After Barack Obama sent this video, David Plouffe (campaign manager) sent a follow up email explaining the campaign's decision to forgo public financing.
They declare in no uncertain terms: "We will not participate in the public financing system for the general election." This is an incredibly serious decision and I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard it. This is huge. As reported on NPR's Morning Edition, this decision effectively means he turned down nearly $85 million dollars. Plouffe explains the gravity, but also the motivation: "Even though we stood to receive more than $80 million in taxpayer funding for our campaign, the system has been so gamed and exploited by our opponents that it is effectively broken."
Short of taking on the broken electoral system itself (not quite the time or place for that), Obama is taking a stand on the corrupt public funding system. It's so brave and so gusty. As the AP explains it, "No candidate has ignored the general election funds since the law setting up the presidential finance system was approved in 1976."
Plouffe continues, "John McCain, the Republican National Committee, and their allies in so-called 527 groups that raise and spend unlimited contributions, are dedicated to manipulating this broken system to raise as much money as possible -- and they've proven that they're very good at it. [...] In April alone, they raised nearly $45 million. That's more than our campaign and the Democratic National Committee combined. And that doesn't include the plans of 527 groups like the one called "Freedom's Watch," which has said it will spend as much as $250 million under Karl Rove's direction to attack and defeat Barack Obama."
$250 million dollars under Karl Rove's control to attack Obama...and that's only a fraction of the money?! Bleak? Unrealistically difficult to overcome? Daunting odds? Down right terrifying?
No. No. No and no. In Barack's own words, "In the unlikely experiment that is America, there has never been anything false about hope." With the power of this belief behind him, and his ultimate faith in democracy and the voice of the people, nothing is impossible. He's more than a candidate. He is a movement.
"To compete, Barack has put his faith in ordinary people giving only what they can afford. That's been the strategy of this campaign from the beginning, and more than 1,500,000 supporters like you have gotten us this far. We have a historic opportunity to prove that a movement of ordinary people has the power to change the way political campaigns are funded."
Take two minutes and watch Barack himself explain the decision. Supporter or not, you'll be glad you did. If you're not moved by the power of his conviction...check your pulse.
Also, hitting the television waves today is his first post-primary commercial, "The Country I Love." Check it out.This post is dedicated to Erin, who I know is as excited as I am about this bold move. 1-20-09!