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Obama says he won't take public campaign funds

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Doesn't anyone find it obscene that the guy with the most money wins? shouldn't there be some sort of legislation that gives each candidate equal airtime and advertising space and no more than that? Of course, they will still give money and favours to journalists in return for positive copy but it would go a long way to making the system something akin to democracy.

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We could hope for that, but even with the current public campaign funds worked out, you can still have tax-exempt 527 groups do UNLIMITED spending on ads on behalf of a candidate or party.

Barack isn't fooling himself that the current system is fair.

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There will be so many 527 ads for McCain real soon. They'll make up the financial differences McCain doesn't have.

Yeah, there seems to be some hypocracy here. < :-)

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Obama = $265 million as of the end of April.

Mr. McCain = $115 million by the end of May.

Yet, the race is a statistical dead heat. Heh, looks like obama isn't as strong as his dog walkers claim.

RR

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First obama lies about taking money from special interests. Now he's totally reneged on his promise to accept public financing if his opponent did the same.

What does barack stand for again?

Oh, that's right. Change in how politics is done in America.

RR

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How much does Obama get from militant Muslim groups with branches in the US?

Libya's Colonel Qadafi is excited about the prospects for change -

There are elections in America now. Along came a black citizen of Kenyan African origins, a Muslim, who had studied in an Islamic school in Indonesia. His name is Obama. All the people in the Arab and Islamic world and in Africa applauded this man. They welcomed him and prayed for him and for his success, and they may have even been involved in legitimate contribution campaigns to enable him to win the American presidency. http://cubasincadenas.invisionzone.com/index.php?showforum=27

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Doesn't anyone find it obscene that the guy with the most money wins? shouldn't there be some sort of legislation that gives each candidate equal airtime and advertising space and no more than that?

Agreed - The system is really messed up. Money should be mostly removed from the equation.

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1) I agree, this makes Obama look like a hypocrite. And I say that as an Obama supporter. This is bad.

2) I totally agree with people who say the U.S. should be like many other countries (including Japan) and allot airtime and forums to candidates running for the same office. The U.S. needs to look hard at not just elected officials but the system in general -- a lot of federal court appointments granting judgeships for life go to prominent donors who are often undistinguished lawyers or not even lawyers . . . it's not just elections that are bought.

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I'm not bothered by the fact that Obama is forgoing the public funds and seeking to fund his campaign privately or by the allegedly "obscene" amount of campaign cash he expects to raise - more power to him. [I don't like McCain's advocacy for contribution limits and he has shown a touch of hypocrisy by violating the spirit of campaing laws he helped to enact].

Nor am I especially bothered that Obama has broken his campaign promise. After a couple of narrow, hard fought losses to Bush, many Democrats will doubtlessly silently cheer his ruthless opportunism. I confess I could muster a grudging respect as well were Obama not so disingenuous about the reasons why he has broken his promise.

Surely the real reason is that when he made the promise he had no idea of his capacity to tap into a nigh inexhaustable reserve of private donations via the internet. In retrospect the promise was a tactical blunder. Cold political calculation now tells him that the PR hit he will take for his hypocrisy today will be more than offset by the financial advantage he will gain over McCain. He's compromising his (at least professed) principles to increase the likelihood he'll win.

Instead Obama implies that the corrupt system and his unscrupulous rivals have forced his hand. But that's just political spin. Yet one more example that Obama is not the change agent he professes to be. Not a new kind of pol, just same 'ol same old.

Obama said McCain and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and political action committees.

As if he and his party were not. Personally, the only attack ad I've seen in the General election cycle so far - just today in fact - has been one targetting (and shamelessly misrepresenting) McCain.

[Obama] secured the endorsement of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a political powerhouse union that was a strong backer of his former Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Earth to Obama, unions are every bit as much special interest/lobbying groups as the "corporations" whose motives you impugn with regularity.

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Nice post Shima, I don't agree with all of it but I do agree with most.

Leitmotiv, I agree there too. Unfortunately, I don't know of anyone who has any idea on how to fix that problem.

Taka

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Not even past the convention and obama is already breaking campaign promises. Heh, now that's "Change We Can Believe In".

RR

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I hate to say this so soon, but I hope Democrats won't regret not nominating Hillary. At least you and she both knew what she was all about, necessary minimum veneer of sincerity aside. I'd rather take an honest cynic than a fake idealist any day of the week. I'm absolutely NOT saying Obama is a fake idealist, but his recent moves (this announcement, hiring and firing Jim Johnson, etc) worryingly smack of the SOP Washington politicians that he says he is not.

