In a debate during the Democratic primaries on February 26, 2008, Senator Obama agreed with Senator Clinton that the U.S. "should use the hammer of a potential opt-out as leverage" to force renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. In a June 18, 2008, report from Fortune magazine, Obama "backed off his harshest attacks on the free trade agreement and indicated he didn't want to unilaterally reopen negotiations on NAFTA." Because the conditions on the ground changed, or because he was speaking to Fortune magazine, whose readership largely favors NAFTA? Change we can believe in, or politics as usual?
On May 16, 2008, Senator Obama pledged to meet Senator McCain to talk about foreign policy. He said, "If John McCain wants to meet me anywhere, anytime, to have a debate about our respective policies in Iraq, Iran, the Middle East or around the world, that is a conversation I am happy to have." Senator McCain offered to travel to Iraq with Senator Obama, but Senator Obama declined. (Anywhere?) Senator McCain proposed ten town hall meetings, free-form unscripted events with questions from voters rather than reporters, but Senator Obama declined, counter-proposing a single town hall meeting limited to the economy and held on July 4th, plus a single Lincoln-Douglas debate on foreign policy in August.
It's no secret that Senator Obama is strongest when giving speeches and rhetorically weakest when answering unscripted questions, and it's no secret that Senator McCain is very nearly the opposite. Of course, that's why Senator McCain prefers unscripted town hall meetings and Senator Obama prefers Lincoln-Douglas speeches. Both candidates obviously favor their own strengths, but is it really change we can believe in to say "anywhere, anytime" and then quietly negotiate as much as possible, or is it just politics as usual?
On June 19, Senator Obama announced that he would not be participating in the federal campaign finance program, becoming the first candidate to do so, breaking a previous pledge to use the public funds if his opponent would do the same.
Obama stated his support for public financing on June 29, 2006, and pledged in writing to accept public financing on November 27, 2007.
What would cause Senator Obama to break his promise? The public financing system hasn't changed since Obama first made his promise. Senator Obama claimed to be concerned about "so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations," but the only 527 groups that have been active so far are Obama allies like MoveOn.org, who have spent millions attacking Senator McCain. Those 527 groups have existed since before Obama first made his promise, too.