John McCain holds a rally in Texas.
From the AP—
The nation's system of public financing presidential elections is "creaky" and needs to be updated, Sen. Barack Obama said Friday, offering another possible argument for bypassing the three-decades-old system that has helped pay campaigns for the White House. ...Obama, who has raised a $234 million from about 1.3 million donors, said the limited amounts of money available from the federal treasury for presidential campaigns pose difficult choices for candidates raising large sums. ..."I think that it is creaky," he said of the program financed by $3 dollar checkoffs in tax returns. "The amount of money raised through the public financing system may be substantially lower than the amount of money that can be raised over the Internet, which presents candidates then with some pretty tough decisions in terms of how they want to move forward if they want to compete in as many states as possible." ...This year, the presidential nominees would be entitled to $84 million in public funds in the general election. ...McCain is taking steps to accept the public funds, returning money he has raised so far that was designated for the general election.
Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton would eliminate the federal mandatory five-year sentence for crack cocaine users as part of a $4 billion-a-year anti-crime initiative designed, in part, to steer many nonviolent offenders away from prison. ...Her plan also would revive several programs started by her husband's administration, including federal funding of community-oriented prosecutors and police officers. ...The issue of crime has played a comparatively small role in this year's presidential race, which is dominated by the economy and Iraq war.