Skip to comments.Spending vow snags Obama (waffling on his early proposal of a public-financing pact)
Posted on 02/28/2008 5:43:51 AM PST by Libloather
Spending vow snags Obama
He's waffling on his early proposal of a public-financing pact with the GOP nominee
David D. Kirkpatrick and Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times
Published: Feb 28, 2008 12:30 AM
Obama won't decide on financing until primary is settled.
Just 12 months ago, Sen. Barack Obama presented himself as an idealistic upstart taking on the Democratic fundraising juggernaut behind Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
That was when Obama proposed a novel challenge aimed at limiting the corrupting influence of money on the race: If he won the nomination, he would limit himself to spending only the $85 million available in public financing between the conventions and Election Day as long as his Republican opponent did the same.
Now his challenge to his rivals has boomeranged into a test of Obama's own ability to balance principle and politics in a very different context. After taking in $100 million in donations, Obama is the one setting fundraising records, presenting a powerful temptation to find a way out of his own proposal so that he might outspend his Republican opponent. And the all-but-certain Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, is short on cash and eager to take up the fundraising truce.
Obama was notably noncommittal about his previous proposal in Tuesday's Democratic debate, indicating that he would add new conditions, especially on spending by independent groups, to his previous pledges to accept the deal. If nominated, "I will sit down with John McCain and make sure that we have a system that is fair to both sides," Obama said.
Obama suggested that because his campaign was raising its money overwhelmingly from small donors, it was already meeting the spirit of campaign finance reform and its goal of eliminating the influence of corporate and special interest donations on politics.
Campaign finance experts said Obama's public equivocations over the fundraising truce reflected an early test of his commitment and a first glimpse of what might come in a general election fight between two outspoken champions of public integrity -- Obama and McCain.
Some Democrats and Obama supporters, for example, have sought to strike back at McCain by accusing him of exploiting the public financing system. They argue that McCain may have violated technicalities of the election laws by using his eligibility for public matching funds as a back-up collateral for a loan but then opting out of the matching funds at the last minute to avoid the spending restrictions they impose.
For Obama, an unwillingness to commit to accept public financing creates the prospect of a conflicting message that rests at the heart of his reform-driven campaign and has drawn criticism from McCain.
"The fact is, Senator Obama signed a piece of paper and pledged to take public financing for his campaign if I did the same," McCain said Wednesday. "I believe that Senator Obama should keep his commitment also, which means taking public financing."
With public financing for the general election phase of the campaign amounting to nearly $10 million a week, it is puzzling to some why Obama is hedging on whether he will opt in.
"You ought to be able to run a campaign for two months on $85 million," said Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen, which lobbies for stricter campaign finance laws and an expanded public financing system.
David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager, said the campaign would not decide the matter until the Democratic primary is settled.
Obama is quite the hustler.
It isn’t “broken promises!” It’s just CHANGE. BHO has changed his mind.
Yeah, like the stupid, uninformed American electorate gives a rat’s rear about this.
Obamamania is sweeping the country. Don’t interject substance into this love affair with America’s Black JFK.
In light of the above quote, I would suggest that when referring to Barak Hussein Obama by his initials you use only the BO.
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