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Wag the Video Blog: Money, Money, Money

The advantages that Barack Obama currently enjoys over John McCain in key battleground states -- where he is almost entirely on offense with just 19 days left before the election -- are due, in large part, to a massive spending edge on television.

As we noted yesterday, Obama spent $32 million on television last week while McCain disbursed roughly one-third that total. Such a huge disparity -- especially in red states like Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia -- has put McCain back on his heels and opened up a series of new fronts less than three weeks before election day.

Obama's money edge is directly traceable to his decision in mid June to forgo the public financing system (and the $84 million in taxpayer dollars) for the general election -- the first candidate EVER to do so.

For today's Wag the Blog question, we want to hear your thoughts on what (if anything) should be done about the public financing system between now and 2012. If you believe that public financing is a good thing for presidential campaigns, what changes would you make to ensure the system's relevancy in four years time. If you oppose public financing, do you believe 2008 is the year that killed it?

The comments section below is open for business. And, thanks to the people at seesmic.com, you can also offer a video comment above. We'll pick the best ones and feature them in their own post later this week.

Have at it!

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 16, 2008; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
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Next: Friday Senate Line: Democratic Domination

Comments

Even now, in the midst of an economic downturn and another war against unrestrained evil, America prospers. It is a prosperity often built on trial-and-error, triumph and, yes, even failure. But above all, it is a prosperity built on goodness and optimism.
Are Americans still optimists at heart? It is hard to say. The never-ending hand-wringing emanating from academia, the media, the entertainment industry and the Democratic Party has taken its toll. The left has made a massive investment in promoting the idea that our country is in dire need of redemption which only they have the “wisdom” to administer.
In a better world, such self-inflation of one’s abilities to transform an entire society would be recognized as the arrogance it truly is. Even more so for the consolidation of power by self-righteous elitists that would be necessary to pull it off. Hopefully, despite decades of woeful public schooling, most Americans still have to be coerced into accepting the idea that America, on balance, is a deficient nation.
Sadly, it’s probably a close call. If it weren’t, Barack Obama and company wouldn’t stand a chance in November.

Posted by: schneemans | October 19, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

To be fair, many Americans believe the country is headed in the “wrong direction.” But there is a difference between believing America is “off course” and believing it is headed over the abyss. And make no mistake: much of that “wrong direction” is the cultural rot of moral relativity, multiculturalism, and PC hyper-sensitivity directly attributable to liberalism.
No country is, or ever has been, perfect. If America has fallen short of many peoples’ expectations, maybe it should dawn on them that it might be because no other country in the world has set the bar as high as we have.
Yet for most liberals, all the good we do in the world is never enough. Any shortcoming is evidence of wholesale failure, of a need to completely re-order the American landscape. Such unrestrained pessimism is both unrealistic and unseemly. It is the whine of spoiled children who can’t seem to remember that half the world struggles to survive , not prosper.

Posted by: schneemans | October 19, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama’s campaign is based on this premise: “I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal. This was the time when we came together to remake this great nation”
Have we never cared for the sick or jobless? Trillions of dollars of wealth transfer for health entitlements, Social Security, job-training and unemployment insurance suggest otherwise. This (is) was the moment? Over the course of almost three hundred years, hundreds of thousands of American troops have paid the ultimate price to “heal” the planet of sicknesses far more deadly and self-evident than global warming. This was (is) the time we came together? No other nation on earth comes close to matching our historical legacy of assimilation, uniting against a common enemy, righting historical wrongs or creating equal opportunity for all.

Posted by: schneemans | October 19, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Thus, for example, it doesn’t matter that we ended slavery, it only matters that we had it. It doesn’t matter that we’ve produced the highest standard of living in the world, it only matters that we haven’t eliminated poverty completely. It doesn’t matter we’ve assimilated more immigrants than any other country in the world, it only matters that we want to deport “undocumented workers.” And so on and so forth.
This “the perfect is the enemy of the good” attitude has been politically nurtured by the American Left. Without it, imposing their particular version of “perfection,” aka big-government socialism, becomes impossible. With it, a country far too “imperfect” to be left to its own individualist, free-market, personally responsible devices can be brought to heel.
Today’s liberalism is not about selling reasoned or sensible change for a country that needs “tweaking.” It is about selling the hysteria that we are a nation in need of an “Extreme Makeover.”

