Candidates, we have a very special offer for you today. Behind door number one: you can show your support for public financing of elections by opting into the presidential public financing system, and in turn cast doubt on the viability of your candidacy! Behind door number two: you can speak in support of public financing but run a traditional campaign and be charged with hypocrisy! What'll it be?
Presidential candidate John Edwards has chosen door number one, and Hillary Clinton's gone with door number two and both are getting roughed up in the press. Edwards' decision to opt in to the public financing program has pundits praising his willingness to put his money where his mouth is in terms of supporting public financing of campaigns -- while others argue that it's just a sign of financial weakness in his campaign. Clinton, meanwhile, is raising money hand over fist even as she increases her calls for a viable public financing system for elections.
Barack Obama and John McCain have worked out a bit of a compromise; vowing to run in the general election with public financing if their opponent agrees to the same. However, that doesn't solve the problem of the huge influence of money in the primaries where so much of the debate happens.
Given the chance, which door would you choose?