Barack Obama

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Shape Up

I get the sense that somebody had fun writing this New York Times editorial chiding presidential candidates John McCain, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton -- along with the extravagantly expensive campaign process -- for not doing more to preserve the presidential public financing system and get a tighter reign on out of control raising and spending.

It's pretty clear where they stand on the first presidential race expected to cost in excess of $1 billion:

Take The Opportunity

Oh, how the tables turn. Yesterday Sen. John McCain was laying into Sen. Barack Obama for wobbling on the presidential public financing system and today he's fending off accusations of giving improper access and influence to a lobbyist whose clients had business before a Senate committee that McCain chaired.

What Are We After?

USA Today weighs in on the Obama/McCain spat over public financing in the general election and rightly identifies the need to not only rehab the presidential public funding system but create one for congressional campaigns as well.

The Accusations Fly

Fingers pointing everywhere and not a dollar spent! The debate over whether John McCain and Barack Obama would opt in to the presidential public financing system for the general election rages on. Did Obama just break his pledge? Did McCain break the rules? Keep reading for a roundup of interesting perspectives.

Opt In, Opt Out

Will 2008 be the first presidential election since 1976 when neither major party presidential candidate opts into the partial public financing system? Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama have both said they would opt in if their opponent does the same, but with at least the Democratic nomination still up in the air the two are playing chicken over who will announce their intention to opt in (or out) first.

Headed for the Small Time

One of the interesting peripheral stories on the presidential campaign has been the innovative online donation strategies of candidates like Sen. Barack Obama and Rep. Ron Paul to recruit small donors to their effort. This Los Angeles Times story talks about what that shift in strategy has yielded for Obama, and what it means for a move away from traditional big donors politics.

Ad Hits Lobbyist Influence

Barack Obama has just rolled out an ad called "Take It Back" wherein he slams lobbyist influence in Washington and vows change if elected president. The Washington Post profiled the ad this morning, you can watch it here. What do you think? It's good to see the issue of influence addressed by candidates, though I hope the focus goes to the influence of campaign contributions etc. rather than a simplified lobbyists=bad argument.

Knowing Who's In Your Tent

An Illinois pension scandal that touched Barack Obama via a political supporter of his may also touch Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign as this AP story reveals. The article quotes Public Campaign's David Donnelly on the liability candidates face by having to recruit big donors who may have backgrounds that can cast aspersion on the campaign.


Going Halfway

The Politico raises an eyebrow at presidential candidates Barack Obama and John Edwards' claims to not take contributions from federal lobbyists, asking how far this prohibition extends -- just to lobbyists? To employees of lobbying firms? The whole article really illustrates the futility of hairsplitting when it comes to talking about money's influence on elections: either we get big money out or we don't. Anything else feels equivocal.

Unwrap the Bundle

Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama (D-IL) pens this editorial for the Chicago Tribune urging the House to join with the Senate in requiring disclosure of bundlers -- those who corral large contributions on behalf of a particular candidate -- to promote transparency and ensure accountability.