April 23, 2008

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MSNBC's Keith Olbermann made an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman, and the conversation turned to one of the best arguments for how screwed up our campaign process is and how public financing could allow us to put our money towards other priorities.

Letterman: It’s just god awful. If you think about it, if you compare those amounts of money—and I heard this statistic the other day—to maintain, to maintain status quo of world starvation—that means not improve it…

Olbermann: Yup…

Letterman: …but just for people to hang on, we need $700 million. And these two, have generated more than that already and still people are going hungry.

Olbermann: It would be great, and it would be ideal if we paid for everything. The government would just sort of said, alright, we’re going to give each candidate, who you know met some sort of minimum amount of support gets this much money and gets this much free television time, which is what it’s really all about. I mean, that’s what happened in Pennsylvania, you know where he went from being down by 20 to losing by 10. That’s a pretty good result for him, by spending a lot of money on TV time. But if you just gave away the television time, well, all the networks would get very upset about that. So it’s…you know, really, we are choosing between these two predicaments.

Letterman: There ought to be a way, there ought to be a different way here, because I mean, the length of the campaign—you can understand this, but the sums of money required and at the end of the day, we’re just trying to satisfy somebody’s ego when you get right down to it.

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