Friday, August 15, 2003

Dean: Spending limits are for the little people.

No, really. Five months ago, Dean said that he'd accept public funds - and the associated spending limits - and he'd attack any Democrat who didn't:

[I]n a March 7 interview with The Associated Press, Dean committed to accept the taxpayer money. The promise was echoed by a campaign spokesperson.
"We've always been committed to this. Campaign finance reform is just something I believe in," he said in March. Dean also said his position was not based on any political considerations, such as the size of the field or how much money he can raise. . . .
Dean warned his rivals not to opt out of public financing.
"It will be a huge issue . . . because I think most Democrats believe in campaign finance reform," he said at the time.

Of course, that was before his recent fundraising success. Now, he's considering rejecting spending limits himself:

Dean said he still intends to accept some taxpayer money and spending restraints and suggested he has discouraged his staff from considering alternatives right now. But he left open the possibility of following President Bush's lead in rejecting public financing.
"Could we change our mind? Sure," he said. "But I really don't want to do that. . . ."
Dean cited Bush's plans to raise $200 million - five times the spending limit - as a reason for keeping his options open.
"I think public financing is a good thing. The question is what do you do with an opponent who can murder you from March to December?" Dean said.

It's a valid concern - but it was valid five months ago, too, when Dean rejected it.