FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Barack Obama has become the first major-party candidate to opt out of public financing since Watergate.
It's no big surprise. When it comes to fund-raising, Obama is a virtual ATM machine. Candidates who take public financing get about $85 million to spend in the 2 months before the general election. But, if Obama can tap into the 1.5 million donors who contributed to him during the primaries along with Hillary Clinton's donors, some predict he could raise as much as $500 million – which would put him at a tremendous advantage over John McCain, who says he'll take public financing.
Experts say Obama could use this money to run a national ad campaign similar to marketing drives run by companies like McDonald's and Nike. He'll also be able to compete in Republican states, where the GOP rarely gets competition.
The downside for Obama is he's opened himself up to charges of hypocrisy. Last year he vowed to work with the Republican nominee to "preserve a publicly financed general election." And he's now drawing fire from both friends and foes for this change of heart.
McCain lashed out at Obama, saying he's gone back on his word. Although campaign finance isn't a top issue for voters, the McCain camp is pouncing on this as an issue of trust as well as evidence that Obama doesn't really represent a new kind of politics.
Watchdog groups are also disappointed with Obama's decision, and Senator Russ Feingold, who has co-sponsored legislation with Obama to change the public finance system – is calling his decision "a mistake."
Here’s my question to you: How much does it matter that Barack Obama is opting out of public campaign financing?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
It matters, but this is a battlefield tactic. He would be letting down, in a way, all his supporters who have contributed so far by giving up every advantage he has. And let's be honest here: if McCain was in his position, can anyone seriously say he wouldn't be doing the same thing?
Jenn from Cape Cod, Massachusetts writes:
He made a promise to the American people and now he's breaking it. Hmmmm, doesn’t sound like "change" you can believe in. Sounds like politics as usual.
Gretchen from Bucks County, Pa. writes:
Jack, Obama is funded by donations of all amounts coming from people of all backgrounds, races, genders, etc. His is a campaign truly funded by 'the people'. What about that is not a good thing? Sometimes, circumstances change. Obama has looked at all the circumstances and has found that 'change' comes in many forms – this is one of them. I would have been disappointed if he had done otherwise.
I was withholding judgment about Obama because I knew so little about him. Now I know his "word" is worthless. Money trumps honor. Have a nice life back in Chicago.
What do you think John McCain would do if he had the realistic potential to raise $500 million? I'm SURE he'd forgo the money take the high road, like he did on tax cuts, offshore drilling, etc. I for one am grateful that FINALLY a Democratic candidate had a healthy dose of realism. He needs every penny to fight the Republican Party and their total lack of any moral compass. I'm looking forward to the Swift Boaters getting Swift Boated!
Hey Jack, As far as I'm concerned, he is using public funds. The Republicans are just upset because he's doing it very successfully.
Larry from Santa Barbara, California writes:
Money talks, public campaign financing walks.