From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:
(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) Barack Obama today defended his decision to opt out of public financing, arguing that the system cannot control outside lobbyist groups who will launch personal attacks against him and his wife.
"We've already seen attacks on my wife from the Tennessee Republican party," Obama told reporters, "I don't think that I am off the wall here to see that a lot of outside groups that are potentially going to be going after us hard."
He said his commitment to overhaul campaign financing stands; however, he argued that he is in a better position to withstand Republican attacks if he doesn't partake in it.
Obama said he will have to campaign harder in states like Florida in order to change misconceptions about him.
"McCain's a fine man and somebody who's been in the public eye for a long time and I am still relatively new on the national scene and so I've said before when your name is Barack Obama you're like AVIS, you've got to work twice as hard."
At a low-dollar fundraiser after the press conference, Obama had a similar message for supporters. He told donors that the Republicans will launch personal attack, "They're going to try to make you afraid. They're going to try to make you afraid of me. He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?"
Earlier in the day, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg asked Jewish voters in Boca Raton, Florida to dismiss false internet rumors that Obama is a Muslim.