Well, of course he does — now!

Former Senator John Edwards, supposedly the third (out of three) of the top tier Democratic presidential candidates, has announced that he will accept public financing for his campaign — now that he’s fallen way behind Hillary Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama.

    Edwards New Pledge: Public Financing
    By CQ Staff | 8:02 PM; Sep. 27, 2007

    Bucking the trend to forgo the restrictions of public financing, John Edwards announced Thursday that he is seeking public money for his presidential primary campaign. He is the first of the Democratic field to do so. Republicans Sen. John McCain and Rep. Tom Tancredo have already qualified for federal matching funds.

    If deemed eligible by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the Edwards campaign will receive matching funds based on its own contributions. Those funds would be disbursed beginning in Jan. 2008. The trade off for the campaign is that to participate, it must agree to an overall spending limit of about $50 million and a limit on the use of personal funds. The maximum a campaign can receive is $21 million.

    The campaign sought to pre-empt any notion that the request for public financing was in response to fundraising struggles. In a written statement, Edwards campaign manager and former Congressman David Bonior wrote, “We have more than enough money to compete.” Bonior framed the move as yet another way Edwards is working to combat the influence of special interest money in Washington: “You can’t buy your way to the Democratic nomination – you should have to earn the votes of the American people with bold vision and ideas.”

    As of June 30th, the latest available FEC figures, Edwards trailed his main competition for the nomination, having raised $23.2 million in comparison to Sen. Barack Obama’s $58.9 million and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s $63.1 million.

    Obama has promised to accept public funds in the general election if his Republican opponent agreed to do the same.

Emphasis mine.

This is just more of Mr Edwards’ litany of hypocrisy; if he really wanted to accept matching funds “to combat the influence of special interest money in Washington,” he could have said so long ago — and put the pressure on his competitors to do the same. If he’s doing it now, it’s because his campaign really isn’t taking off in the manner he had hoped, and he’s way behind Senators Clinton and Obama.

And everyone knows it.

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