In editorial, NY Times misrepresented Obama's position on public financing

››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS

The New York Times stated in an editorial that Sen. Barack Obama "has backed away from his proposal to run the general election on public funds." In fact, Obama recently confirmed he would "aggressively pursue" an agreement with the Republican nominee on "a publicly funded general election in 2008 with real spending limits."

A March 6 New York Times editorial stated, "Now that he's the champion money-raiser, Mr. [Barack] Obama has backed away from his proposal to run the general election on public funds. He should take up that pledge again -- now." In fact, in a February 20 USA Today op-ed, Obama confirmed his "pledge" to "aggressively pursue" an agreement on "a publicly funded general election in 2008 with real spending limits."

In a response to a Midwest Democracy Network questionnaire, issued in September 2007, Obama wrote: "If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election."

Obama reiterated his "pledge" to "aggressively pursue an agreement" if he wins the nomination, stating in the USA Today op-ed, "I will aggressively pursue such an agreement if I am my party's nominee." He added:

I do not expect that a workable, effective agreement will be reached overnight. The campaign-finance laws are complex, and filled with loopholes that can render meaningless any agreement that is not solidly constructed.

[...]

I propose a meaningful agreement in good faith that results in real spending limits. The candidates will have to commit to discouraging cheating by their supporters; to refusing fundraising help to outside groups; and to limiting their own parties to legal forms of involvement. And the agreement may have to address the amounts that Senator [John] McCain, the presumptive nominee of his party, will spend for the general election while the Democratic primary contest continues.

The Times editorial also stated, "Mrs. [Hillary] Clinton and Mr. McCain owe the American public far more transparency than they have given," and noted, "Mrs. Clinton has not released her income tax returns." But the editorial did not mention that McCain has not released his tax returns either and has not pledged to do so as the Republican nominee. Instead, the Times asserted that "Mr. McCain is withholding medical records that Americans need to read before they are asked to vote for a 71-year-old man with a spotty medical history." The Wall Street Journal reported on February 23: "The presumptive Republican nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, hasn't released his tax returns either. His campaign has said it won't decide whether to release the returns until after he is officially the nominee." A February 27 Washington Post editorial noted that McCain has "so far refused" to release his tax returns and added: "Most troubling, Mr. McCain isn't even pledging to release his returns once he becomes the nominee." Primary victories March 4 gave him "a total of 1,205 delegates, 14 more than the 1,191 required to secure the Republican nomination."

From the March 6 New York Times editorial:

Meanwhile, the candidates are spending obscene amounts of money. Now that he's the champion money-raiser, Mr. Obama has backed away from his proposal to run the general election on public funds. He should take up that pledge again -- now.

Mrs. Clinton and Mr. McCain owe the American public far more transparency than they have given. Mrs. Clinton has not released her income tax returns or made public the donors to her husband's library and foundation. Mr. McCain is withholding medical records that Americans need to read before they are asked to vote for a 71-year-old man with a spotty medical history.

Posted In
Elections, Campaign Finance
Network/Outlet
The New York Times
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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