in his rhetoric.

Wayne Clark on April 9, 2008 at 2:14 PM

typical politician liar

Hening on April 9, 2008 at 2:18 PM

I respectfully suggest a negative attitude will not prove very useful.

mikeyboss on April 9, 2008 at 1:23 PM

Sometimes a realistic attitude is not “useful”. However, I will accede to your point by saying that McCain is not going to take the fight to the Democrats himself He will lamely try the sure-fire losing techniques of Bob Dole by demanding a “civil debate”, like this was a debating club instead of a knock-down bloody battle for control of our nation’s destiny.

Strong ads against a fraud like BHO will cause McCain to get all self-righteous, like the other day when he said that BHO was “eminently qualified” to become President. What kind of mealy-mouthed crap is that? Well, it’s the sort of mealy-mouthed crap that the Dems will say “even McCain has said that Obama is eminently qualified”, when the Republicans say that he certaainyl isn’t, truthfully and effectively.

Look, I wasn’t stupid enough to vote fror McCain in the Primaries. It was obvious to me how truly gutless he will be in the face of the hideous attacks of the Left. Bob Dole was a war hero too, and fought a hands-off campaign, and he got steamrolled by an actual draft dodger.
The Republican conservative will have to go around McCain to get this won. We will have to go around his crappy unconstitutional McCain-Feingold, we will have to fight his McCain-Kennedy and that traitorous nation-dstroying McCain-Lieberman. But I will vote for him, since it not that POS I will be voting for, but who and what I will be voting against. And still, he will attack conservatives like us who are votiung for him, albeit reluctantly, with a hundred times more passion than he will ever attack the Left.
Who couldn’t hate that SOB while they are forced to vote for him?

There, wasn’t that useful?

TexasJew on April 9, 2008 at 2:20 PM

If the Obama fans can send in so much moolah, perhaps this purportedly sick, recessive economy is, in fact, really BOOMING. With all those millions being donated by the “little folks,” their available funds must be WAY better than anyone is saying. If the numbers are unbelievable, maybe there is a simpler reason than that all these poor folks just can’t wait to open their wallets. Call me suspicious….

What I want to know is, since I have at least five free email addresses, can I contribute $2,300 on each address? Can I contribute $2,300 times 100 if I have 100 email addresses? I’m a dim bulb in cyber ways, but if it can’t be checked, how is this not just a more innovative, secretive form of “bundling?” Just askin’.

marybel on April 9, 2008 at 2:34 PM

We can call him a liar and anything else we like. Sticks and stones, ya know? Bottom line: Obama is going to beat that old man senseless.

paul006 on April 9, 2008 at 3:58 PM

We can call him a liar and anything else we like. Sticks and stones, ya know? Bottom line: Obama is going to beat that old man senseless.

paul006 on April 9, 2008 at 3:58 PM

How dare you?
You have to have sense before you can be beaten senseless.

Obama is a third class lying scumbag, but there is enough stupidity floating around this nation to elect him.
And McCain is just enough of a fool to allow this to happen.

TexasJew on April 9, 2008 at 4:09 PM

It doesn’t mean the RNC can’t spend as much dough as it wants, just as long as they don’t actively coordinate with the McCain campaign.

They can only spend the dough they can raise. I think the McCain campaign and the RNC are both going to be thoroughly outclassed by the DNC and Obama this cycle.

Of course, I have said more than once I think Hillary will still beat Obama, and that hasn’t happened yet….

cs89 on April 9, 2008 at 5:02 PM

There, wasn’t that useful?

TexasJew on April 9, 2008 at 2:20 PM

I guess if you feel better it is.

mikeyboss on April 9, 2008 at 5:04 PM

It doesn’t mean the RNC can’t spend as much dough as it wants, just as long as they don’t actively coordinate with the McCain campaign.
They can only spend the dough they can raise. I think the McCain campaign and the RNC are both going to be thoroughly outclassed by the DNC and Obama this cycle.

Of course, I have said more than once I think Hillary will still beat Obama, and that hasn’t happened yet….

cs89 on April 9, 2008 at 5:02 PM

The RNC isn’t as bad off as you may think.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0308/9153.html

Who’s going to run the “Obama is a liar” ads while McCain takes the high road?

tgharris on April 9, 2008 at 5:50 PM

Too many people are in the McCain=Satan tank, that he’s doomed anyways.

lorien1973 on April 9, 2008 at 12:43 PM

Lorien, Actually, it’s McCain’s chickens coming home to roost. McCain made decisions…it’s called cause and effect. I believe he’ll win, but we’re doomed…just not as doomed if Obama wins. Visualizing Michelle in the WH, assures McCain of my vote.

luvstotango on April 10, 2008 at 2:26 AM