Obama’s hypocrisy on Johnson continues Update: “Preposterous”

posted at 12:08 pm on June 10, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Apparently, what’s good for the goose has no relation to the gander in the Barack Obama campaign. After David Axelrod shrieked about Mark Penn’s connection to Countrywide during the primaries, the Obama campaign seems rather undisturbed about their own connections to the subprime lender. Despite a Wall Street Journal article detailing millions of dollars received by Jim Johnson in sweetheart loans from Countrywide, Obama has publicly declared he will stand by Johnson:

I am not vetting my VP Search Committee for their mortgages. You’re going to have to direct – it becomes sort of a – this is a game that can be played – everybody, who is tangentially related to our campaign, I think, is going to have a whole host of relationships.

“Tangentially related”? He asked Johnson to head up the search committee for his running mate. How much of a tangent is that? Isn’t the VP candidate rather central to the ticket and the election process? Obama makes it sound like Johnson is his caterer.

I would have to hire the vetter to vet the vetters. I mean at some point, we just asked people to do their assignments. Jim Johnson has a very discrete task, as does Eric Holder, and that is simply to gather up information about potential vice presidential candidates. They’re performing that job well. It’s a volunteer, unpaid position.

So it’s okay to have two ethically challenged individuals collecting information on possible VP candidates as long as they volunteer for the position? Obama’s campaign wanted to paint Mark Penn as a lackey to dishonest lenders because he represented Countrywide earlier. Jim Johnson ran Fannie Mae into near-collapse and got millions from Countrywide at below-market rates. Which connection to unethical lending practices looks worse, and does it make it any better that Johnson’s volunteering his services?

So these aren’t folks who are working for me,

Yes, they are working for you, Senator. You’re just not paying them to do it, but you hired them nonetheless.

they’re not people who I have assigned to a particular job in a future administration.

Did I miss where Hillary Clinton pledged to put Mark Penn in an administration position? Or where you pledged to keep Johnson and Holder from such positions when you announced their membership on your vetting committee? Once again, the bar seems wildly lower for the campaign of Hope and Change from where they set it for everyone else.

And ultimately, my assumption is that this is a discrete task that they are going to be performing for me over the next two months.

Ultimately, our assumption is that you will hire people for “discrete tasks” in your administration in the same way you hire them for your campaign. Ultimately, we assume that when you complain about others with connections to subprime lenders and corruption that you will avoid those connections yourself. Otherwise, we assume you are a hypocrite who spouts off about “hope and change” as a way to distract people from the fact that you have no experience for the job you seek.

Update: Jake Tapper couldn’t quite believe his ears:

Did I read that correctly? Did Obama claim that Johnson and Holder — two of the three people heading up his VP search committee — aren’t “work”ing for him?

I suppose that’s because they’re unpaid, but my stars, that’s a lot of high-level, time-consuming sensitive effort to not be considered “working” for Sen. Obama.

It all depends on your definition of the word “work”, I suppose. Who does that remind us of? And here we thought the Democrats opted for hope and change instead of the Clinton Restoration.

The McCain campaign calls this “preposterous”:

It’s preposterous for Senator Obama to claim that the leader of his VP selection committee isn’t working for him. Barack Obama has castigated Countrywide Financial, but now that Jim Johnson has been exposed for taking sweetheart deals from Countrywide’s CEO – Obama is in a state of denial. It’s that brand of weak leadership and hypocrisy that shows why Barack Obama has no record of taking courageous stands or making change in Washington.

Preposterous is one word for it. Effluvium would be another polite word, for a family blog.


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I think I hear a big bus coming down the road…….

uniclone on June 10, 2008 at 12:10 PM

It’s all just very distracting…

D2Boston on June 10, 2008 at 12:13 PM

“Everyone who is tangentially related to our campaign are crooks, racists or America haters.”

Boy this guy is good. Everytime another scumbag close associate is revealed he just says, “It’s not a reflection on me.”

peacenprosperity on June 10, 2008 at 12:14 PM

We are starting to miss Karl Rove & George Bush. Think how they would have taken this opportunity and spun.

