Chuck Baldwin, Founder and Minister of the Crossroad Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL, issued the following statement through his Communications Director, Mary Starrett, in an Aug. 11, 2008 email to ProCon.org:
Bob Barr, former US House Representative (R-GA), in an Aug. 13, 2008 press release titled "McCain, Obama Use Millions of Taxpayer Dollars for Self-Promotion" on his official candidate website, stated:
"Unfortunately, too many people spend too much time prying money from the feds...And both parties are to blame. It's easier to list the groups that don't get federal handouts than those that fill their pockets every year. With a half-trillion dollar deficit and a $9.5 trillion national debt, we obviously can't afford to have all of these people breaking into the Treasury all the time...
But what can be more obnoxious than forcing taxpayers to underwrite other people's political opinions? As Thomas Jefferson told us: to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions that he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical. You'd think someone who postures as an opponent of special interests and government pork wouldn't expect the taxpayers to subsidize his own very special interest political campaign." Aug. 13, 2008 Bob Barr
John McCain, US Senator (R-AZ), stated on Now with Bill Moyers on Dec. 13, 2002:
"[Bill] Moyers: In your home state of Arizona, a number of candidates recently were elected to office running with public funding, public financing, which you supported, which you endorsed. What do you think about that experiment there?
[John] McCain: I think it's good overall. I think it needs to, like any other new experiment, it needs to have some wrinkles taken out of it. But we had more people run for public office than any time in the history of our state, and that's what it was all about. As I say, there's some fixes that need to be made, but it was a new experiment, and overall I think was very successful and interestingly the ones who are running, you know what they're telling me? They said, surprise, surprise, I spend my time talking to voters not to contributors.
Moyers: Do you think that could become a model for the nation as a whole?
[Editor's Note: In a Feb. 6, 2008 letter to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), John McCain advised the FEC that he was "withdrawing from participation in the federal primary-election funding program [public campaign financing] established by the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Account Act." However, Sen. McCain indicated that he would take public financing in the general election according to Associated Press, Reuters, Washington Post, and others]
Ralph Nader, Attorney, author, and political activist, stated in an article titled "Shift the Power" on his official candidate website (accessed Sep. 3, 2008):
"Reform our corrupt campaign finance system. It is now a well-accepted fact that our system for financing presidential and congressional campaigns is fundamentally corrupt and pernicious. The only way to ensure effective and honest representation by lawmakers is through decisive campaign finance reform, with public funding of campaigns." Sep. 3, 2008 Ralph Nader
Barack Obama, US Senator (D-IL), in a Nov. 27, 2007 "Presidential Candidate Questionnaire" from the Midwest Democracy Network, stated:
"I have been a long-time advocate for public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests. I introduced public financing legislation in the Illinois State Senate, and am the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Feingold's (D-WI) bill to reform the presidential public financing system. In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election. My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election. My proposal followed announcements by some presidential candidates that they would forgo public financing so they could raise unlimited funds in the general election. The Federal Election Commission ruled the proposal legal, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge. If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election." Nov. 27, 2007 Barack Obama
[Editor's Note: In a June 20, 2008 USA Today article titled "I Support Public Financing and Will Work to Make It Viable," Barack Obama explained why he supports public financing and why he is opting out of it:
"The decision not to participate in the public financing system wasn't an easy one — especially because I support a robust system of public financing of elections. But the public financing of presidential elections, as it exists today, is broken — and the Republican Party apparatus has mastered the art of gaming this broken system...
I wholeheartedly agree with the idea that we need to limit the influence of big donors on campaigns, and I've co-sponsored legislation to fix the system — legislation Sen. McCain does not support. I am firmly committed to reforming the system as president, so that it's viable in today's campaign climate."]
(Candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria appear below in black and white and in alphabetical order by party.)
Hillary Clinton, US Senator (D-NY), stated on This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sep. 23, 2007:
Hillary Clinton: "...I believe that the only answer to this entire set of circumstances is public financing, something that I strongly support, that I'm going to try to do when I'm President, because there is no doubt that the cost of campaigns, particularly to try to get on television with our advertising and all the things that people have to do in a modern campaign are just out of control..."
George Stephanopoulos: "Will you cosponsor the legislation on public financing that Senator Obama has introduced?"
Clinton: "I'm going to cosponsor anything that looks like it can move us in that direction, because my view on this is we're not going to get anything done at this point with the President, with, unfortunately, a Republican minority that engages in filibustering, but we're going to try to build a commitment to doing it.
There are some ideological, philosophical, even constitutional objections, but I think we can overcome those and I don't see any choice. We've got to do it. Otherwise, the campaigns are going to continue to do the very best we can. We've even added additional background check work that we think is called for. But at the end of the day, we should be moving toward public financing." Sep. 23, 2007 Hillary Clinton
Mike Gravel, former US Senator (D-AK), at the Aug. 19, 2007 Democratic Presidential Debate, Des Moines, IA, stated:
"...My colleagues have all said that they want public financing...and I asked for a pledge from all of them to immediately obey the law we have on the books to use public financing." Aug. 19, 2007 Mike Gravel
Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas, answered a question on a YouTube.com video titled "Huckabee on Campaign Finance Reform, and the Name Huckabee" (accessed Feb. 25, 2008):
"Q: "What do you think the major points of a better campaign financing law would be?"
Huckabee: "Great question. What are the major points of a better campaign finance. Some people see it as public financing. I'm a little, maybe, fearful of that because what you end up with is then taxpayers are being forced to pay for somebody's campaign that they don't want to support." Feb. 25, 2008 Mike Huckabee
ProCon.org emailed the Imperato campaign on Jan. 21, 2008 with this question. Mr. Imperato provided a response to this question and 26 others during a recorded 45-minute telephone interview with ProCon.org on Mar. 11, 2008. On Mar. 21, 2008 Mr. Imperato no longer met our eligibility criteria for inclusion on this site, and we stopped transcribing his verbal responses as of that date.
Steve Kubby, a Libertarian candidate and founder of the American Medical Marijuana Association, stated in a Feb. 22, 2008 email to ProCon.org:
"If by 'publicly financed' you mean 'financed with taxpayer money distributed by the government,' then no. The notion that I should be forced to pay for John McCain's presidential campaign, or that John McCain should be forced to contribute to Barack Obama's campaign, or that Barack Obama should have to write a check to my campaign is obscene. Americans should be free to support the candidates they like, and to not support the candidates they don't like." Feb. 22, 2008 Steve Kubby
Frank McEnulty, an Independent candidate and President of Our Castle Homes, in a Feb. 28, 2008 email to ProCon.org, stated:
"No more than they are now. I believe that there should be more restrictions on the donations to special interest groups and political parties to further weaken the hold on the wealthy over our political process. The argument that this reduces freedom of speech is wrong. Freedom of speech is preserved when everyone has equal rights and when a person or group can donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to a PAC [Political Action Committee] or party how is that preserving the freedom of speech right of the vast majority of Americans who cannot make contributions on that level." Feb. 28, 2008Frank McEnulty
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), stated in a Dec. 22, 2003 article titled "Dr. Paul's Writings: 'Campaign Finance Reform' Muzzles Political Dissent" on his official candidate website:
"Wealthy people will always seek to influence politicians, because government unfortunately plays a very big role in determining who gets (and stays) rich in our country. Our federal government has become a taxing, spending, and regulating leviathan that virtually controls the economy. Having rejected the notion of limited, constitutional government, we can hardly be surprised when special interests use corrupting campaign money to influence the process! We need to get money out of government; only then will money not be important in politics. Big government and big campaign money go hand-in-hand." Dec. 22, 2003 Ron Paul