- The Washington Times - Friday, September 28, 2007

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards reversed course yesterday by signing on to the public financing system he once rejected with the notion that he could raise more money on his own.

The 2004 vice-presidential nominee claimed higher moral ground in the debate over money in politics while announcing the change. But he made the decision after bringing in far fewer dollars than the two front-running candidates, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

“It is worrisome seeing the amount of money that is being raised in this campaign,” Mr. Edwards said on CNN. “This is about taking a stand, a principled stand, and I believe in public financing.”

Money for the public financing fund comes from taxpayers who agree to set aside $3 from their income taxes. Candidates who take from the fund must comply with spending limits. Mr. Edwards’ decision could put him at a disadvantage and undermine the perception that he can win the nomination.

Mr. Edwards pointed out that Mrs. Clinton recently voiced support for the public financing system. But she was the first candidate in history to announce she would opt out of the system for both the Democratic primary and the general election.

In the first six months of the year, Mr. Obama raised $58.5 million and Mrs. Clinton collected $52 million. Mr. Edwards raised $23 million, which would be supplemented by up to $21 million in public money for the primary, but his overall spending on the primary elections could not exceed about $50 million.

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