We have a WEAK democrat but our candidate is WEAKER.

Anita on June 10, 2008 at 12:15 PM

Tomorrow’s quote:

This is not the Jim Johnson that I knew.

slp on June 10, 2008 at 12:15 PM

POPCORN! GET YER POPCORN HERE!

davidk on June 10, 2008 at 12:16 PM

Axelrod client and Obama Buddy Gov Deval Patrick of MA:

1) Used his position in the Clinton Justice Dept to force lenders to make risky, sub-prime mortgage loans under threat of investigation/prosecution for “redlining.”

2) Became a member of the Board of Ameriquest

3) Used his position as Gov of MA to personally force Citigroup to make loans to Ameriquest.

TheBigOldDog on June 10, 2008 at 12:17 PM

Ed –

PLEASE follow up on this. There is a front page story in the Washington Post about how Fannie Mae is a chief culprit in the subprime lending mess. While the article points fingers at HUD for regulatory failures, it does mention that the problem started with Bill Clinton’s HUD. What it does not mention is that Jim Johnson was CEO of Fannie Mae at the time when Fannie started large-scale buying of securities backed by subprime loans, and that Johnson had a massive political operation at Fannie aimed primarily at Democrats to make sure that there was no effective regulation of the company. Buying high-yield subprime securities massively helped Fannie Mae’s profists and earnings er share, which were directly tied to Johnson’s bonuses and those of other high ranking executives he hired primarily for their political connections.

This is a GIGANTIC scandal waiting to be unraveled, and 90% of it involves Democrats. As I have said before, Jim Johnson should have been in a jail cell along with Ken Lay and Jack Abramoff, not advising Mister Change We Can Believe In.

rockmom on June 10, 2008 at 12:17 PM

Clintonesque shamelessness.

T J Green on June 10, 2008 at 12:17 PM

McCain would be wise to pound Jim Johnson’s name into the public domain.

moxie_neanderthal on June 10, 2008 at 12:18 PM

Effluvium would be another polite word, for a family blog.

Indeed :-)

LimeyGeek on June 10, 2008 at 12:22 PM

Don’t be too hard on Obama. This isn’t the Jim Johnson he knew. And just how does this help Michelle’s daughters?

irishspy on June 10, 2008 at 12:24 PM

Barack Obama “I HOPE I can CHANGE the subject and you can BELIEVE in that !”

William Amos on June 10, 2008 at 12:24 PM

Yes he would. Jim Johnson had no housing finance experience when he was hired to run Fannie Mae. His onl real management experience was running Walter Mondale’s campaign in 1984, and we all know how that turned out.

Fannie Mae has been a holding tank for well connected Democrats for years and years. When anyone attempted to criticize Fannie Mae, Johnson either hired them or ran political smear campaigns against them to shut them up. Somebody really needs to get Jim Leach talking about this.

rockmom on June 10, 2008 at 12:25 PM

What the hell did he just say in that video? It made no sense. This is the great communicator? That was almost as goofy as GWB.

IreneFingIrene on June 10, 2008 at 12:25 PM

This just in, Obama has released a blanket quote to the press to deal with any future scandals:
“This is not the ‘*’ that I know”
With instructions to fill in the blank. The MSM replied “No Problemo!”

redshirt on June 10, 2008 at 12:25 PM

I really don’t see the Controlling Legal Authority that could even come close to unraveling this latest distraction from the real issues. Bunch of damn racists around here asking questions like this!

Fishoutofwater on June 10, 2008 at 12:25 PM

Without a script he’s not much more eloquent than W.

ronsfi on June 10, 2008 at 12:25 PM

This is such malarky. All this twit and his apostles are doing is immunizing themselves to do whatever they want. They, as always, are playing for keeps and their opponent is continuing the new tone that worked so well for the incumbent.

billypaintbrush on June 10, 2008 at 12:26 PM

Come on people, how is this issue helping Michelles’ two daughters? s/o

x-wing on June 10, 2008 at 12:27 PM

Don’t you know that to question The Chosen One is blasphemy?