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chardk1

Remember, hillary only "suspended" her campaign as oppose to totally dropping out of the race. obama keeps getting caught out as the lying snakeoil salesman that he is with each new news cycle. Remember, she's a clinton so don't completely count her out. There's still two full months before the convention in Denver.

RR

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I'm just saying, when Hillary tried to renege on not seating the Michigan and Florida delegates the Obama camp KILLED her for being an opportunist and going back on her word, and rightly so. But how is this that different? It's very disappointing is all I can say. Attacking the opponent isn't all there is to politics, living up to being the candidate you say you are is important too.

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Thanks, Taka.

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As much as this strikes at hypocracy I wouldn't vote for John McCain if he was the only candidate running. I'd just as soon see the country go with out a president for four years and then start all over.

Even with this, John McCain could never interest me in his platform of do as george bush did. Continue the george bush era. < :-)

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chardk1

American voters have come to expect politicians to say one thing, do another. However from the start, obama sold himself as being "different", but he's proving that he isn't.

RR

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"Obama's clear financial advantage over McCain"

It won't be enough to get him elected.

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"Obama's clear financial advantage over McCain"

It won't be enough to get him elected.

LOL. Not.

How's the fishing?

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I don't think he committed firmly to the issue - or signed any pledge. His campaign staff filled out a form and checked yes indicating that he intended to accept public funding. Now, he is certainly entitled to change his position at this time - he still does believe in the concept of public funded campaigns. You have to remember that the Republicans have hundreds of these 527 groups running attack ads against Obama and it will escalate over the next few months. He and his staff looked at the present reality and made a call. I don't think folks in the US really care too much about this and of course it is the 10 20 and 30 dollar donor (the public if you will) funding Obama's campaign. McCain is worried of course because he doesn't have the fundraising prowess that the Obama campaign has and knows he will never be able to generate the fundraising or election enthusiasm that Obama has.

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Real quick question, why are debates about US politics so intense considering the fact that a large part of the population don't vote?

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Hey, I'm not American so I can't claim to understand the intricacies of the whole election farce, but isn't it a good thing that he's not spending PUBLIC money and raising it on his own?

Perhaps then the government could use the PUBLIC money for something more important like... say... health care or a couple of hospitals or some new textbooks for schools.

84 million. For that much, we could even do something radical like dispose of a few nuclear weapons. But that's just crazy talk.

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Real quick question, why are debates about US politics so intense considering the fact that a large part of the population don't vote?

I am not sure I understand your question. Yes, a large percentage (close to 50%) of the voting age population in the US don't bother to vote but I think the excitement generated this particular year has been generated by several factors: millions disillusioned with Bush and Co and how the US is now seen around the world; the Iraq War, the dynamic competition on the Democratic side between Clinton and Obama and now of course, the first person of color nominated by a major party in the US - this has combined to generate unprecedented enthusiasm and has brought in thousands of new registered voters.

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seimei's point: Perhaps then the government could use the PUBLIC money for something more important like... say... health care or a couple of hospitals or some new textbooks for schools.

Of course that makes sense. The argument for public financing is to rid the process of special interest group contributions so that candidates are not beholden to those special interests (oil companies, trial lawyers, pharmaceuticals, etc.), if they get elected - only to the public. Of course, Obama has pledged not to accept special interest funding and as a result, he is raising small contributions from regular folks - so in essence, he is running a campaign funded by the public.

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GJP - Thanks for the response. I thought the question was rather simple. If you cannot be bothered exercising your democratic right to vote, I think you don't have any real right to criticize or even support one or other of the candidates. I also have another quick question - How much hypocrisy is there in US politics? When McCain challenged Bush in 2000, elements of the Republican Party basically dragged his reputation through the mud, despite his being a decorated veteran (as opposed to a chickenhawk). The kindest term used was "Maverick." Fast forward to the present, and the same forces are pushing McCain as the next president. Can you explain this to me? Moreover, given McCain's age, why hasn't there been a heated discussion vis-a-vis his running mate? If I was a US voter, I don't think I would vote for some old guy whose chances of dying in office of old age need to be considered.

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Those people who won't vote won't watch the debates.

Only those people who might vote or will vote will watch them. < :-)

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It's just not that big of a deal to me.

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It does seem incredibly hypocritical to me. And this is from someone who's an Obama supporter.

