McCain's & Obama's Public Financing Pledge

For campaign finance junkies two very interesting reports came out today. One shows that Obama raised a stunning $32 million last month. And another shows that, until very recently, anyway, McCain's campaign was virtually broke.

January 31, 2008

For campaign finance junkies there were two very interesting reports out today.  One shows that Barack Obama raised a stunning $32 million last month.  And
another shows that, until very recently, anyway, John McCain's campaign was virtually broke.

Does this tell us
anything about how these two candidates might stack up against each other
financially in a general election?  Maybe
not.  An often overlooked deal between McCain and Sen. Obama last March to accept
public financing if they both got their parties' nominations is suddenly
seeming pretty important.

As David Kirkpatrick of
the New York Times noted almost ten months ago:

"Such a pact would
eliminate any financial edge one candidate might have and limit each campaign to
$85 million for the general election. The two candidates would have to return
any private donations that they had raised for that period."

But there's one more
wrinkle to this story.  Just two days
ago,  Politico reported that after a recent increase in fundraising (following his victories in New
Hampshire and South Carolina) McCain is seeking to get out of the public
financing program for the primaries.  The
Federal Elections Commission might have to sign off on his exit from the
program, which poses a problem given the current political stalemate
handicapping the agency.

What this might mean
for the "deal" struck between Obama and McCain regarding public
financing for the general election is anyone's guess.