With a Spending Cap, No One Can Hear You Spin

Edwards Camp Takes Taxpayer Money; Brags About It

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So John Edwards has decided to opt for public matching funds. Edwards told CNN: "It is worrisome seeing the amount of money that is being raised in this campaign. This is not healthy ... This campaign should not be a fundraising contest."

Of course, what any sane person would see as a tactic taken only because the campaign wasn't meeting its fundraising goals (or coming anywhere close to the Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama camps), the Edwards camp is now spinning as something done out of virtue.

From a campaign e-mail from National Campaign Manager David Bonior:

Yesterday, John put his money where his mouth is to end the money game in Washington, D.C. He announced that he would seek public financing for the primary—and challenged his opponents to do the same.

Will they accept his challenge? Only time will tell.

Got that? Multimillionaire John Edwards put HIS money where his mouth is. By taking public funding.

On the face of it, it would seem that the $50 million spending cap (along with the state spending limits) would severely hamstring someone who's in a race against the Clinton and Obama powerhouses. In other words, a lot of people might not even hear this peculiar spin.

Blogging at The Atlantic, Mark Ambinder takes a look at the implications and points out that there are loopholes to be found:

"An Edwards aide said that the campaign had run the numbers and concluded that they have yet to exceed spending limits. The arcane and fairly complicated allocation laws will help: if Edwards's campaign runs a television ad in Davenport, since 70% of the audience for that ad is in next-door Illinois, 70% of the cost of the ad will count towards Illinois's limit, and not Iowa's. And even for the Iowa portion, the campaign is require to allocate 50% to the limit."
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