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Obama Faces Questions On Fundraising Decision


From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:

(CHICAGO) Barack Obama will host a press conference today that is certain to be dominated by questions about his decision to opt out of public financing in the general election. John McCain has been after Obama since he announced his decision yesterday, accusing him of flip-flopping on an issue that he has championed for over a year now.

A major sticking point between the campaigns is whether Obama actively pursued negotiations with McCain about ground rules for financing the campaigns. Both candidates had agreed to discuss the issue once the nominations were settled. In a debate in Cleveland last February, Obama said, "At the point where I'm the nominee, at the point where it's appropriate, I will sit down with John McCain and make sure that we have a system that woks for everybody."

Although neither candidate met, campaign attorney's Trevor Potter (McCain) and Bob Bauer (Obama) met on June 6th, where the two discussed public financing among other issues. Bauer said he came away from the meeting with the sense that Potter was not prepared to talk about campaign finance. He went back to the Obama campaign and suggested that continued conversations would be senseless.

Potter, on the other hand, argues that the June 6th meeting was not a negotiation but rather a preparatory conversation that would lead to further discussion. Potter said he was "shocked" when he heard of Obama's decision yesterday, and surprised that the Obama campaign did not actively pursue formal negotiations.

Obama will also likely be pressed on the timing of his decision and whether his consideration of the pledge was genuine.

However, before he tackles questions on financing, Obama will host a roundtable discussion with seventeen Democratic governors. Noteworthy participants are Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who is rumored to be a contender for vice president, and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a long time Clinton supporter.

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