Posted by: schneemans | October 19, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Is the United States a perfect country? Nope. Is it the best country in the world? To a large degree, the 2008 election may be a referendum on that question.
In my lifetime, there has never been a shortage of Americans more than willing to believe that our nation is tawdry collection of small-minded people–imperialists, racists, homophobes, sexists, xenophobes, evil rich, etc., etc.– whose devotion to the principles espoused by our Founding Fathers–those slave owning, dead white European males–amounts to little more than lip service.
For them, patriotism is an admixture of jingoism, naivete’ and illusion. All war is a business opportunity. Religion is a repository of prejudice and fear. History is a systematic whitewash of our genocidal exploitation of an above-reproach indigenous culture. In short, we’re a hopeless, hapless mess of a nation.
While such simplistic notions always have a kernel of truth in them, the driving force behind them all is the same: a lack of perfection equals total failure.

Posted by: schneemans | October 19, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Financing this election has been very frustrating. I have given way too much money to Barack Obama that I can't afford, also to the DNSCC and PA Democrats. Not only did the Republicans wipe out the national economy, we are having to pay $25 donation by $25 donation to get them out of office at all levels.

Give each candidate the same amount of money, they can't raise more. Popular candidates can derive benefit from more volunteers, but enough with this constant demand for more money.

Posted by: annieb346 | October 17, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

America Paying the Price in Government!

It's been a long time coming! Government has performed so poorly since the times of Jimmy Carter that the people of America have given up or given in.

With failures in both parties, the party of entitlement is on the verge of "ruling America", bad news for conservatives and traditionalist.

Whether it be Barney Frank or George Bush (Junior), the blame is on the conservatives of America. News agencies, academics, radical movements....all in the tank for socialism and so we move that way.

So, what's left to do. There is a call out for all conservatives and Republicans to just stay home this November 4th. Why?

Let the socialist movement rise so it can fall. Let's make friends with Iran, Venezuala, Russia and all!

So STAY HOME AMERICA...GRAB YOUR GUNS, CLING TO YOUR RELIGION and just stay home.

It all has to break before we can revive the liberties that we have fought for. We will fight again.

http://www.mylyman.blogspot.com/

Posted by: jllyman2 | October 17, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

obama can't even answer a question about when life begins with any better answer then that is above his pay grade. so if he can't answer that simple question then being presidebt is above his pay grade

Posted by: diaco7529 | October 17, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

It's Just an Illusion....

Searching for Obama's 95 Percent
Posted by Philip Klein on 10.16.08 @ 8:23AM

HEMPSTEAD. N.Y. -- "We are going to cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans," Barack Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, said in the spin room here at Hofstra University following the final debate of the 2008 presidential election.

Plouffe was repeating one of the boldest claims made by the Obama campaign. It's a claim that the Wall Street Journal editorial board dubbed "Obama's 95% Illusion," noting that more than a third of Americans don't pay any income taxes, and that what Obama's plan does do is offer a raft of subsidies and government payments to individuals and families that he redefines as "tax cuts." His proposal looks more like a redistribution scheme than an honest effort to reduce taxes -- as he revealed on Monday when he told a now famous Ohio plumber that his plan aimed to "spread the wealth around."

So when Plouffe reiterated the 95 percent claim, I asked him a simple question aimed at clarifying whether Obama's tax plan was about cutting rates, or merely handing out government checks. "What rates would actually go down"? I asked.

"Middle class people are going to see, systemically, their taxes reduced, and small businesses," Plouffe responded.

"But what rate would go down for lower-income Americans?" I persisted, seeking more information.

"We'll have to get you the exact details on that," Obama's campaign manager told me.


If Barack Obama can effectively claim that his plan cuts taxes on 95 percent of Americans, then the term "tax cut" has no meaning.


