Obama skips public financing
By Angie Drobnic Holan
Published on Sunday, June 1st, 2008 at 11:50 a.m.
Though historic, the move does not come as a complete surprise. Obama raised unprecedented amounts of money during the primary campaign -- more than $250 million. It seems likely he could raise similar amounts for the general election. Compare that with the public financing system, which awards candidates just under $85 million.
Obama has touted his base of small donors as a better way, free of special interests, to fund a political campaign. In April 2008, he claimed his small donors constituted "a parallel public financing system," a claim we rated only Half-True . The public financing system encourages small donors, but it also includes spending limits from which Obama will now be exempt.
In making his announcement on June 19, 2008, Obama said he supported the concept of public financing. "But 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," Obama said.
John McCain's campaign hit back, issuing a statement that said, "The true test of a candidate for President is whether he will stand on principle and keep his word to the American people. Barack Obama has failed that test today, and his reversal of his promise to participate in the public finance system undermines his call for a new type of politics."
We looked at McCain's previous claim that Obama had promised to use public financing and found it to be Mostly True . An Obama spokesman said in March 2007 that Obama would "aggressively pursue" an agreement with the Republican candidate for both candidates to use public financing.
Obama's campaign made those statements before they realized Obama could use the Internet to raise gobs of cash. At least this year, that seems to be the game-changer when it comes to public financing.
Sources:See individual items for sources.
Researchers: Angie Drobnic Holan
We want to hear your suggestions and comments.
For tips or comments on our Obameter and our GOP-Pledge-O-Meter promise databases, please e-mail the Obameter. If you are commenting on a specific promise, please include the wording of the promise.For comments about our Truth-O-Meter or Flip-O-Meter items, please e-mail the Truth-O-Meter. We’re especially interested in seeing any chain e-mails you receive that you would like us to check out. If you send us a comment, we'll assume you don't mind us publishing it unless you tell us otherwise.
Keep up to date with Politifact :
- Sign up for our e-mail (about once a week)
- Put a free PolitiFact widget on your blog or Web page
- Subscribe to our RSS feeds on Truth-O-Meter items
- Subscribe to our RSS feeds on GOP Pledge-O-Meter items
- Subscribe to our RSS feeds on Obameter items
- Advertise on PolitiFact
- Shop the PolitiFact store for T-shirts, hats and other PolitiFact swag