Obama talking points memo: Why Obama dropped pledge to "aggresively" seek public finance deal with McCain.

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WASHINGTON----I've obtained a copy of the talking points memo the Obama campaign team is distributing to supporters to explain why presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) did not honor his pledge to to meet with Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) to see if they could make a deal for both of them to use public money to bankroll their general election campaigns.

Most of the hand-wringing 886-word memo--blaming McCain--could be replaced with one simple, more candid talking point: Obama decided to change his mind.

Click below for the memo

From the Obama campaign....

Talking Points on Public Financing
Accepting public financing simply is not viable—McCain is already running a privately financed general election campaign

* It just isn’t viable for Barack Obama to take public financing, as John McCain has been running a privately financed general election campaign since February. In fact, by the time McCain accepts his party’s nomination, he will have run a privately funded general election campaign for seven months.
* McCain has been running ads in states where the primaries were held long ago—spending at levels exceeding $1 million a week.

* And McCain has made it clear that for the duration of this race the RNC will be a constant source of special interest and large-donation financing for his general election effort. At the same time, he’ made it clear that he’s not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies running so-called 527 groups with millions and millions of dollars in soft money.

* But while John McCain has been free to raise and spend money virtually unopposed for five months, Barack Obama has been engaged in a contested primary until early this month.

* Under these circumstances it’s absurd for McCain to argue the virtues of a "publicly funded" general election campaign; he seems to mean a general election campaign funded on terms favorable to him, determined as he pleases. Make no mistake: his campaign will be operating on "public funding" only during the final two months—after his campaign and the RNC have raised and spent millions in private funds.
John McCain has been gaming the public financing system and has no credibility left on this issue

* John McCain entered into the matching fund system for the primaries, used his government funding certificate as collateral for a loan to his campaign—and he then unilaterally withdrew from the system to avoid the spending limits that the public funding system imposes.
* McCain abandoned his commitment despite a written warning from the Chairman of the FEC, who advised him that he could not, by law, just up and leave the system after extracting a benefit and meeting none of his legal obligations.
* Why did McCain disregard the spending limits? Simply because he wanted the benefit of unlimited financing, using unrestricted "primary" money for a de facto general election campaign. In fact, the day he announced he was unilaterally pulling out of the system was
the day after Super Tuesday—the day he became the presumptive nominee and began his general election effort.
Obama has achieved the system’s goals by bringing record-breaking numbers of small donors into the process
* Obama’s decision not to participate in the public financing system wasn’t an easy one—especially because he supports a robust system of public financing of elections. But Obama is asking his supporters to build the first general election campaign that’s truly funded by the American people—not the big donors and the special interests. That was always the intention of the public financing system, and it’s a goal we fully embrace.
* Obama supporters have built an unprecedented movement for change, with more than 1.5 millions Americans giving. And they’ve done it without taking a dime from the Washington lobbyists and special interests PACs. They’ve already changed the way campaigns are funded, because they know that’s the only way we can truly change how Washington works. And that’s the path we will continue in this general election.
Obama wants to fix a system that is no longer effective—John McCain apparently doesn’t
* Barack Obama understands that the public financing system is broken, and he’s co-sponsored legislation to fix the problem: but McCain has not signed onto the bill. The bill, introduced with Senator Feingold, would improve the system by increasing funding for the both the primary and general elections and building into the system flexibility that it does not now have. That would go a long way to making the system viable.
* For all of his talk about campaign finance reform, McCain is unwilling to support measures to fix the problem. In fact, Common Cause says McCain "has distanced himself" from the idea of publicly funded campaigns now that he’s the Republican nominee.
* We all know that that the system needs to be fixed—but we need a leader who will do more than talk about solutions. Barack Obama is committed to real reform. As president, he’ll finally fix the system and make sure that presidential campaigns are in the hands of the American people, not the big donors and special interests—something he’s already accomplished in this race.

QUESTION AND ANSWER
Q: Obama said he would aggressively pursue a campaign finance agreement with his opponent. Did he do so? Why did those efforts fail?
A: Counsel from the two campaigns did meet, but it was immediately clear that an agreement wouldn’t be workable. The idea of an agreement on public financing was to limit the influence of special interests and big donors on the campaign—but after the
McCain campaign decided to manipulate the system, and given that they had already been spending private money on their general election campaign for months, it was readily apparent that an agreement would only serve to give McCain, the RNC, and Republican 527s a leg up.