Posted by: thecannula | October 17, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

PALIN SAID TO BE SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSION. THEY HAVE HER IN AN EVER TIGHTENING BUBBLE TO KEEP HER AWAY FROM AND KIND OF PRESS. SHE IS SAID TO BE PRAYING TO GOD FOR THE POLLS TO CHANGE. PALIN, KNOWN TO BE A PAST USER OF ANTIDEPRESSANTS, MAY HAVE A PROBLEM EVEN MAKING IT THROUGH THE END OF THE ELECTION. THE REPUBLICANS ARE OVER WORKING HER ON THE STUMP AND SHE IS STARTING TO SHOW SIGNS OF CRACKING.

Posted by: popasmoke | October 17, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse


.


.

I Am Not President Bush - If You Wanted To Run Against Bush You Should Have Run 4 Years Ago.


McCain was on fire at the Debate - slamming Obama point after point.


On the Economy clearly McCain defined Obama as the High Tax candidate who is intent on increasing spending and raising taxes.


On Congressman Lewis Obama slimed around and refused to answer the question - then Obama refused to do the right thing - lending credibility to the notion that the Obama campaign put Congressman Lewis up to making those completely outrageous statements.


McCain won the Tax Debate - beating Obama by framing the issue in the prism of small business and jobs - which is the correct economic analysis.


McCain has been on mark all night - hitting Obama whenever Obama makes a contradiction or an inconsistency.


Everytime McCain caught Obama in a deception or a lie Obama smiled like he knew he was caught and Obama looked like he was attempting to hide his lies with a smile.


Towards the end of the debate Obama stopped smiling - Obama looked tired and beaten.


McCain won the debate point by point slamming Obama and showing how McCain will be Lead this Nation To Prosperity Again.


.

.

Posted by: 37thandOSt | October 17, 2008 5:53 AM | Report abuse

Dear Chris:

URGENT AND IMPORTANT QUESTION

I respect you a lot as a result of reading a lot of your posts and articles. I also find your TV appearances to be particularly instructive.

So, here's an imporant and urgent question:

HOW COME NOT ONE SINGLE REPORTER HAS WRITTEN AN ARTICLE on John McCain's strong opinion and belief that:

"...........and Troops to Teachers, where people, after having served in the military, can go RIGHT TO TEACHING and NOT HAVE TO take these examinations which - OR have the CERTIFICATION that are REQUIRED in some states" (not great grammar on McCain's part to begin with)

Would YOU as a PARENT want that?

Would the local PTA's be fine that?

Would the teacher's unions be fine with that?

What would be the consequences of not requiring TEACHERS to pass an exam OR get certified?

THIS is NUTS, in my opinion.

I have 2 Masters Degrees, have taught at the Univ of Texas when I was in my 20's and managed large global businesses for top 50 Fortune companies.

Let me just say that the current education and teacher quality is hardly that great, by any stretch of the imagination, and McCain wants to lower THAT?

I've had to hire staff around the world in my global business(es) and I can honestly say that our college graduates are woefully inadequate in rudimentary math and very slow at mentally doing 6th and 7th grade arithmetic!

HOW come not one journalist has picked up on this view of McCain's?!

And McCain finished 2nd or 3rd from the bottom in the Naval Academy and never really respected his superiors, right?

Posted by: ashraman | October 16, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse

It's not funny but usually the guy with the most money wins. We have seen this over and over again. Democrats have been outspent in all but one general election in the past God knows how long. (96) I'm glad the shoe finally is on the other foot. As for public financing. It does not mater what the law says. Some smart guy will find a way around it. That's how we got 527's.

Posted by: Opa2 | October 16, 2008 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Robert Reich is shorter than John Stewart.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 16, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

thecannula wrote:

THE STOCK MARKET RALLIED TODAY

BECAUSE McCAIN WON THE DEBATE!

----------------

Please tell us what the stock market will do Friday and Monday. We'll be much obliged.

Posted by: officermancuso | October 16, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Citing Harry Truman at this point in the campaign is equivalent to comparing your opponent to Hitler.

