In one of the funniest quotes of the day, John McCain said:
“Sen. Obama’s reversal on public financing is one of a number of reversals … that he has taken,”
Is he for real? McReversal has changed his position on so many different issues, including public financing. A day doesn’t seem to go by where McCain doesn’t change his position on a key issue.
The problem here is that John McCain used the option of public financing to obtain campaign loans earlier in the primary season when his campaign was struggling. Public financing, paid for by taxpayers, apparently aided McCain in getting on the ballot in some states where costs can be quite prohibitive. After his campaign picked up, he started getting more contributions which made the need for public financing unnecessary. The question now is once you are using public campaign financing for an election, can you withdraw? This is a matter for the FEC to decide. Obviously, the McCain campaign believes that you can while the Obama campaign and DNC chairman Howard Dean vehemently disagree.
Barack Obama is a fundraising machine. Thanks to his innovative grass-roots movement, he has been able to receive contributions from an amazing number of Americans – about 1.5 million people contributed an average of under $100. As the General Election grows closer that number is sure to increase immeasurably.
If Obama were to go with public financing for this election, he would significantly reduce the amount of money his campaign could receive, and McCain knows this and was counting on this. The rules state that candidates using public financing cannot raise or spend money contributed directly by individuals. This would essentially end the grassroots on-line movement that has allowed Obama to bring in amazing dollars. McCain, on the other hand, with public financing, would still be able to raise money from lobbyists and political action committees (PACs).
The candidate Obama significantly out-fundraises the candidate McCain. In April, Obama raised over $30 million to McCain’s $18 million. On the flip side, the GOP out-raises the DNC and even more importantly the pro-Republican 527 Groups have a much larger cash flow than the pro-Democratic Party 527’s. In order for Obama to combat this, he MUST stay out of public financing for this election.
Public financing would be great if party-raised contributions would not be included in the candidates’ campaigns, all campaign ads were free, candidates received equal time in the media, and 527 Groups were completely abolished.
And Mr. McCain knows these facts. Obama filled out a questionnaire a while ago when they asked if he would use public financing if he were the nominee, to which he replied ‘yes’. It was not a pledge or a campaign promise. McCain and the other candidates refused to even fill out this questionnaire.
Here is Barack Obama’s statement on his decision to forego public financing.