By TOM RAUM, Associated Press
President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney don't want your three bucks.
Sure, they'll happily take direct contributions. But for the first time since public financing of presidential campaigns began in 1976, both major-party candidates will likely turn down federal subsidies for their general-election campaigns— and avoid the red tape and spending limits that come with the money.
The public financing comes via $3 check-off boxes at the top of tax forms.
[Barack Obama's Rotating Campaign Themes.]
Breaking a campaign pledge, Obama opted out of the public financing program in 2008 and went on to raise $750 million. He swamped GOP nominee John McCain, who was limited to spending the $84 million he got from taxpayers. Romney won't get caught in that trap. Instead, he's on track to raise $600 million.
Both parties, however, will still take $17.7 million each in federal money for their conventions.
Only one Republican took federal matching money for the primaries: former Louisiana Gov. Charles "Buddy" Roemer, who qualified for $285,470 before deciding in February to run as an independent.
By the way, both Obamas checked the $3 yes box on their joint 2011 tax return. The Romneys checked it on their 2010 forms but have yet to release their 2011 returns.
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