Not that Truman should be compared to Hitler, mind you.

It's the last refuge of a losing argument.

Posted by: officermancuso | October 16, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

There's a saying in USA vernacular: "Put your money where your mouth is."

Seems as though Obama's partisans are stepping up to the bar, though not many of them have recently been bailed out with the $700 billion in tax dollars to be pumped into the Republican class.

Posted by: officermancuso | October 16, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

In 1948 the money had dried up for Harry Truman. The Republican Thomas Dewey commanded the lead and the money. Truman did a whistle stop campaign - giving rousing stump speeches. People shouted "Give'em hell Harry." Truman responded, "I will tell the truth and they will think it is hell."

Obama has the money and the lead in the polls. No one should take anything for granted. .............
http://thefiresidepost.com/2008/10/16/dewey-defeats-truman/

Posted by: glclark4750 | October 16, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

The presidential public financing system should be fixed based on the models currently working in states like Maine and Arizona and in cities like Portland, Oregon. The difference between those systems and the current presidential system is that, in the Maine and Arizona model, if a candidate that accepts public money gets outspent by a candidate who opts out of the public system, the publicly financed candidate gets matching funds to enable that candidate to compete with the privately financed candidate. A candidate could also get matching funds based on expenditures by outside groups.

This encourages all candidates to accept public financing and discourages 527s and other groups from funding commercials.

This form of public financing creates a fair system where politics is a contest of ideas, not a financial arms race. This would be the most sensible solution for fixing campaign financing at all levels of government.

Posted by: Benner1 | October 16, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

THE STOCK MARKET RALLIED TODAY

BECAUSE McCAIN WON THE DEBATE!

Joe the Plumber now has a voice, speaking for the middle and upper middle class, trying to get ahead. The REAL Rich has been represented by Penny Pritzker's Candidate. Joe said, sure today it's people making over 250K that will get killed by Obama's taxes, but soon, as Obama's agenda gets more expensive, it will be people making 150K, and so on...it's like that old saying about not speaking out when someone comes for your neighbors....soon there will no one left to speak out when someone comes for you.


Posted by: thecannula | October 16, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Chris, love it when you appear on TV... you make a great guest.

I just want to remind folks that despite not taking public funding... Obama IS GETTING public funding from people like me -- who donate $10=$25 a month (whether I can afford it or not) and, of late -- have been giving $5 every time I heard "my friends" in a debate.

Thank goodness McCain only said it TWICE last night.

Did you catch McCain's grunts and phlegm hawking during Obama's time to talk? It WAS GROSS.

I thought McCain had a very NIXON sort of night -- the visuals were just not flattering at all. He looked peevish, pouty, rude and twitchy. About the only thing he DIDN'T do is sweat.

But the red in his face actually gave him some color. Still, that flat, corpse-like grin of his is scary-pervert looking, don'tcha think? You betcha!

Oh, and the tongue juts... EW.

Posted by: nobush3rd | October 16, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Headlines the week after McCain/Pilen sworn in:

Social Security program outsourced to AIG

AIG Outsources Social Security to India and Pakistan

McCain threatens Venezuela if it crosses border to Iraq

McCain has heart murmur, Wall Street jittery about Palin, Dow in negative territory for first time ever

Palin sent to Alaska to make sure Putin doesn't rear his head

Americans directed to make income tax payments payable to "China"

Bristol gives birth to Baby Betcha

Joe the Plumber named Secretary of Labor, still won't pay his taxes

Cindy McCain demands the guy with glasses and his Verizon mob follow her around

Posted by: bondjedi | October 16, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

THE PEOPLE MCCAIN SAID LAST NIGHT HE WAS PROUD OF.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRqcfqiXCX0

Posted by: popasmoke | October 16, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

"Serious questions about Obama's citizenship status "

Such as why McCain isn't getting the same kind of scrutiny despite the fact that he wasn't born on US soil.

Oh yeah, its because McCain isn't a niggger.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 16, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Obama raised money $25 at a time with average Americans. I don't think that the public financing system works, because the 527s and the national parties can circumvent all the rules.

