McAuliffe Won’t Say Whether He Would Self-Fund Potential 2020 Campaign, Accept Corporate PAC Money

Former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe (Va.) on Thursday dodged a question on whether a 2020 presidential campaign, should he decide to run, would accept corporate PAC donations or be self-financed as opposed to relying on "grassroots funding."

McAuliffe, who said he will make a decision on 2020 by the end of March, appeared on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports," where he was asked about Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D., Mass.) recent call for 2020 Democrats to rely on smaller campaign donations instead of personal wealth or corporate money.

"Elizabeth Warren said … no Democratic candidate for president should take money from PACs or self-finance, which would eliminate anybody who's raised money the way you had to or did as national chairman and the Mike Bloomberg's of the world and the others who might self-finance," Host Andrea Mitchell said.

"As national chairman, I got our party out of debt for the first time," McAuliffe said, prompting Mitchell to ask whether he would commit to not self-funding or accepting corporate PAC money.

"I will tell you this, I think the federal money is the most important thing. I don't think these super PACs— I know some candidates are talking about doing big super PACs; I'm not a fan of that," McAuliffe said. "I think you have to show federal money, that you can actually raise money. I built the national party's first small donor database in 2002, '03  and '04."

McAuliffe is a former fundraiser for the Clintons and served as the national chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005.

Warren, who announced last week that she was forming a 2020 exploratory committee for president, appeared on MSNBC last week for an interview with host Rachel Maddow, where she discussed her opposition to self-funding and PACs.

"So I think this is a moment for all of the Democratic nominees, as they come into the race, to say, in a Democratic primary, we are going to link arms, and we're going to say grassroots funding," Warren said. "No to the billionaires. No to the billionaires, whether they are self-funding or whether they're funding PACs. We are the Democratic Party, and that's the party of the people. That's how we not only win elections, that's how we build movements that make real change, and that's what we've got to do. We've got to win, but we've got to produce, and that's only going to happen if we've got a whole movement underway."