SNEAK PEEK: Clock Ticks on Fundraising Deadline


The clock continues to tick down to the third quarter fundraising deadline on Sunday and the candidates are out in full force to squeeze late donations from their supporters.

But late today – a surprise announcement from John Edwards, who said he will accept public financing because the campaign should not be a "fundraising contest."

"This is about taking a stand, a principled stand, and I believe in public financing," Edwards said in an interview with CNN between campaign stops in New Hampshire today, ABC News' Raelyn Johnson reports.

Johnson notes that Edwards, who has lagged behind Clinton and Obama in fundraising, has not leaked his third quarter money expectations as he has done in previous filing periods. Johnson reports that the Edwards campaign says this is not a red flag when it comes to their fundraising capabilities, but rather it's about taking a step to curb the money in politics and make a statement about the influence of money.

"You can't buy your way to the Democratic nomination – you should have to earn the votes of the American people with bold vision and ideas," Edwards' campaign manager Congressman David Bonior said in a statement. "This is the most expensive presidential campaign in history, by far. And the simple fact is that the influence of money in politics – and the focus on raising money in this election – has gotten out of control. It's time to get back to focusing on the issues that matter to the American people."

Stay tuned – Edwards is expected to do a press availability within the next hour.

Despite the pleas of Newt Gingrich, former-Rep. JC Watts, former RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, and moderator Tavis Smiley, there will still be empty podiums on stage at the All-American Presidential Forum on PBS Thursday night at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD.

Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and John McCain will be absent but this gives Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter, and Sam Brownback the opportunity to speak at length about their positions and try and break out of that second-tier.

The forum begins at 9:00 pm ET on PBS.

On the trail tomorrow. . . Mitt Romney is in Utah raising campaign coin in St. George, and attending a 2:45 pm ET rally in Salt Lake City at Salt Palace Convention Center. Romney also headline on the "National Journal on Air" radio show on XM Satellite Radio's P.O.T.U.S. '08 channel hosted by Linda Douglass, airing at 1:00 pm on XM channel 1:30.

Rudy Giuliani is in California for stop at the Original Pantry Café in Los Angeles, followed by a visit to the Pacific Blues Café in Yountville and another stop in Napa Valley.

John McCain delivers the 12:30 pm ET keynote address at the Hispanic Business Expo & Economic Summit Luncheon held at the Marriott Renaissance in Detroit, Michigan. After that, McCain holds a 2:00 pm ET town hall at Macomb County's Corporal W.F. Bruce VFW Post, with media availability following at 3:20 pm ET.

Fred Thompson is in his native Tennessee for a 9:00 am ET stop by Brooksie's Barn in Jackson, before heading to Memphis for a 1:00 pm ET luncheon fundraiser. He ends his day with a fundraising reception in Drew, Mississippi.

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