Obama's campaign is truly public-financed because it is the general public, contributing no more than $2,300 each, who own the campaign--not rich lobbying firms and PACs.

Posted by: Vaughan1 | October 16, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Newest headline:

Gullible Americans a dwindling subset of US population. Obama expected to benefit.

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 16, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Recent Headlines


Buckeye Institute files Rico action against ACORN

Obama hired ACORN for get out the vote

Biden routes campaign cash to family, friends

Chicago plans school for gay students

All services meet recruiting goals

US troops kill #2 al-Qaeda leader in Iraq

Pelosi planning new $300 billion stimulus package

US communists say their time has come

Serious questions about Obama's citizenship status

Posted by: king_of_zouk | October 16, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

IF there is increased (or mandatory) public financing (which there probably ought to be), then there needs to be a limitation on negative ads. Obama has surged in this election not only because of the predisposition of circumstances to democrats, but also because he runs far fewer negative ads than McCain. His ads have been focused on the issues, and getting his message out (perhaps due to criticisms during the primary that he was all fluff and no substance).

In an ideal world, we'd see equal public financing for candidates from at least five established political parties, and the ads and media put out by those campaigns could only mention other candidates 20% of the time. All other ads must be informative, fact-checked presentations of the candidate's platform.

With five candidates every year, voters would get ten points that they could divvy up however they pleased in the voting booth. Whoever gets the most points wins.

It will never happen, because the First Amendment right of free speech in this case undermines the intent of the very document in which it was written.

Posted by: crashinghero | October 16, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm not surprised that Grampy McCrankypants is getting his butt kicked in this election because I'm still trying to figure out what the McCain campaign message is, other than?:
.
"Don't vote for the scary black guy"
-MCCAIN/PALIN 08!
.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnb2IrsU1Cg
.

Posted by: DrainYou | October 16, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

It is easy to argue that Senator Obama has the financial edge because he has raised more money than Senator McCain receives from us taxpayers. The more interesting comparison is from before Senator McCain choose to accept public funding. In the primaries, Senator Obama raised far more money than not only Senator McCain but all the GOP candidates. Perhaps if we understand why he was able to do that, we might conclude that the money he's raised and the lead he's built during the general election is not strictly the result of superior financial resources.

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 16, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

37th & Dumbass wrote:

"The media has it wrong again - everyone I spoke to today believes McCain won."

All three wing nuts at the John Birch meeting.

"Everyone adds they do not know where the pollsters are finding the Obama people."

This doesn't make any sense. You be the judge.

"McCain beat Obama on point after point - IT WAS A SMACK-DOWN."

Point after point - oh yeah, the scripted nonsense about Ayers and ACORN that the McShame campaign telegraphed and Obama batted down.

"In fact several people commented that everytime McCain pointed out a deception or lie on the part of Obama, Obama showed this silly smile like he was guilty."

A few paragraphs ago you hinted that the media was wrong for overwhelmingly calling this one for Obama, but now "several people" point out that he lost because of a smirk? Right.

"McCain showed last night that he is proven Leader - that he has the ability and the FIGHT to be an excellent President."

He showed that he can regurgitate talking points, though not as well as Sarah Palin.

Bottom line - by every metric except the Birchers' paranoia, Obama SMOKED McCain and KNOCKED THE DUST off that old man.

Keep posting - it is fun to gloat over you.

Posted by: bondjedi | October 16, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Additional tv commercials are not going to help Obama - eveyone knows who he is and more annoying commercials are worthless.


Obama has reached the point of diminishing returns on the money.

In fact the additional money may hurt Obama because everyone is sick of watching him in the same commercials over and over again and over again.


.


.

Posted by: 37thandOSt | October 16, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I think money and lobbyists have too much power in american politics, and I hope that if I get the democratic nomination,
that myself and the republican nominee can
agree to limit our spending to the federal
money.

