Reaction to Obama's rejection of public financing

06/20/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Barack Obama was attacked in many of the nation’s newspapers today for his apparent flip-flop on the issue of receiving public funding for his general election campaign.

Yesterday Obama announced that he will become the first presidential nominee not to accept public financing for the general election – which is expected to cost around $84 million beginning the day he receives the nomination, Aug. 28.

As the Obama campaign today hit back at John McCain for his alleged flip-flopping, Campaign spokesman Robert Gibbs was asked how Obama could justify making such accusations when he has reversed himself on public financing.

Gibbs said that Obama would have entered into public financing if McCain’s campaign would agree to tighten loopholes the financing of general elections in a presidential campaign. Gibbs said 91 percent of those contributing to Obama’s campaign have donated $100 or less, and thus was a more organic form of campaign finance reform.

MoveOn.Org announced today that it has permanently shut down its 527 operation, partly in response to Barack Obama’s insistence that such groups should not spend on his behalf during the general election.

The website Talking Points Memo reported today that the decision does not mean MoveOn will stop spending on Obama's behalf. Instead, it will raise money exclusively with its political action committee, whose average donation is below $50.

Spokesman Ilyse Hogue says that the move is an affirmation that, like Senator Obama, MoveOn believes the election can be won by ordinary Americans giving small donations.

Vic DiMaio, a Democratic Party political consultant, says whatever damage that may come to Barack Obama’s reputation will be forgotten by most voters by next week.

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