In explaining its decision to not enter into the public financing system for the general election, Obama campaign counsel Bob Bauer met with McCain campaign counsel Trevor Potter and, according to Obama spox Bill Burton, Potter "immediately made it clear there was no basis for further discussion," that they weren’t interested in any sort of agreement. "McCain and the RNC had spent months raising and spending money for the general election, and their basic attitude was ‘You’ll catch up,’" Burton says, suggesting that the Republicans were also turning a blind eye to the activities of 527s.
Potter says this account is not factual “This is not true!" Potter says in an email. "I met with Bob Bauer on a different subject (a joint panel we had yesterday in Rhode Island sponsored by the National Assoc. of Attys General) about 10 days ago. During that meeting, he asked what Sen. McCain’s position was on public general election funding, and I said we were for it, and hoped Sen. Obama would participate as well. There was absolutely NO discussion of ‘negotiations’ about participating—the word was never mentioned. What was odd is that Bob Bauer then made the argument to me that neither candidate needed public funding—that Sen. McCain could raise as much for the general election as Sen. Obama ‘within $5 or 10 million.’ I responded that Sen. McCain believed in the general election public funding system, and thought it was good for the country.
“So—no discussion of’ ‘negotiations’ and no rejection of negotiations—only a clear statement by me that Sen. McCain hoped both candidates would participate in the system. If they wanted to ‘negotiate,’ they NEVER mentioned it to me…”