CP on June 10, 2008 at 12:29 PM

Obama will bring Carter’s 2nd term to fruition.

I wonder which Dhimmicrat will break first and say that the emperor has no clothes.

Mojave Mark on June 10, 2008 at 12:32 PM

Mr. Johnson…I’d like you to stand right here and put on your life jacket…you are about to be thrown over baord…Mr. Hope and change will be with you in just a moment. ~B

Brian on June 10, 2008 at 12:32 PM

See, Barry, the thing about tangents is that as they progress, they get closer and closer and closer to you, to the point that even though you manage never to touch, the distance between the two of you becomes indistinguishable.

James on June 10, 2008 at 12:33 PM

Distractions! Too many distractions! Someone, quick, give me a fist bump…it’s aaaallll goooooood.

Wyznowski on June 10, 2008 at 12:36 PM

A great communicator, he is not.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on June 10, 2008 at 12:37 PM

Barack Obama “I HOPE I can CHANGE the subject and you can BELIEVE in that !”

William Amos on June 10, 2008 at 12:24 PM

Change the subject

MrC_5150 on June 10, 2008 at 12:37 PM

Wow!

That boy knows how to tap dance!

singlemalt_18 on June 10, 2008 at 12:38 PM

This is such malarky. All this twit and his apostles are doing is immunizing themselves to do whatever they want.

exactly.

MayBee on June 10, 2008 at 12:38 PM

ronsfi on June 10, 2008 at 12:25 PM

What? Because Barry can pronounce “nuclear” and “terror” he is only slightly more eloquent than Dubya?

Oh……..the debates are going to be classic!

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on June 10, 2008 at 12:39 PM

rockmom on June 10, 2008 at 12:17 PM

All the while they had Deval Patrick at Clinton Justice threatening the lenders to make the sub-prime loans or they would be investigated and prosecuted for redlining….

TheBigOldDog on June 10, 2008 at 12:39 PM

At one point, didn’t Barry say he was going to stand by Jeremiah Wright? How did that turn out?

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on June 10, 2008 at 12:40 PM

He’s going to make Bubba look like the Pope.

Slick Barry…

benrand on June 10, 2008 at 12:41 PM

Why is obama not wearing a tie in that setting? Were was he coming from during that presser, it looks kinda formal to me..

you know the only reason Ahamdenjad doesn’t wear a tie is because he views it as a Christian symbol.

jp on June 10, 2008 at 12:42 PM

It’s amateur night, folks.

mojo on June 10, 2008 at 12:43 PM

The interesting thing with all these cases is that there has been “zero” degrees of separation between O! and all these creepy characters and yet the MSM is so in the tank that they just give it a pass.

JimK on June 10, 2008 at 12:44 PM

rockmom on June 10, 2008 at 12:17 PM

I second the request to keep the pressure on. Jim Johnson is one corrupt operator.

Let’s see… that brings the total number of Obama’s highly questionable “judgment you can trust” associates to… 9, no 12, no wait there’s more… I think we’re going to have to move to percentages here.

Or else just count the non-corrupt people in the Obama camp. One hand oughta be adequate.

Gilda on June 10, 2008 at 12:47 PM

I am waiting for people to start throwing bricks at ABC News for daring to call the Messiah on some of this stuff.

If we can’t beat this clown in November we really do need to just bury the Republican Party and start all over again.

rockmom on June 10, 2008 at 12:47 PM

Just hop on (or under the) bus, Gus…”

LtE126 on June 10, 2008 at 12:49 PM

Jim Johnson could be the Gift That Keeps On Giving for Republicans this fall if they will talk to the right people. Some very prominent Dems in Congress are up to their keisters in dirty Fannie Mae money and have done Fannie’s bidding for years.

rockmom on June 10, 2008 at 12:50 PM

it becomes sort of a – this is a game that can be played – everybody, who is tangentially related to our campaign, I think, is going to have a whole host of relationships.

