Under ever-growing scrutiny from the media and voters, last week Senator Barack Obama made a decision that would start a new flurry or arguments and debates: he chose to reject public financing for the general election.
Public financing would mean using public money to fund his campaign from now until November. With public financing comes free money that he won't have to work to raise, and he can spend the time he would spend fundraising out doing other things to further his campaign — but with the roughly $85 million in public funds there are a heap of strings attached. Candidates can only spend the public funds given to them, and cannot accept any additional private funds from individuals.
Because he has rejected public funding, Obama can now spend as much as he likes on his campaign — an advantage for the candidate who managed to raise over $260 million in the primary election alone. From his campaign's standpoint, it makes sense — why limit themselves to $85 million in public funds when they could raise and subsequently spend so much more just from their own fundraising efforts?
Obama told supporters in an email that the public campaign financing system "special interests [to] drown out the voices of the American people" and asked his supporters to "declare our independence from a broken system."
Obama will be the first candidate to ever drop out of the public campaign financing system since it was created in 1976. It may be a smart move for his campaign, but nothing in politics ever goes uncriticized. In February, Obama had mentioned while speaking to a crowd that if he became the Democratic nominee for president, he would be committed to preserving a publicly financed election. Now, his opponent McCain and other critics are accusing him of flip-flopping on the issue when it is to his advantage, rather than sticking to what he had said before. McCain has maintained that accepting public funds and committing to a publicly funded election is what's best for the country. It's a conversation that isn't going to be fading from the public eye any time soon….read more about it here!