John McCain will use public funds to finance his 2-month general-election campaign, Politico reports today. McCain's decision to take the $84.1 million available once he's officially nominated in September comes after the GOP candidate gave back $3.2 in donations pegged to the home stretch. McCain has raised $72 million thus far—to $236 million for Barack Obama and $195 million for Hillary Clinton.
Team McCain tried to stave off this decision by hiring top Bush-Cheney fundraisers, but the campaign grudgingly decided it simply couldn’t compete with Democrats' enthusiasm and 21st-century fund-raising capabilities. The Republican National Committee will be allowed to supplement pro-McCain advertising—though that could leave it short on funds for House and Senate candidates, Politico notes.