Breaking: Obama passes on public financing Update: AOL Hot Seat poll added
posted at 10:41 am on June 19, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
Barack Obama passed on public financing for the general election, breaking a pledge he made last year to accept federal money and spending restrictions if the Republican candidate also agreed to it. John McCain offered to stay within the system, but in an e-mailed video message today to his supporters, Obama announced that he would renege on his offer. The reasons that Obama offers are laughable in the extreme, and self-contradictory in several points:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Thursday he’ll bypass the federal public financing system in the general election, abandoning an earlier commitment to take the money if his Republican rival did as well.
Obama, who set records raising money in the primary election, will forgo more than $84 million that would have been available to him in the general election. He would be the first candidate to do so since Congress passed 1970s post-Watergate campaign finance laws. Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee in waiting, has taken steps to accept the public funds in the general election.
Obama officials said they decided to take that route because McCain is already spending privately raised funds toward the general election campaign. Obama has vastly outraised McCain, however, and would likely retain that advantage if McCain accepts the public money.
One of the reasons Obama offers is that the McCain campaign and the RNC take lobbyist money. So does the DNC and many of its subsidiaries. Obama has lobbyists among his major bundlers. It’s an absurdly flimsy excuse.
So too was the other major reason Obama cites in his video. He claims that the Republicans have mastered the art of the 527, which has nothing to do with public financing. Democrats have their own 527s, and in 2004 used them much more effectively than the GOP, thanks to George Soros and other big-ticket Democratic donors. This excuse doesn’t even pass the smell test.
Obama then stares sanctimoniously at a point just above and to the right of the camera while declaring his undying support for public financing, which he proves by abandoning it. He then declares the presidential system to be “broken”, but never explains why he hasn’t lifted a finger to fix it during his three years in the Senate. Furthermore, the system hasn’t changed since Obama gave this answer to Chris Wallace in April of this year:
The calculus is simple: Obama feels he can raise more money outside the system than he can get inside of it. He wants to blame McCain, the rain, the park, and other things, but it’s the money and nothing more. It’s a dishonest attempt to explain away Obama’s dishonesty.