Kerry Statement opting out of the Public Finance System

For Immediate Release                                                                         Contact: Kelley Benander
November 14, 2003

As you all know, this has been a difficult week in our campaign.  But Iíve been in tougher spots than this before Ė and Iíve fought back and won.  And weíre going to fight back now because I feel so strongly about the issues and about nominating a Democrat who can defeat George Bush.  That fight begins with the decision Iím making today to give up federal matching funds in this campaign.

It wasnít an easy decision, but I have no doubt it is the right one.

Throughout my career I have fought for campaign finance reform to limit the influence of big corporations and moneyed interests in our government.  I was elected to the US Senate without taking any money from PACs.

I wish Howard Dean had kept his promise to stay within the campaign finance system.  But he did not.  He changed the rules of this race Ė and anyone with a real shot at the nomination must now play by those rules.  And today, let me be clear:  Iím in this campaign to win the nomination and to defeat George Bush next November.

This may be the most important election of our lifetime.

We live in a new and dangerous world and we need a Commander in Chief who will both protect our country and defend our values.

We need a President who will fight not for powerful interests but for hard working families.

We need a President who will not cut health care for our veterans but make health care a fundamental right for all our citizens.

And we need a President who has a real strategy to restore our economic strength, and will put the power of government once again in the hands of the people.

Thatís the kind of President I will be.

Today, I also issue a challenge to Governor Dean.  Senator Russ Feingold has called on all Democratic candidates who forego matching funds to pledge that they will not spend more than the limit of $45 million until the nomination is decided.  I accept that Ė and I call on Howard Dean to do the same.  To show America that his decision was about beating George Bush and the special interests and not just about grabbing an advantage in the primaries.

In doing this, I will follow the law which requires that those assets be mine and no one else.   I am fortunate to be able to contribute it.  But this campaign doesnít belong just to me.  It belongs to our 200,000 on-line supporters who already have made such a difference.  So I ask them to help and to do more.  And I tell them now:  Your support, your contributions, and your courage can break the stranglehold of special interests in Washington.

Iím a fighter Ė and I am determined that we can and will win the nomination, we will win the White House, and we will send George Bush back to Texas and Dick Cheney back to Halliburton.