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The Baltimore Sun

Obama's financing is genuinely public

There has been much discussion about campaign finance reform on The Baltimore Sun's editorial pages in the last several days ("Buying elections," Oct. 24). The editors even asked if readers thought our system of campaign financing needed reform, and 62 percent said "yes" ("What Maryland thinks," Oct. 24).

This comes as Sen. Barack Obama sets records for donations to his campaign without any financing from the government ("Obama goes the private route to all-time leader in fundraising," Oct. 19).

His financing is, in every sense of the word, public. While it is not public government money, it is in fact public financing - it comes from the American public. The voting public has spoken by giving him its hard-earned cash.

The average donation to his campaign is less than $100. That means that Mr. Obama has reached people who have little to spare but have given because they put their faith in him.

That means that regular Americans, who have watched the rich get richer at their expense for the last eight years, put up their money to hear a different message; that Americans who have spent eight years watching their bank accounts dwindle instead of grow, their savings vanish into the pockets of friends of President Bush, have spoken with the few dimes they have left.

It does not get more public than that. Asking for reform of such a system would mean telling "Joe Six-Pack" that he can't speak with his wallet. Is that what we want?

Mr. Obama has plenty of public financing, and he did it without the federal government.

I guess that makes him a maverick.

Better yet, it will mean he was hired by the public, for the public.

Jeanette Nazarian, Catonsville

The writer is a volunteer for Sen. Barack Obama's campaign.

Breaking a promise to limit spending

Sen. Barack Obama's half-hour infomercial the other night was wonderful ("Obama's big TV push is effective," Oct. 30).

The only omission was that he left out the disclaimer he should have included at the end: "I am Barack Obama, and I approve of this message, even though it was paid for with private campaign contributions I promised not to use."

Leslie Kuff, Lutherville

Is tax fairness really socialism?

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has referred to Sen. Barack Obama's tax policies as "socialism" ("Presidential candidates battle over their tax policies," Oct. 30).

If "socialism" is making a guy with an income of $30,000 a month pay $200 a month more in taxes while I get to pay less, then just call me "comrade."

Dave Valente, Oella

Palin's wardrobe fit for a vice president

The writer of the letter "No 'hockey mom' buys a $150,000 wardrobe" suggests that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's wardrobe makeover does not befit a "hockey mom." I agree. It is, however, fitting for a vice presidential candidate.

My God, a gun-totin', final-g-droppin', working-mom conservative is scary enough to the liberal elite. But all that and an outdated hemline?

Now that's a crisis.

Sophia Montgomery, Perry Hall

Danger slots pose still the real issue

We were confused as to the reason anti-slots leader Charles E. Graham threatened to quit over state Comptroller Peter Franchot's "hidden agenda" ("Anti-slots leader threatens to quit," Oct. 29). But we are not confused about how strongly we oppose Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposal to legalize slots.

Let's get to the real issue, which is what this legislation to legalize gambling will bring to Maryland: i.e., crime, addiction and poverty, to name just a few of the problems.

Slots will take money away from those who can least afford it. If we are truly a democratic society that is concerned about families and values, this is not what we need.

Yes, we need more tax money in our system, but slots are the wrong way to raise it.

We need to preserve our values, and if that means less tax money coming into the state, well, let's find another way to raise the revenue or make the necessary cutbacks.

Lynn Pakulla Gary Pakulla, Ellicott City

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