|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Mr. Edwards and his advisers said the decision was made not because of any shortage of money for his campaign but because he wanted to draw a distinction with his main rivals for the nomination, especially Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, on the issue of the influence of money on politics.
His decision, announced a few days before the end of the third quarter fund-raising period, belied the demise of the public-finance system. Until recently, all the leading candidates had abandoned the public system in favor of raising and spending far more in private donations.
His move raises the possibility of a two-tiered system for 2008, with the best-financed candidates spending freely from record-breaking fund-raising while the rest of the pack complies with complicated spending limits. On the Republican side, Senator John McCain of Arizona, once considered the front-runner, is also expected to accept public financing. Mr. McCain’s campaign nearly collapsed this summer from a fund-raising shortfall.
Mr. Edwards’s rivals scoffed that the move would doom his campaign by limiting his ability to buy advertising in key primary states or defend against Republican attacks in the many months leading up to the formal start of the general election.
But Mr. Edwards’s advisers argued that loopholes in the spending limits would allow the campaign to keep up with Mrs. Clinton, of New York, and Senator Barack Obama of Illinois in the early primary states.
At a campaign stop on Thursday in Conway, N.H., Mr. Edwards said it was the huge amounts being raised by the campaigns that had changed his mind. “Washington is awash with money, and the system is corrupt,” he said. “I don’t think anybody anticipated the amount of money that would be raised,” he added, saying it had persuaded him to “step up” on the issue.