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timorbordwe - sorry, I just assumed the enthusiasm and intensity this particular year was well understood. I predict we will have an unprecedented turnout - perhaps 65-70% of eligible voters...

Re: McCain - political expediency is what this boils down to. The right thinks that a war hero will trump an inexperienced Obama and so they go with this hero because he is seen as a winner. They can hold their noses and pull the lever even though they disagree with McCain on a host of other issues and don't believe him to be a true conservative. Also, the Republicans didn't field a very strong group of candidates this year and so McCain won by plugging along and presenting himself as Mr. Reliable who will keep Americans safe - security a big issues for Republican primary voters. So yes, he is being pushed by (some) of the same forces - many have yet to rally around him as they did for Bush. The age issue - it is slowly emerging and has been raised by the media with respect to the choice of a running mate. It is also evident by watching and listening to McCain - he seems to be a walking gaffe machine these days and so inevitably, the age issue comes up. The guy also doesn't appear all that physically agile - like say, Reagan who was always very robust and fit into his late 70s. Just some thoughts...

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Thanks GJP. Enjoyed reading the post.

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RedMeatKoolAid -

"How much does Obama get from militant Muslim groups with branches in the US? Libya's Colonel Qadafi is excited about the prospects for change - There are elections in America now. Along came a black citizen of Kenyan African origins, a Muslim, who had studied in an Islamic school in Indonesia."

Heh, I bet you actually believe Obama is a Muslim. :-)

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Romeo - "obama keeps getting caught out as the lying snakeoil salesman that he is."

Heh, can't ya just smell that desperation? :-)

Romeo - Buckle up - Obama is going to be your next President. :-)

I also can't help noticing how it's often Republicans like Romeo who will point out perceived negatives in opposition presidential nominees, but they'll execute eye-wateringly selective amnesia when it comes to mentioning the same negative attributes - many times worse - in the current "president" they voted for.

How do you spell 'Double Standards'? :-)

It's this kind of voter that America really doesn't need.

Obama '08.

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RedMeatKoolAid, how much does Obama get?

You're making up this crap. Might as well make up an answer, too. < :-)

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Romeo - "obama sold himself as being "different", but he's proving that he isn't."

Your man McCain said he was against Bush's tax cuts.

Now he's not.

How is that any different?

Please explain (if you can).

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I hope we Democrats can do better than say "hey, at worst Barack is no more distasteful than Bush or McCain" which seems to be what the previous poster is saying. Two wrongs don't make a right. I hope Obama is the man of intelligence of integrity that he appears to be, not "no worse than Bush." We have been killing the Republicans for years, I thought rightly so. I would hate for it to be that we were just waiting our turn to be venal and self-serving. I know that's idealistic, but Barack says he's a man of ideals and I hope he will fight hard to preserve them.

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So, to recap:

The rookie Illinois senator has tarnished his carefully honed image as a different kind of politician — one who means what he says and says what he means — while undercutting his call for "a new kind of politics."

Heh, democrat Lemming Day will soon be here.

RR

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"Hypocritical" is the wrong word to apply to what Obama has done here. Reneging on a pledge is not hypocrisy. Refusing to accept public funds is more like change than not.

Anyway, we certainly don't need another president who can't or won't change his mind.

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"Heh, democrat Lemming Day will soon be here."

Yeah, that's what you were saying in '06 before vanishing as the results of the thumping the GOP got became apparent to those in Denial.

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"Doesn't anyone find it obscene that the guy with the most money wins? shouldn't there be some sort of legislation that gives each candidate equal airtime and advertising space and no more than that? Of course, they will still give money and favours to journalists in return for positive copy but it would go a long way to making the system something akin to democracy."

Two thoughts:

1) Obama was originally at a massive fundraising disadvantage vis a vis Hillary, yet he managed to beat her, so no, the most money doesn't always win (fundraising is hardly a constant, either; as Obama gained popularity, he also gained cash.) There comes a point where more money ceases to give appreciable returns. This is going to be about Candidate McCaine vs candidate Obama, and I don't think a few extra commericals or public appearances will really make that much of a difference.

2) Equal time = terrible idea. Do we really want to give Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, et al. equal time with viable candidates? Anyone can run for president. You just need a handful of signatures.

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RomeoRamenII:

So, to recap: The rookie Illinois senator has tarnished his carefully honed image as a different kind of politician — one who means what he says and says what he means — while undercutting his call for "a new kind of politics."

