presidential race

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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?

How Many Carbon Offsets Does $28,000 Buy?

Holy bananas. Al Gore is hosting a big fundraiser tomorrow night in New York for the Democratic party and the price of admission is $28,000.

Lolly Gagging

More bad news for Sen. John McCain on the lobbyist front: ThinkProgress expands on the MSNBC report that former Sen. Phil Gramm, one of McCain's economic advisors, was lobbying for a bank during hearings on bills to address the mortgage crisis at the same time he was advising McCain on the very issue.

How High?

Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic asks who can claim the public financing high ground in the presidential race, quoting a chunk of an argument by election law scholar Rick Hasen on how "publicly financed" Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama would be in the general election, provided McCain ran using the partial public financing system, and Obama ran with private money that included a larger-than-usual base of small-dollar donors.

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.

Making This an Issue

The rhetoric's getting a little thick in here but I still feel the urge to click my campaign finance reformer heels together in glee that the issue of lobbyist influence is getting top billing as an issue in the presidential campaign. Sure, since the Beltway was paved candidates have been campaigning on their distance outside of it, but this discussion is getting at a real question: just who is shaping the message and campaign of our next President?

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:

Beating the Oil Drum

Derrick Jackson of the Boston Globe marvels at the irony of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama attacking oil and gas companies for skyrocketing prices while taking thousands in campaign contributions from these same companies. Campaign cash from the oil industry keeps presidential and congressional campaigns alike churning -- it's no wonder debate about their policies seems so conflicted.

Obama Clarifies

In an interview with Fox News Sunday, discussed here in The Hill, Sen. Barack Obama addressed the thorny issue of taking public financing for the general election if he is the Democratic presidential nominee. He attempted to clarify his position, saying he'd like to take public financing and keep the system alive, but was worried about independent expenditures.

Just the Same

The media narrative of "Sen. John McCain the maverick reformer" takes a bit of a beating in this New York Times story about one instance in particular when McCain used his influence to help a big campaign contributor -- more evidence that our corrupt and corrupting system needs an overhaul.