Chickens. Coming home. To roost, Barack.

MayBee on June 10, 2008 at 12:51 PM

I love it when he gets caught on shit. He gets so frazzled, whiney and wimpy.

LtE126 on June 10, 2008 at 12:52 PM

Obama makes it sound like Johnson is his caterer.

Or the person who assembles his bike riding attire.

geckomon on June 10, 2008 at 12:54 PM

Just hop on (or under the) bus, Gus…”

LtE126 on June 10, 2008 at 12:49 PM

50 ways to lose your campaign staff?

James on June 10, 2008 at 12:55 PM

Why is obama not wearing a tie in that setting? Were was he coming from during that presser, it looks kinda formal to me..

you know the only reason Ahamdenjad doesn’t wear a tie is because he views it as a Christian symbol.

jp on June 10, 2008 at 12:42 PM

It really doesn’t matter because he IS wearing a flag pin. Everything is a-ok.

HawaiiLwyr on June 10, 2008 at 12:57 PM

The big news of the day will be if the networks run this story and film clip on the evening news.

Wethal on June 10, 2008 at 12:59 PM

At one point, didn’t Barry say he was going to stand by Jeremiah Wright? How did that turn out?

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on June 10, 2008 at 12:40 PM

That’s just so he can better push them under the bus.

TheBigOldDog on June 10, 2008 at 1:00 PM

It really doesn’t matter because he IS wearing a flag pin. Everything is a-ok.

HawaiiLwyr on June 10, 2008 at 12:57 PM

I heard a radio report that the ‘limited edition’ Barack Obama doll has a flag pin.

I hope for the manufacturer’s sake it’s removable.

James on June 10, 2008 at 1:00 PM

I love it when he gets caught on shit. He gets so frazzled, whiney and wimpy.

LtE126 on June 10, 2008 at 12:52 PM

Living in his leftlib cocoon, not only is he’s unaccustomed to being challenged, he’s used to affirmative action.

I suspect he’s shocked.

JiangxiDad on June 10, 2008 at 1:04 PM

Without a script he’s not much more eloquent than W.

Which is why McCain has to get him to agree to the Town Hall debates.

pseudonominus on June 10, 2008 at 1:08 PM

OMG! This douchebag just referred to the people who will advise him on selecting a candidate for the #2 most important person in the country as unpaid volunteers.

Clearly there is no hyperbole too ridiculous to use in describing this ass-wipe’s dissembling.

He is worse than anyone has yet suggested.

Jaibones on June 10, 2008 at 1:13 PM

Clearly there is no hyperbole too ridiculous to use in describing this ass-wipe’s dissembling.

He is worse than anyone has yet suggested.

Jaibones on June 10, 2008 at 1:13 PM

glass jaw. lucky for us. nice voice though. would be good on Air America.

JiangxiDad on June 10, 2008 at 1:15 PM

Obama makes it sound like Johnson is his caterer.

Don’t be silly…he pays his caterer.

Jaibones on June 10, 2008 at 1:17 PM

I do think Barack’s class of “friends” has become a spiraling trend.

Dusty on June 10, 2008 at 1:18 PM

glass jaw.

JiangxiDad on June 10, 2008 at 1:15 PM

That’s a great call. He hates taking the punch, and hasn’t had to take many. Is it just too optimistic of me to suggest that he will actually get a few punches, eventually?

Jaibones on June 10, 2008 at 1:19 PM

And so have his excuses.

Dusty on June 10, 2008 at 1:19 PM

You’re going to have to direct – it becomes sort of a – this is a game that can be played – everybody, who is tangentially related to our campaign, I think, is going to have a whole host of relationships.

Extra Credit question in freshman English class: Diagram the above sentence!

