The internets are apparently good for something…
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama announced Thursday that he would become the first presidential candidate to forgo public financing of his general election campaign since the system was established three decades ago.
In a video emailed to supporters, he said that “it’s not an easy decision, especially because I support a robust system for public financing of elections.”
The move was widely expected, following the Illinois senator’s record-shattering fundraising during the nominating contest, and his proven ability to raise unprecedented sums from big donors and small Internet donors alike.
Sen. Obama’s Republican opponent, John McCain, has been much less successful at raising money and the move sets up the likelihood of a big mismatch in money heading into the fall campaign. If Sen. McCain stays in the public financing system, as is expected, he would have about $80 million to spend between the Republican nominating convention in September and the Nov. 4 election. Sen. Obama is expected to be able to raise $200 million for that contest.
Sen. Obama said he felt compelled to make the move because “we face opponents who’ve become masters at gaming this broken system.”
“John McCain’s campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs,” he said. “And we’ve already seen that he’s not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies running so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations.”
McCain predictably is whining about Obama’s decision, because McCain’s fundraising has been so anemic in comparison to the Obama juggernaut. Don’t forget that McCain gamed the system in the primary, so any whining has to be put in context.