11 Comments

Face it, on consistency it's even steven between Mr. Flip Flop and Mr. Flop Flip. The Dems hate Obama flipping while the GOP hate McCain flopping. Both being thinking men bannering "change", I would say they both have a right to change their mind according to the changing conditions on the ground and in each other. So do the voters, eh? In a world that is rapidly going bananas we definitely need a president that thinks and adapts, hopefully for the good of most of us. One evolves or one perishes. So may the best man win!

I am glad that you asked a difficult question of Senator Obama's campaign. It is unfortunate that you were not able to follow-up with additional questions.

The media needs to inquire of his positions because we need to know exactly were he stands before we vote in November.

Sounds good to me. The pledge to pursue an agreement with McCain is not the same as a pledge to accept public finance.Obama made a pledge to persue an agreement.When the two camps met, an effort was put forth to find an agreement to work WITHIN the public finance system. McCain could not pledge to refuse 527 and PAC money, (sources OUTSIDE of the public finance system.) Obama was then free to continue his campaign free of the limitations an agreement would have put in place.

Thanks Lynn for some sanity about this 'non-issue' of 'flip-flopping' I mean really!
What's he supposed to do--agree to LOSE because McCain is hard-wired to all that Republican SMEAR MONEY?

Look, Obama has flip flopped on a lot of things, and probably will continue, but this Campaign Finance thing *IS* a joke. Unless both McCain and Obama condemn 527's equally and with great vehemence, then the Swift Boat people are going to keep it up...

Wah! Obama is playing to win! Wah!

And he was right to change his mind. Obama agreed, fair enough, to pursue an agreement regarding public election financing. When it was apparent that McCain wasn't going to exclusively use those funds and continue to raise funds using Special Interest PAC's and "527"'s, why should then have Obama have shot himself in the foot and used the public system? The McCain camp and related Republicans will always find a new way to spin the "enemy's" story, but the fact is they're acting like sore losers, while once again Obama takes another step on the High Road, which is indeed one less traveled.

Obama - the completely innocent "VICTIM" again - oh no!

The fact is, Obama, his bundlers, and George Soros don't need public money, just as he didn't need anyone except Tony Rezko when he bought a home... just as he only needed Bill Ayers to help him launch his political career. When you're connected in Chicago and with big wigs like Soros, radicals like Pink Code - you don't need public money. You can make more $$ with your connections.

With this faith based initiative - he should get Jeremiah Wright to help him- after all he was a spiritual adviser for 20 years...

Poor Obama, the secular messiah - when will people stop picking on him for changing his mind???????? With his new "centrist" position, he looks more like Bush than McCain.

--Don't play the white-guilt card on me - I'm not white.

STOP TRYING TO PUT THE MAN IN A BOX, HE HAS THE RIGHT TO CHANGE
POSITIONS, IF HE FEELS WHAT HE DOES IS CORRECT!
IF MCCAIN WAS GOOD AT FUNDRAISING THIS WOULDN'T BE AN ISSUE, BUT
HE ISN'T, OBAMA IS GREAT AT FUNDRAISING, AND YOU KNOW IT!
MCCAIN HAS NO AGENDA, OBAMA DOES, OBAMA IS MORE ORGANIZED, ASK
YOURSELF THIS QUESTION, IF MCCAIN'S WIFE WASN'T RICH, WOULD HE
EVEN BE IN THE RACE FOR PRESIDENT, HE HAS A SECURITY BLANKET, OBAMA JUST DEFEATED A PERSON WHO WAS ABLE TO LOAN MONEY TO HER
CAMPAIGN, AND NOW HE'S UP AGAINST A PERSON WITH A RICH WIFE, AND
SOME PEOPLE WANT OBAMA TO GIVE MONEY BACK, GIVE ME A BREAK!
AMERICA WAKE-UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE, OBAMA IS THE NEXT PRESIDENT!

A promise is a promise. Excuses don't cut it. Obama didn't honor his promise. He broke trust with the people who relied on his promise. Makes me wonder: which of his promises can we really rely on?

Oh Jane your solution is plain;
Why not admit that you're voting McCain?
As the stock market whithers
While RepubliCAN'Ts dither
Little wonder some call him McSame.

For the Bushies it couldn't be 'clearer'
Their smear tactics are 'Smear him! and Smear her!'
While their poll numbers sag
Citizens fear the 'false flag'
will send Bushisms flying yet nearer.

"Nuke-you-ler" options the regime does embrace
Even though these things fly in the face
of the people with reason
This is called 'silly season?'
So Plain Jane wipe that smirk off your face.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 6, 2008 11:45 PM.

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