Barack Obama (4 Nov 04):

I was elected yesterday. I have never set foot in the U.S. Senate. I've never worked in Washington. And the notion that somehow I'm immediately going to start running for higher office just doesn't make sense. So look, I can unequivocally say I will not be running for national office in four years.

We all know how that one turned out.

Obama said he could no more disown Jeremiah Wright than he could disown his own grandmother, who -like a typical white person- was afraid of aggressive panhandlers.

And then he disowned Jeremiah Wright.

Obama promised his potential voters that he would pull out of Iraq unconditionally within 16 months.

And then he told Hoshyar Zebari, "if there would be a Democratic administration, it will not take any irresponsible, reckless, sudden decisions or action to endanger your gains, your achievements, your stability or security. Whatever decision he will reach will be made through close consultation with the Iraqi government and U.S. military commanders in the field."

How is that different from McCain? It's not, unless you misrepresent McCain's words, as at least one poster on JT insists on doing.

Obama said he would he would meet with Iran's president and mullah leaders unconditionally.

And then he insisted on a list of conditions before he would meet John McCain in a single unscripted townhall-style debate.

And now the flip-flop on campaign financing.

Oh, and this "change" thing? Did anyone see his team of foreign policy advisors? A team of Clinton administration flunkies led by Madeline Albright.

Obama's faithful believers will never admit they've been hoodwinked by the same-old-same-old (I mean really, has anything good ever come from Chicago's Democrat politics?), but it's not like they care. To them, it's all about voting against the Republican. "Oooo, take that, George Bush!"

A new kind of politics, indeed. Right, RR?

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I'm curious. How do Barack Obama supporters know when their untested hero is lying? He is making John Kerry look like a paragon of consistency.

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But I really do enjoy the desperation in the republicans posts. < :-)

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But I really do enjoy the desperation in the republicans posts. < :-)

"desperation" is the DNC replacement word for "facts"?

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RedMeat, Don't pour sand into our eyes. Even Qadaffi was critizing him for being too white than whites. He NEVER mention or neither is there a prove of suspicion of financial help. Your hate for the guy shouldn't cover your sense of truthness

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Hmmmm. After I wrote my 11:23 post, I stumbled upon a column at Townhall by Richard Collins, titled The Audacity of Abandonment:

If I were a supporter of Barack Obama I would be nervous. Why? Is it his inexperience, his radical connections, or his stale liberal positions? Nope. I would be nervous because he seems fundamentally incapable of sticking with his principles on a host of issues large and small.

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/RichardHCollins/2008/06/19/the audacity of abandonment?page=1

"Change" indeed.

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I loved the article, but I'd still rather vote for Obama and know we're going to pull out of Iraq, eventually. That we're not going to attempt to stay in permanent bases in Iraq another 100 years, if "who" thinks we need to stay. The republicans?

Even if we wound up with "NO" new president and the congress ran the show, it would be better than what we have or McCain.

But gawd, please keep telling me how terrible and uninformed he is. Even on my worst day, McCain is just another war-monger. < :-)

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Even if we wound up with "NO" new president and the congress ran the show, it would be better than what we have or McCain.

Is that the same congress that has approval ratings less than half those of president Bush? The lowest in history, in fact, for any congress? The same congress that ran on a platform of immediate surrender in and withdrawal from Iraq? The same congress that tried to undermine our efforts in iraq by cutting funding for the troops, but didn't have the stones to pull it off? The same congress that ran on a platform of doing "something" about high gas prices? The same congress intentionally sabotaging the oil industry in the hopes of nationalizing it?

At least you've recognized there is a congress.

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Obama has more individuals contributing to his campaign than any other canidate ever has. THAT IS PUBLIC FUNDING!

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a lot of federal court appointments granting judgeships for life go to prominent donors who are often undistinguished lawyers or not even lawyers

chardk1 -- I cannot disagree with your statement that many persons appointed as federal judges were not particularly distinguished lawyers, but I challenge you to name a single individual appointed to a lifetime (Article III) federal judgeship in the past 50 years (or, for that matter, the past 100 years) who was not an attorney.

As for Obama's hypocrisy in committing to accept federal funding (with its concomitant spending limits) if his opponent did so, and then reneging on that commitment, I think this displays Obama's skills as a politician. Against Hillary, he needed to portray himself as the "agent of change," and he did so quite successfully. Against McCain, he will need to retool his image in order to avoid being portrayed as being too "naive" or "idealistic" to protect America's interests as President. By showing that he is willing to take whatever advantage he can in order to beat McCain, he has shown that he is neither naive nor unrealistically idealistic.

