Official Edwards Statement: Challenges Clinton Campaign To Follow Him


Challenges Clinton, who said on Sunday she supports public financing, to join him now in ending the money game in Washington

Chapel Hill, North Carolina – Today, Senator John Edwards announced he will be seeking public financing for the 2008 presidential primary campaign. Just as he challenged the Democratic Party to stop accepting contributions from lobbyists, today Edwards is again taking the lead in ending the money game in Washington.

“You can't buy your way to the Democratic nomination – you should have to earn the votes of the American people with bold vision and ideas,” said Edwards’ campaign manager Congressman David Bonior. “This is the most expensive presidential campaign in history, by far. And the simple fact is that the influence of money in politics – and the focus on raising money in this election – has gotten out of control. It’s time to get back to focusing on the issues that matter to the American people. That’s why John Edwards has decided to play by the rules that were designed to ensure fairness in the election process by capping his campaign spending and seeking public financing.”

Since the campaign began, Edwards has focused on issues that matter to the American people – universal health care, the war in Iraq, education, global warming and helping American workers. He’s promised to end the game in Washington and has challenged the Democratic Party to send a powerful signal to the American people about whose support really matters by refusing to accept donations from federal lobbyists. Senator Clinton has refused to stop taking contributions from federal lobbyists, saying that public financing is the solution to ending the influence of lobbyists.

“Senator Clinton said she believes public financing is the answer to ending the influence of lobbyists and special interests in Washington,” said Congressman Bonior. “If she really believes that, she should join Senator Edwards and seek public financing, or she should explain to the American people why she does not mean what she says.”

Under the public financing system for the presidential primaries, the government will match up to $250 of an individual’s contributions to an eligible candidate. To establish credibility, a candidate must show broad-based public support by proving to the FEC that he or she has raised in excess of $5,000 of matchable contributions in each of at least 20 states. This is done through a threshold submission to the FEC. In addition a candidate must also agree to: limit campaign spending for all primary elections; limit campaign spending in each state; and limit spending from personal funds to $50,000.

Currently the campaign is working on the first step in this process - to make its threshold submission to the FEC in order to establish Senator Edwards’ eligibility to receive matching funds.

“Edwards has raised more than any Democratic candidate in history before this race. We have more than enough money to compete,” said Congressman Bonior. “The truth is, this election is about ideas – not how much money you’ve raised. And no one has better ideas for how to bring real change to America than John Edwards. That’s why we’re confident he can not only compete in this election – but he will win.”