http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/19/obama.public.financing/index.html WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama told supporters Thursday that he has decided not to accept public financing for his general election campaign. In an e-mail message, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said the decision means that his campaign will forgo more than $80 million in public funds. In exchange for taking public funds, candidates usually agree to a cap on the amount of money they can spend on their campaigns. "It's not an easy decision, and especially because I support a robust system of public financing of elections," Obama wrote. "But the public financing of presidential elections as it exists today is broken, and we face opponents who've become masters at gaming this broken system." Obama repeatedly broke campaign fundraising records during the Democratic primary season. Since January 2007, he has raised more than $272 million. Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, raised less than half that amount, roughly $100 million, over the same period. Obama's advisers argue that the Illinois Democrat has set up a "parallel" public fundraising system by soliciting small donations over the Internet. Two months ago, McCain criticized Obama for appearing to backtrack from a previous commitment to accept public financing for his presidential campaign. Steve Schmidt, a senior McCain adviser, called Obama's decision to opt out of public financing "a broken promise of staggering dimensions." "Obama's candidacy is based on words, and it seems like every day that passes, those words look emptier and emptier when judged against his actions," Schmidt said.