Boy, John Edwards has taken the public financing ball and run with it. In the Concord Monitor piece about a campaign stop Edwards made in New Hampshire he uses his time on the stump to underline his opposition to campaign donations from lobbyists, and his support for public financing of federal campaigns.
Since opting in to the presidential public financing system, Edwards has increasingly sought to distinguish himself as the candidate doing to most to eliminate the influence of special interest money on his campaign and each day grows more vocal in his support of public financing of campaigns:
In Keene, Edwards said he would ban lobbyist donations in federal races and called for an expansion in public campaign financing that would give greater weight to small contributions. He called for extending public financing to Congressional campaigns and reducing the maximum an individual can donate to a campaign from $2,300 to $1,000. Donations of less than $100 would be matched 8-to-1, while each $1,000 donation would be matched $800, thus making two $100 donations as valuable to a campaign as a single $1,000 donation.
The article goes on to cite another instance of Edwards bringing the discussion of prescription drugs around to the clout the pharmaceutical industry wields via campaign donations.
Martha Child, 64, of Hillsboro, who suffers from renal failure and diabetes, told Edwards that prescriptions for her and her husband cost $11,000 each year because some of her medicines aren't covered by Medicare. Edwards called it a "living, breathing example" of why lobbyists should not contribute to campaigns.
"That law was written by drug company lobbyists," he said. "And every time we tried to change it, the people who were pushing it on the . . . floor of the Senate would go outside with the lobbyists, check on a few things and come back."
With the majority of candidates in the Democratic field, and some on the Republican side making a point to discuss the role of money in elections and on policy -- and to endorse public financing, we may the see most intense and prominent debate yet on the subject during a presidential contest. That'd be exciting to see.