I'm barack obama and I lie,
about, everything, DUDE....
Got a light? I mean I quit
last april...
but I'm just bumming a few here
or there...
remember, dummie' I lie'
ha ha

Posted by: USA3 | October 16, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse


The media has it wrong again - everyone I spoke to today believes McCain won


Everyone adds they do not know where the pollsters are finding the Obama people.

McCain beat Obama on point after point - IT WAS A SMACK-DOWN.

In fact several people commented that everytime McCain pointed out a deception or lie on the part of Obama, Obama showed this silly smile like he was guilty.

McCain showed last night that he is proven Leader - that he has the ability and the FIGHT to be an excellent President.

.

.

Posted by: 37thandOSt | October 16, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

i am glad bamao barack adn binden joe
scranton cum to rule the riches from
hoods of robin
to give to poor friends.
rich people should be hanged
and shooted in repulbic

Posted by: USA3 | October 16, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

dribble is off it's meds again.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | October 16, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Sick.

'A local California GOP women’s organization’s most recent newsletter claims that if Obama is elected, his face will appear on food stamps, rather than dollar bills like other presidents. The group then included a picture of “Obama Bucks” — a phony $10 bill with Obama surrounded by racist imagery:

http://thinkprogress.org/

The president of the organization, Diane Fedele, didn’t understand the charges of racism: “I didn’t see it the way that it’s being taken. I never connected. It was just food to me.” One African-American member of the club said that upon seeing the newsletter, she “cried for 45 minutes.” “This is what keeps African-Americans from joining the Republican Party,” she added.

Posted by: drindl | October 16, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

'McCain won the debate point by point slamming Obama and showing how McCain will be Lead this Nation To Prosperity Again.'

He won? by 'slamming' someone? How mature. And slamming someone shows how he will Lead This Nation?

Bizarelly illogical and illiterate, even for a repug.

Posted by: drindl | October 16, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I Am Not President Bush - If You Wanted To Run Against Bush You Should Have Run 4 Years Ago.

McCain is on fire at the Debate - slamming Obama point after point.

On the Economy clearly McCain defined Obama as the High Tax candidate who is intent on increasing spending and raising taxes.

On Congressman Lewis Obama slimed around and refused to answer the question - then Obama refused to do the right thing - lending credibility to the notion that the Obama campaign put Congressman Lewis up to making those completely outrageous statements.

McCain won the Tax Debate - beating Obama by framing the issue in the prism of small business and jobs - which is the correct economic analysis.

McCain has been on mark all night - hitting Obama whenever Obama makes a contradiction or an inconsistency.

Everytime McCain caught Obama in a deception or a lie Obama smiled like he knew he was caught and Obama looked like he was attempting to hide his lies with a smile.

Towards the end of the debate Obama stopped smiling - Obama looked tired and beaten.

McCain won the debate point by point slamming Obama and showing how McCain will be Lead this Nation To Prosperity Again.

Posted by: 37thandOSt | October 16, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Part of what turned off campaign finance to me is the fact that $1.50 of my contribution would go to disgusting people like George Bush and his ilk. In fact, that's the main reason I didn't check that little box. Perhaps people would be more apt to do it if their money could go to a specific party. Perhaps one party will get more $3 donations than the other. Is this a bad thing? I don't know.

I'm not sure that raising the amount of money is the solution. Perhaps it may be in the future. Remember that McCain didn't make the decision to accept public financing out of some love for the system. He did it because his fundraising was terrible. Are we going to make the assumption that there will be candidates who frequently can pull in Obama cash?

Allow rollover of primary money to the general election.

Demand greater accountability for donations. Obama's campaign should be held responsible for the shady donations it has been getting.

You can't ever fix this problem 100%. The best solution for the money problem is for the populace to become informed as to the issues and the views of the candidates. No number of thirty second ads is going to have an effect on an informed voter.

It comes down to the same thing as the media fairness act or equal time act or whatnot. They are all designed to get around voter ignorance and voter laziness. None of this would be a problem if voters would pay attention.

Maybe we should stop trying to protect us from ourselves.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 16, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

1. Will you do an article about where Obama's money is coming from?

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has raised about $3.3 million from contributors who did not list a home state or who designated their state with an abbreviation that did not match one of the 50 states or U.S. territories, according to records provided by the Federal Election Commission.

