Dean Weighs Historic Departure from Public Financing in Presidential Race

Howard Dean could become the first Democratic presidential candidate ever to skip public financing -- and rely on his own fund-raising to earn the nomination.

The former Vermont governor plans to announce his decision today, having said he would make up his mind after polling 600-thousand identified supporters on their preference.

If he opts out of public financing, it would be the first time candidates from both major parties abandoned the system. President Bush is already turning away public money for next year's primaries.

Doing his own fund-raising would allow Dean to spend unlimited amounts on his campaign for the nomination, which has seen an unprecedented flood of contributions over the Internet.

In the latest fund-raising quarter, he collected nearly 5 million over his Web site in just over a week,

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