McCain criticizes Obama’s position on public funding: matter of trust

By Julia Hoppock

Jun 19, 2008 5:06pm

ABC News’s Bret Hovell reports: Senator John McCain severely criticized Sen. Barack Obama’s decision not to take part in the federal public financing system for his campaign, characterizing the Illinois Democrat’s decision as a matter of trust.

"This is a big deal, a big deal," McCain said. "He has completely reversed himself and gone back, not on his word to me, but the commitment he made to the American people."

McCain was speaking to a small group of reporters in flood-ravaged eastern Iowa, where he had gone to tour the damaged town of Columbus Junction.

McCain said he was especially concerned by Obama’s decision to opt out of the federal financing system because he – or someone with his campaign – had filled out a questionnaire during the primaries that promised to take federal matching funds if his Republican opponent did as well. McCain has said he would do the same.

"Sen. Obama’s reversal on public financing is one of a number of reversals that he has taken," he said. "I’m especially disturbed by this decision of Sen. Obama’s because he signed his name on a piece of paper, signed his name."

McCain said he had not made a decision about what his own campaign would do in light of Obama’s decision.

The public financing system would provide approximately $84 million for the presidential nominee to use from the conclusion of the nominating convention until election day. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has already raised record amounts of money, and could potentially top that number through private donations to his campaign.

McCain tried to tie Obama’s decision to his character.

"This election is about a lot of things but it’s also about trust. It’s also about whether you can take people’s word."

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