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WhiteHawk

True dat in your 11:23 post. Every day obama looks more like the Washington insider he campaigned against in the primary. The same Washington insider he complained was corrupted by special interests and their money.

What's more, obama, by reniging on his pledge to accept public financing, gives yet more credence to the corrupt associations he has with chicago politics and the likes of Wright, Ayres, and Rezko.

Then again, perhaps this is what obama thinks is "The Change We Can Believe In".

RR

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That's them WhiteHawk.

The very same.

Pssst..Rating are that way because what they try to do, george vetos what the people actually want.

But I think george's rating may have even dropped lower than congress. Can't swear on that. < :-)

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While I can fault Obama on almost all of his political views I can't fault him for this choice. At least he shows a spark of political intelligence to not tie his own hands for no reason. After all, isn't he in this race to win?

While I could never vote for the Socialist Obama this article reminds me why it will be very hard to vote for McCain - he's just a lesser socialist without a clue. His campaign finance reforms effectively give greater power to the press at the expense of the people who are paying the bills in the USA.

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With this decision Barack Obama clarifies the Dems' identity: The Rich Lawyer Party. It was never about principles. Lawyers love this guy even more than Hillary. Check for yourself at http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/select.php?ind=K01

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"With this decision Barack Obama clarifies the Dems' identity: The Rich Lawyer Party."

Grasping at non-existant straws.

Is that the new strategy for McCain supporters?

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Weekend Election Roundup

If the election where today:

www.electoral-vote.com has Obama increasing again in the Electoral College.

Obama 317 McCain 194 Ties 27 Two weeks ago was Obama's 287 to McCain's 227, with 24 tied. Last week its Obama's 304 to McCain's 221, with 13 tied. The big change is Florida has moved from Republican into the neutral column.

The PBS Newshour -- www.pbs.org/newshour/vote2008/primaries/states/ -- is unchanged from last week, with McCain still leading with 227 sure or likely EVs (232) to Obama's 200 (217), with the remainer up for grabs.

Last week Real Clear -- www.realclearpolitics.com/ -- had Obama leading 238 Obama/ 190 Mc / 110 Tossup. This week Obama stayed the same, but McCain lost FLorida's 27, so its (238/163/137) If the Election where held today, and toss up states were included, Obama would win by a sqeecker 289 to 249. In the popular vote, Obama leads McCain 47.5 41.9 Obama +5.6 which is an increase of + 3.8 (46.2 to 42.3) from last week.

And finally Rasmussen -- www.rasmussenreports.com -- "The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows Barack Obama attracting 47% of the vote while John McCain earns 40%. When "leaners" are included, Obama leads 49% to 42%. These results show a slight uptick for Obama since he formally opted out of public funding for the Presidential campaign this fall." These data show Obama increasing his lead over McCain from last week ( 46% to 39%./ 49% to 43%.) For two week now, Obama has enjoyed a lead of five-to-seven points over McCaiin, which is the reverse of April and May.

The Rasmussen Reports with the Electoral College has Obama leading in states with 200 Electoral College votes while John McCain leads in states with 174 votes. When leaners are included, Obama leads 284-240. On Friday, June 20, Colorado moved from Leans Democratic to Toss-Up but Ohio did the reverse, moving from Toss-Up to Leans Democratic.

This is the first movement in the EC in months, a movement towards Obama

Conclusion: these data show a slight upswing for Obama. Particularly in the states of Florida, Colorado, Virginia, and Ohio which the Obama campaign is trying to make "battle ground."

Nevertheless, its way to early for any meaningful forecasts. We've got a lot of time between now and November.

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As for this thread, I choose to ignore partisan teeth gnashing/hand wringing and go with the facts: Obama's flip on campaign funds is not a deal breaker.

"Opting Out of Public Funding Unlikely to Hurt Obama"

Despite all the agonized media coverage of Barack Obama’s decision to opt out of public funding for Election 2008, the decision is likely to have little impact on Obama’s standing with voters. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 30% of voters favor public funding and just 16% say it is Very Important in determining their vote. These results are consistent with earlier polling on the topic.

http://rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/opting_out_of_public_funding_unlikely_to_hurt_obama

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Of course Obama's about-face on this and all the calculated lies won't matter. He is the Obamessiah.

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