Friday, 20 June 2008

Obama Opts Out of Public Financing

Yesterday, Barack announced that he would not accept public financing for the general election. He made the announcement in the form of this video to his supporters:

As he discusses in this video, Barack is concerned that with the Republicans benefiting from potentially unrestrained 527 expenditure at the same time he himself as made efforts to reign in third party expenditure on the election.

The way in which Barack proposes to fund this election is through millions of small dollar donations from millions of Americans, who give directly to the campaign or to the DNC, both of which will be directly accountable to him. There will be no room for shady smear artists distantly connected to the campaign to cast aspersions on John McCain's character. There will be no donations ever taken from any lobbyists or PACs. And no lobbyist will work for his campaign.

I have an additional longstanding interest in this that makes me very glad that Barack has taken this decision (which must have been difficult for him given his longstanding support for the principle of public financing). In this Presidential campaign, Barack Obama plans to compete in every single state in the Union. He will staff Texas and Tennessee, Nebraska and Alaska, Ohio and Oregon.

I'm not aware of any Presidential election in my lifetime that has reached out to every single United States citizen - including those of us who live abroad. Normally you expect to be left out of the political sphere entirely unless you live in one of several poll driven "swing states".

This year we are ALL swing voters and Barack will speak to all of us about the kind of country he wants to lead and the kind of America we want to be. That kind of campaign takes a ridiculous, huge amount of money to run. But I personally can't see it as anything but a very good thing for Democracy.

Want to be a part of it? Give now. How about 51 bucks - one dollar for each state plus a "sweetener" for Americans Abroad?

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