Is Mr. Eloquence demanding that the listener direct the game, those tangentially related to his campaign, or their relationships? Joe Biden thought this man was, like, you know, maybe, articulate.

But let’s take him at his word, and direct the game!

Tangential motion = SPIN!

Steve Z on June 10, 2008 at 1:32 PM

Keep talking Barry! Just a matter of time folks.

swami on June 10, 2008 at 1:38 PM

Personally, I’d rather Barack did pay them. If he did, then he wouldn’t be as beholding to them if he wins than he is now that they are putting in a lot of effort and not being compensated for it. As it is, these “volunteers” will be holding lots of chits and will expect to cash them in for favors later.

Dusty on June 10, 2008 at 1:45 PM

Jim Johnson is also vice Chairman of Perseus, LLC, a giant investment fund that, among other things, owns the company that published Scott McClellan’s book and is collaborator in a biotech fund with George Soros. Its other vice chairman is our good buddy Richard Holbrooke.

Johnson also attended the Bilderberg conference last week in Virginia.

rockmom on June 10, 2008 at 1:47 PM

Ed’s getting riled up.

Spolitics on June 10, 2008 at 1:53 PM

uhh… umm.. uhhh… ummm.. uhh.. uhh… ummm. uhh.. umm

Chakra Hammer on June 10, 2008 at 1:55 PM

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on June 10, 2008 at 12:39 PM

You mean were not engaged in a Global War on a Fictional Civil War Southern Plantation?

ronsfi on June 10, 2008 at 2:01 PM

And now, Charlie Black is just an “unpaid volunteer” for McCain. Any other lobbyists associated with McCain can be brushed off as “unpaid volunteers.” See how that works? Obama just threw away one of his best arguments in the general election. If he even tries to nail McCain to anyone in his campaign who is not a paid staff member, the words JIM JOHNSON are going to be repeated over and over and over.

This guy has morons running his campaign. The first order of business in any campaign is to make sure you are not living in a glass house when you start throwing stones at your opponent!

rockmom on June 10, 2008 at 2:18 PM

Mr. McCain,

I can’t stomach the thought of voting for you. You’ve done almost everything you can to stab us Conservatives in the back, and I have no doubt you’re poised to do it again. But if you want my vote, here’s how to get it:

STOP SAYING HOW MUCH YOU “RESPECT AND ADMIRE” SCUMBAGS LIKE OBAMA. Put it plain. “I have deep reservations about the content of Senator Obama’s character and of those he associates himself with.” As much as I dislike you, I will vote for you if you’ll just, pleeeeeease stop calling the man “honorable.” How ’bout a little “straight talk”, huh?

He’s done nothing to earn respect and admiration. And the more we learn about him, the more we discover he should be run out of town. Can you not just tell it like it is?

pecan pie on June 10, 2008 at 2:26 PM

I know what Dukakis supporters must have felt like running against Bush 41, I guess. I listen to this idiot butcher sentences, and mumble his way through dense, meaningless statements and I wonder what kind of a candidate losers to this nothing.

Jaibones on June 10, 2008 at 2:46 PM

loses

Jaibones on June 10, 2008 at 2:50 PM

Barack Obama has castigated Countrywide Financial

Ooooooooo!!!!!! He castigated them!

peacenprosperity on June 10, 2008 at 2:51 PM

Jim Johnson should have been in a jail cell along with Ken Lay

Ken Lay is dead, was not in jail at the time he died and experts believe he would have been exonerated on appeal. Jurists stated after the trial that the prosecution did not prove he did anything illegal but since he worked for enron he must have been guilty.

peacenprosperity on June 10, 2008 at 2:55 PM

After David Axelrod shrieked about Mark Penn’s connection to Countrywide during the primaries, the Obama campaign seems rather undisturbed about their own connections to the subprime lender.

Countrywide may be in “subprime” shape today, and they do have a subprime division (Full Spectrum) but they are not now, nor have they ever been, fundamentally a “subprime lender.” And I’m not just saying that because I used to work for them.

