McCain Blasts Obama Over Public Financing Pledge

By Jennifer Parker

Feb 20, 2008 11:44am

ABC News’ Ron Claiborne Reports: Sen. John McCain lashed out at Sen. Barack Obama today for going back on a pledge they both made in 2007 to accept public financing if they ran in the 2008 general election.

Watch the VIDEO HERE.

"Now I notice in a column in USA Today that he talking about other outside money … Look, that’s Washington double speak," McCain said. "I committed to public financing . He committed to public financing. It is not any more complicated than that. I would hope he would keep his commitment to the American people. That’s not transparency nor is it keeping one’s word to the American people to take public financing. I’ll keep my word. I want him to keep his if he’s the nominee and I’m the nominee of our respective parties."

McCain said he had committed in writing to take public financing if he were the GOP nominee, as now is all but guaranteed, but would now have to "re-evaluate if Sen. Obama or Sen. (Hillary) Clinton does not make that commitment." Clinton has never made such a commitment.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee first attacked Obama on this issue last week. He has focused his attacks increasingly on Obama, and less on Clinton, in recent days reflecting his campaign’s view that the Illinois Democrat is more likely to emerge as his party’s presidential nominee.

The Obama campaign hit back today.

"John McCain is in no place to question anyone on pledges when he abandoned the latest campaign finance reform efforts in order to run for the Republican nomination and went back on his commitment to take public financing for the primary election this year," Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said.

In his victory speech last night in Columbus, Ohio after winning the Wisconsin and Washington state primaries, McCain alluded to Obama, saying, "I will work hard to make sure Americans aren’t deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change."
Campaigning in Wisconsin several days ago, Obama said, "If I am the nominee, then I will make sure that our people talk to John McCain’s people to find out if we’re willing to abide by the same rules and regulations with respect to the general election going forward. But it would be presumptuous of me to say now that I’m locking myself into something when I don’t even know if the other side is going to agree to it."

"There’s nothing to talk about," McCain said today. "What’s there to talk about? People have made a commitment to take public financing. There’s nothing to talk about. We either keep our word or we don’t keep our word. I intend to keep my word to the American people."

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