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Obama Turns Down Public Financing in US Presidential Campaign

The presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee, Barack Obama, has opted out of using public financing in his general election campaign - a move criticized by the campaign of his Republican rival.

With the decision announced Thursday, Obama will not take any public funds, but is free to privately raise as much money as he can for the general election campaign.

Candidates who take the $84 million in public money cannot raise money from donors. Obama raised record amounts of money during the primary election.

The campaign of the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, harshly criticized the move, saying it shows that Obama is just "another typical politician who will do and say whatever is most expedient." The campaign faulted the Illinois senator for reversing a promise to participate in the public financing system.

In a statement, Obama said forgoing the public financing was not an easy decision, but that the current public financing of presidential elections is "broken," saying opponents have become "masters at gaming this broken system."

Obama said McCain's campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest political action committees, which have no limit on the amount of money they can raise for advertisements not controlled by campaigns.