Xrlq on June 10, 2008 at 2:55 PM

Obama makes it sound like Johnson is his caterer.
Or the person who assembles his bike riding attire.

geckomon on June 10, 2008 at 12:54 PM

“he’s an english professor in chicago.”
“is kids and my kids go to the same school.”
“everyone has a crazy uncle.”

barry always has an answer the msm will accept.

peacenprosperity on June 10, 2008 at 3:00 PM

William Amos on June 10, 2008 at 2:08 PM

Here’s the problem, Bill – candidates. I am increasingly of the opinion that the problem with our government officials is simply that they are of poor character. All of them.

Smarter people than me have noted that anyone who qualifies for the job, according to my way of thinking, wouldn’t want it. Self-promoting, vain-glorious, shifty, overly ambitious, attention-seeking, power-hungry, truth-averse, self-important dirtbags seem to be the only ones interested in running for office.

How will you convince decent people to serve their country in this way?

Jaibones on June 10, 2008 at 3:00 PM

You’re gonna need a bigger bus

drjohn on June 10, 2008 at 3:05 PM

Obama has publicly declared he will stand by Johnson

BO will stand by him until, like Grandma, he throws him under the bus.

BillyRuffn on June 10, 2008 at 3:45 PM

Ed, how does Johnson accepting the great mortgage deals make him “ethically challenged?” If a friend offers me a great deal should I turn it down? As far as I know no laws were broken. If I were a Countrywide shareholder I’d certainly be mad at the CEO for using the company as his personal piggy bank.

seanhackbarth on June 10, 2008 at 4:01 PM

Would be nice to keep this hackery up for five more months. Hopefully it`ll have an impact.

ThePrez on June 10, 2008 at 4:50 PM

What a moron!
He claims the guy doesn’t work for him??
NO ONE can believe that whopper!

ArmyAunt on June 10, 2008 at 5:46 PM

So I guess American Blacks in the Deep South prior to 1861 weren’t working for the man?

Maquis on June 10, 2008 at 6:16 PM

A lying weasel, plus he looks like he goes to the Mahmoud Achmadinejad school of “falafel salesmen on a Beirut street style” of satorial spiffiness.

What with this “no tie” with a suit jacket mode?

Gives off a creepy effect.

A “Wanna buy some couscous, or my little sister?” chic.

profitsbeard on June 10, 2008 at 10:23 PM

I love it when he gets caught on shit. He gets so frazzled, whiney and wimpy.

LtE126 on June 10, 2008 at 12:52 PM

He doesn’t have the self-confidence to admit when he effs up; he thinks he has to BS his way through everything. I swear, I think he’s just waiting for the house of cards to fall down.

Jaibones on June 11, 2008 at 12:30 AM

They build their houses out of cards in Kenya.

2Tru2Tru on June 11, 2008 at 2:06 AM

Tangentially related

Come on Obama, use words I can understand. I’m just a Bible hugging, gun toting, Jesus-loving hick. You’ve got to speak in single syllables.
(Btw – McCain doesnt like me either.)

abcurtis on June 11, 2008 at 7:52 AM

as does Eric Holder

Well, Eric Holder is very good at kidnapping 7 year old refugees at gunpoint and sending them to a communist prison. Certainly qualifies him for his job.

abcurtis on June 11, 2008 at 7:54 AM

“This isnt the Jim Johnson I know.”

abcurtis on June 11, 2008 at 7:58 AM

you can BELIEVE in that !

Obama being from Chicago, and from what I’ve heard on the Jerry Springer Show, also from Chicago, he would have said “you can belee dat.” On the other hand, “I aint did nuh’in.”

abcurtis on June 11, 2008 at 8:01 AM

What? Because Barry can pronounce “nuclear” and “terror” he is only slightly more eloquent than Dubya?

Jimmy Carter used to say “nukeyer.” And he was an officer on an nukeyer submarine, so he should know how to pronounce it.

abcurtis on June 11, 2008 at 8:05 AM