Most of those contributors did identify themselves as living abroad in foreign cities. Under federal law, foreign citizens cannot make political contributions.

The $3.3 million total does not include donors who have given less than $200 and whose contributions do not have to be itemized. Some of that money could also have come from overseas. About half of Obama's $455 million in contributions so far are unitemized. The campaign does not identify those donors.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27076436/

2. Will you do an article about Obama's accomplishments for the public thus far? This can include Chicago if you are unable to find any during his unfinished first Senate term.

3. Will you do an article on why Obama will not produce his medical records? Barack Obama stands alone in the last three elections as the only candidate to not release medical records to the public.

4. Will you do an article on why Obama will not release his records from Columbia?

5. Will you do an article about why Obama will not release his records from his days in the IL state Senate?

6. Will you do an article on why Obama has not produced his birth records?

7. Will you do an article on Obama's trip to Pakistan using an Indonesian passport?

8. Can you do an article on any records that McCain has refused to release?

Do you think that all these records should be kept from the public until after the election?

Posted by: joep1 | October 16, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh yea. My bloodpressure does get riled when campagn's maintain 'plausable deniablity' when their minions do something nasty. 2004 was infamous for 'Swift Boat', didn't seem to be much of an effect on the presidential race this time. I like being able to hold people accountable for their behavior.

The local races tended to have claims worthy of the cover of the National Enquirer made by groups like 'Sons Of Liberty' or 'People for Fair and Balanced ...' - personnally I found them more annoying than anything else.

Posted by: DonJasper | October 16, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Chris, you keep doing new Wag the Blogs without printing the best posts from previous ones.

Posted by: bondjedi | October 16, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the others on here. Politicians are the ultimate sales people. They tell you their product and promise how good it will work for YOU. Senator Obama SOLD his product far better than the others in this election year and utilize technology to maximize the affect. He has created the model for campaigning, even if he does not win, which I pray he does. Oh yeah, a politician has to sale a TRUTFUL product. That is the other edge Senator Obama has. We forget that it was only 5 weeks ago that the McCain-Palin ticket was called out for their lies on the campaign trail and in their T.V. ads. That BEGAN the shift in the polls. And CNN Money just dispelled the claim last night that Senator McCain brought up about Joe the Plumber's concern for Senator Obama's tax plan raising taxes on small businesses. Go to CNN Money online and read about it.

Bottom-line, save the government $84 million dollars, $168 million total, and have the candidates solicit campaign contributions from the voters. Voters who support that candidates proposals will supply the cash, as Senators Obama and Clinton proved this election year, to run their campaigns.

Posted by: ajackson3 | October 16, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

The power of your blog is just amazing. No sooner that you post the comments, I see the Obama video in sites big (http://democrats.org) and small (http://truecarbon.org). The point of this citation is that there should be no public financing of any sort. Obama has demonstrated that we do not need public monies to run elections. People who want to contribute can contribute directly and that makes it more democratic. Also as your video shows, the internet and the public very quickly consumes and distributes those videos and ads that make sense to them.

Public financing should the the public, period. No exemptions... $2800/person or corporation max.

Posted by: ScienceNerd | October 16, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

i think the Obama campaign is the new paradigm. and there is nothing wrong with it. the simple fact that he has used technology should not distract from the fact that all the the contributions all within the long standing legal limit and that the vast majority are from small dollar donors. if a candidate wants to raise money - simple...raise consciousness the way Senator Obama has.

Posted by: mykulw | October 16, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Well my blood pressure doesn't change much with regards to politics and money. In some alternate universe there would be some way to make rich-man and poor-man equal. But in this alternate universe socialism would work, Star Trek would be real, you don't need to worry about money and I'd never leave the holodeck.
- - - - - - - - -
Here's a blog idea. (Not that you don't get 10 bazillion of them but hey - ) Compare and contrast the debates.

