As expected, Barack Obama has decided to opt out of the public financing system for the general election, declaring his "independence" in a video he sent to supporters this morning.

It's not an easy decision, and 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 we face opponents who've become masters at gaming this broken system. John McCain's campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs. And we've already seen that he's not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies running so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations.



Obama will NOT ask his supporters to cap their donations, an idea that had been floated by some campaign advisers. That would have been too risky, apparently.

The McCain campaign will point out that Obama went back on his word, and Obama will point to his millions of individual donors.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.