This is IN THE NEWS in
VOA Special English.
Americans will elect a new
president one week from Tuesday.
As the campaign enters
its final week, some are still undecided. Two polls, from the Associated Press
and Investor's Business Daily, showed Barack Obama leading by just one point
among likely voters. But other opinion polls show him more than ten percentage
points ahead of John McCain.
Barack Obama has
collected record amounts of donations -- one hundred fifty million dollars last
month alone. The latest reports, though, show that fund raising slowed during
the first two weeks of October, when he raised thirty-six million dollars.
His campaign is spending
heavily on TV and radio advertising in states that either candidate could win.
These include states like Indiana, Nevada, North Carolina and Virginia that
have not chosen a Democrat for president in a long time. The Illinois senator
has also bought thirty minutes on national networks this Wednesday night.
Barack Obama is the
first major-party candidate not to join the public financing system for the
general election. John McCain agreed to fund raising limits when he chose to
accept public financing.
The Arizona senator is
limited to spending eighty-four million dollars in public money during the
final two months of the campaign. But the Republican National Committee and
other joint fund-raising committees have been raising additional support.
Senator McCain says his
opponent broke a promise to accept public financing. But Senator Obama included
conditions that could let him change his mind. And that is what he did in June, after his campaign started raising large
He told supporters that
"the public financing of presidential elections as it exists today is
broken." He said "we face opponents who've become masters at gaming
this broken system."
Barack Obama has raised
more than six hundred million dollars
in all. That almost equals the combined total raised by President Bush and John
Kerry in the two thousand four election.
John McCain says he
worries not just about this election but also the future if candidates no
longer stick to public financing. He noted on "Fox News Sunday" that public
financing was a result of the Watergate scandal.
That involved illegal
activities financed by President Richard Nixon's re-election committee in the
early nineteen seventies. Watergate, as well as concerns about the influence of
large donations, led to new campaign finance rules.
Public financing of
presidential candidates began in nineteen seventy-six, though legislation was
first proposed a century ago.
In two thousand two,
Congress increased rules for political parties with a campaign reform measure
known as the McCain-Feingold Act. John McCain and Democratic Senator Russ
Feingold were the main authors.
Jay Dow is a political
scientist at the University of Missouri. He says the parties have reacted to
those rules by raising more money among smaller donors. He says small donations
now produce most of the money that goes into the political process.
And that's IN THE NEWS
in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. I'm Steve Ember.