McCain begins setting sights on Obama

Not surprising, McCain has begun firing shots across the Democratic bow toward Barack Obama. One has to assume that McCain may believe Obama will be the eventual nominee. Right now, the argument is over the use of Obama limiting his campaign to the use of public funds. Apparently, way back when, Obama vowed to stick to public funding if the Republican nominee would do the same. Now his story is changing, a little.

Here’s the report from Fox News:

John McCain threw down the gauntlet with Barack Obama for the second day in a row Friday, this time accusing the Illinois senator of trying to renege on a pledge to accept public financing in a general election campaign, a move that could limit Obama’s vast and swelling financial resources.

Obama’s campaign has said it will make no promise to use the public funds for the November election, even though the candidate previously indicated a desire to do so. The rules would restrict him to $85 million after the August convention. In contrast, Obama pulled in $32 million in January alone, while McCain pulled in $13 million.

“I made the commitment to the American people that if I were the nominee of my party, I would go the route of public financing. I expect Senator Obama to keep his word to the American people as well,” McCain said in Oshkosh, Wis. “This is all about a commitment we made to the American people. I am going to keep that commitment. I think the American people have every reason to expect him to keep his commitment.”

It’s McCain’s latest move to look past one-time Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and directly challenge Obama, as the Illinois senator takes the lead in the delegate count. McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, first called on Obama Thursday to stop hiding details on his congressional earmarks — even though a report showed Clinton helped secure nearly four times as many earmarks for her state than Obama did last year.

Though McCain said Thursday that he’s not counting Clinton out, by raising the public financing issue he’s already treating Obama like the party nominee.

To be honest, this is going to be rough for Obama only in the point that he’s now taking fire from McCain and Hillary Clinton at the same time. He’s getting it double-barreled now and we’ll see how he handles the both of them.

The New York Times originally brought this all to light:

The New York Times reported Friday that McCain’s campaign was moving to press the public financing matter with Obama. The article said Obama issued a challenge a year ago to only use the public money in a general election, and that McCain was the only candidate who accepted the challenge.

But since then Obama’s fundraising has skyrocketed, meaning he could have far more money by just using his own funds in a general election.

If Obama truly did make that pledge, and I have yet to see definitive evidence, then he will probably need to stick with it. If not, it will be a little blemish on his “change” theme of a new kind of politics.

Though clearly it would be to Obama’s advantage to use his campaign’s own funds, he’s been raising money hand over fist. McCain’s campaign, on other hand, is still in debt as far as I know though they will probably be doing better this quarter since he’s now the presumptive nominee.

  • Michael

    These reports by McCain are, at best, confusing. I thought he had already agreed to note accept public financing for his bid (and was getting deeply criticized for that).

    If indeed he and Obama made a pledge to use public finances, then they are currently both in violation of that agreement (and, considering that McCain has all but won the nomination and Obama is still in a tight race, McCain’s rejection of public financing is all the more glaring).

  • Jake

    I’m sure McCain is going to do all he can to criticize Obama because he doesn’t have a shot at beating him in the general election. Him and every republican wants Clinton to be the nominee.