John McCain is in violation of the FEC's public financing laws because he has signed up for it, has received money from it, procured a loan to help his primary and then went over the limit. Read here for more details. Crowley could have told you that McCain wouldn't have had the money to produce ads in New Hampshire to win that primary without the loan. We might be talking about the Mitt Romney nomination right now. And we need to look at the bank loan more closely. The DNC has filed a complaint about it to the FEC. Plus, Jane and the blogoshere have filed a complaint against McCain's campaign as well with over 32,000 signatures being delivered already. Wouldn't you think that we be part of her story? Nope. Instead she does a hit job on Obama who made no such commitment.
She makes sure to frame it as if Obama is waffling out of it when McCain has his hands dirty in every way.
Remember, Obama only checked a survey box, but Candy doesn't tell her audience that. I'll repeat this again. John McCain actually agreed to public financing when his campaign was in trouble, borrowed money to keep it going before he won the nomination and now has spent well beyond the guidelines for which he received a stern letter from the FEC's David Mason. Obama doesn't need to opt out because he never signed on. I'm sure McCain was giving his staff high fives over Crowley's report. A job well done. Full transcript below the fold.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, since the system for public financing of presidential campaigns was put into place in the post-Watergate era, no major presidential campaign has ever opted out. The question is whether this year will be the exception.
CROWLEY (voice-over): Barack Obama, who has raised more than $230 million so far, no longer sounds like a candidate who'd take the paltry $84 million he'd get out of the public campaign finance system.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that it is creeky and needs to be reformed if it's going to work.
CROWLEY: Public financing of campaigns was designed to take big money influence out of politics. It's funded by that $3 check box on income tax forms. In a written survey late last year, Obama said he'd take public financing if his opponent did. But that was before he became fundraising king. Now he talks about how he has a kind of de facto system of his own.
OBAMA: We know that the check-off system has been declining in participation. And as a consequence, the amount of money raised through the public financing system may be substantially lower than the amount of money that can be raised through small donations, which presents candidates then with some pretty tough decisions in terms of how they want to move forward, if they want to compete in as many states as possible.
CROWLEY: Actually, just under half of Obama's donations came from people giving $200 or less.
John McCain, whose own fundraising pales in comparison to Obama's, says he'll take public funding, and he uses Obama's hesitation as a campaign issue. SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The fact is that he's saying one thing and he's doing the other. I mean, that's indisputable.
The piece of paper is there. He didn't talk about having discussions about third parties and all that when he committed to saying that he would take public financing if the Republican nominee did. I'm the presumptive Republican nominee. I will take public financing. Keep your word to the American people.
CROWLEY: Actually, though Obama did check "yes" on that survey, he added a caveat. "If I am the Democratic nominee," he wrote, "I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election." That is a meeting Obama says he still wants to have.
CROWLEY: The McCain campaign says he is committed to taking public financing for his campaign. Nonetheless, the door seems to be just a bit ajar in case McCain's opponent opts out -- Wolf.