Obama Campaign Decides Not to Accept Public Financing

Jun 19, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Sen. Barack Obama is formally renouncing public financing for the fall campaign, a decision expected to dramatically kick up his ad spending this fall.
If he had accepted public funds, the Illinois senator’s campaign would have received $84 million, but been limited to spending that amount for all expenses from the Democratic National Convention in August through the election, with advertising only part of the total.
By forgoing the money, the Obama campaign instead can spend as much as it can raise, and the campaign has demonstrated vast fundraising prowess in the Democratic primaries. The Obama campaign now could spend $100 million or more on advertising alone.
The extra money could have significant impact, allowing the campaign to target more states with ads and do a national ad overlay to its state-by-state advertising. No presidential candidate in recent years has used national network TV advertising, though four years ago there was some use of national cable.
Mr. Obama, in a statement posted on the campaign’s web site, said the decision wasn’t an easy one, but said it was necessary in light of a “broken” campaign financing system.
“The public financing of presidential elections as it exists today is broken, and we face opponents who’ve become masters at gaming this broken system,” he said. “John McCain’s campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs. And we’ve already seen that he’s not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies running so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations.”
Sen. John McCain’s campaign, which has had more trouble raising money, is still expected to accept public financing, but get aided by messages from independent groups and from the Republican National Committee.
The Obama campaign today launched its first ads since capturing the Democratic nomination and chose to air them in 18 states, an indication that it regards the battleground states as expanded from the 12 of four years ago.
In a 60-second biographical ad, the Illinois Democrat calls America “the country I love” and cites being raised by a single mom and grandparents.
“We didn’t have much money, but they taught me values straight from the Kansas heartland where they grew up. Accountability and self-reliance. Love of country. Working hard without making excuses. Treating your neighbor as you’d like to be treated. … It’s what led me to pass up Wall Street jobs and go to Chicago instead, helping neighborhoods devastated when steel plants closed.”
(Editor: Jensen)
(Editor: Gilbert. Edited at 1:42 p.m. EST to add last three paragraphs.)

One Comment

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