First one. My take-aways - McCain getting really really angry - fidgety. Obama - being Obama. Lehrer trying (unsuccessfully) to get the candidates to interact. McCain makes it a point to say that he came up with his mortgage buy-out plan all by himself.

Second one. Take-aways. Brokaw letting politicians decide how long they could talk. McCain moving around a lot.

Third one. Take-away. Schieffer - kept things tight, no rambling. McCain can't sit still, brought up character issues during a time of 100-year economic crisis. It seems to me that McCain echoed some of Obama's patterns. Obama repeated uses 'A fundamental difference between us' many times. It seemed to me to rub off on McCain and he started to say 'a basic difference between us' more than he ever had before.

Given the wild swings on Wall Street, overall I thought the debates faded into near meaningless, with the one exception of the anticipation when the word 'Ayers' would leave McCain's mouth.

Posted by: DonJasper | October 16, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Here's what I'd do for campaign finance reform:

1. Give all qualified (probably through petition signatures) candidates the same amount of money, once for primaries and once for general elections. The amount must be sufficient to run a small campaign. This will allow candidates to spend less time raising money.

2. Allow additional fundraising, with a lower cap. Maybe $1000. This will allow popular candidates to get more money, and nobody can raise a huge amount of money without having broad support.

3. Give candidates free airtime and other resources. This will benefit smaller candidates, and again reduce the amount of fundraising needed to run a campaign.

4. Limit the length of the campaign. Don't allow candidates to raise or spend money until some starting point. This year's campaign started in January 2007, and that's ridiculous.

5. Don't let a rich candidate self-finance. It isn't fair to other candidates.

Those are my ideas so far. My goal is to reduce the importance of fundraising by giving everyone some money and airtime, while still allowing donors to support the candidate of their choice.

Posted by: Blarg | October 16, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Obama IS doing Public Financing...directly with the public, one small donation at a time.

Posted by: mf2112 | October 16, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

"The advantages that Barack Obama currently enjoys over John McCain in key battleground states-- where he is almost entirely on offense with just 19 days left before the election -- are due, in large part, to a massive spending edge on television."

That's quite an assumption, CC. How about Obama has run a far better campaign? McCain has been adrift, messageless, incoherent, scary.

Posted by: drindl | October 16, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I feel that Obama did the right thing [since he DOES obviously know how to use a computer] when he decided to run for POTUS, announced his candidacy in Chicago but also on-line and asked those who supported him for donations. Obama was smart in not accepting 'public campaign financing' since he is TRULY receiving his contributions from "the public" and that method is antiquated, has never worked due to 527s and should be eliminated.

Let's not forget that the 527s and the RNC also supported McCain with ad buys. Obama asked that no PACs be involved with his campaign and they listened. He has the DNC, but he has not needed their money. I believe McCain is whining about nothing since he was certainly not just limited to $85k in financing, but is just green with envy that Obama has more public supporters and therefore more funds - period!

If you don't have [or can't build] enough support in the public domain, this strategy will not work for you. However, if you are the person the public is seeking as the next president, they will support you even in an economic recession like Obama's supporters have done all these months for him. I believe this is what "public financing" truly means and should be. Let's do away with the government rules and regs known as "public campaign finance" altogether

Posted by: ObamasLady | October 16, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

When confronted with the huge sums of money that Obama has raised it is comforting to me to realize the huge stake that the common person has in that. The campaign has been fueled by millions of donors donating $25.

Posted by: scotthawk | October 16, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

This campaign shows why it is important to abolish the public funding requirements. Obama has needed to spend a lot to counter the slime and spin coming from the Republican campaign. It is sad, but true. I just hope this doesn't lead to a cash arms race next style. I would prefer if we limited the time for campaigns and had stricter rules about what can be said in attack ads - but I doubt that would ever happen.

Posted by: freedom41 | October 16, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I think that like most other things in politics there will be a pendulum swing to how federal campaign funds are used. The next candidates for president in 2012 may all forego public monies, but sooner or later another election funding issue/scandal will come up and make public financing more attractive (i.e. offer up more money).

Posted by: MJett | October 16, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

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