Barack Obama

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Down, but not out

The news of Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) $150 million haul in September with an average donation under $100 combined with Obama's decision to opt out of the partial presidential public financing system gave political prognosticators and pundits the opportunity to declare the death of public financing. They signed the certificate and called the morgue.


Breaking Up Bundles

The New York Times addresses Mssrs. McCain and Obama on the subject of bundling advising both should pledge to make it a priority to rein in the practice should be elected President. The Times goes a step further and says that while addressing bundling is important, full public financing of campaigns should be the ultimate goal.

How Much for Dessert?

Heralded as he is for drawing a huge number of small donors to his presidential campaign, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is still collecting plenty of $1,000+ plus checks, as this story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune explains. Obama was in the Minneapolis area for a big fundraising event, at which attendees ponied up $1,000 for dinner and $5,000 for a picture with the candidate.

Making a List, Checking it Twice

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) values his reputation as a reformer and Sen. Barack Obama (D) has boasted about the transparency of his campaign but the New York Times is a little disappointed in both of their efforts on the donor/bundler disclosure front. After a nudge from the paper the Obama campaign updated its publicly available list of bundlers but should they need hounding from the press?

Oh, We're Dead. You Hadn't Heard?

I had no more than a passing relationship with science classes in college but I stuck around long enough to absorb the following: "the plural of anecdote is not data." I don't want to come down too hard on Jim Mills at The Hill, but I think he'd do well to refer to this little aphorism before he picks up his hammer again to drive a stake into the heart of campaign finance reform.

Obama Opts Out

Senator Barack Obama (D) has decided to opt out of the partial public financing system for the general presidential election, the first candidate to do so since the system was adopted. He is expected to have a fundraising advantage over Republican rival John McCain. In response to Obama's decision, Public Campaign Action Fund has released this statement.

Identifying the Threat

Breaking news: not all lobbyists are evil people. In related news, "lobbying" signifies so many different types of activities undertaken in pursuit of so many goals that to vilify or exonerate the whole profession is a useless enterprise. Instead, let's get after the real danger here: big campaign contributions from lobbyists (and their clients) that come in around about the same time key legislation is being debated and voted on. Lobbying isn't wrong, legalized bribery is.

Revenue for the Reformer

As Senators Barack Obama and John McCain head out on the fundraising trail as their parties presumptive nominees for President, the Washington Post wonders how the two, who have each exerted considerable effort to frame themselves as reformers out to change the way campaigns are financed, go about navigating the big money game in their race for the White House.

One way to shore up the change-agent image would be to endorse full public financing of elections for all federal campaigns -- something Obama has done, but McCain has not. What else are they doing?

Before It's Too Late

Sen. John McCain has been on the receiving end of most of the finger-wagging on the campaign finance front in recent days but the New York Times takes a moment to admonish Sen. Barack Obama as well for what they feel is a diminished commitment to the presidential public financing program, which the Times supports and wants to see strengthened for the coming years.

Obama Mulls Contribution Limits

Is Barack Obama considering self-imposed contributions limits during the general election if he is the Democratic presidential nominee? Sam Stein at the Huffington Post writes that Obama mentioned the idea at a fundraiser, perhaps in response to the flack he's gotten over possibly not using the presidential public financing system.

Obama's made combating the influence of money in politics a big message throughout his campaign and he continues to do so: