John McCain continues attacking Barack Obama over his connections to Fannie Mae. Yesterday, Team McCain released a 30-second spot introducing voters to Franklin Raines, who has served as an informal adviser to the Obama campaign. Today they hit harder at Jim Johnson, who not only served as an economic adviser to Obama but also originally ran his running-mate search committee:
ANNCR: What Obama says…
BARACK OBAMA: It would be unacceptable for executives of these institutions to earn a windfall.
ANNCR: …Is not what he does.
Meet Jim Johnson, former Fannie Mae CEO. Fannie cooked the books and Johnson made millions.
Then Obama asked him to pick his VP. And raise thousands for his campaign.
Barack Obama. More empty words.
After yesterday, the Obama campaign knew this ad was coming soon. They tried to pass Franlkin Raines off as a mere acquaintance, but the Washington Post twice reported that Raines was advising the campaign — once using Raines himself as a source. Raines narrowly avoided criminal charges for his stewardship of Fannie Mae and had to surrender $2 million in cash (paid by, ironically in light of AIG’s failure, his insurer) and his outstanding stock options, which had been rendered worthless anyway.
Jim Johnson represents more of a challenge for Obama. He was no mere “informal adviser”; Johnson bundled money for Obama, and at least briefly helped run his VP selection committee. What else did Johnson do? He took over $2 million in sweetheart-deal loans from Countrywide Mortgage, through the “Friends of Angelo” program, while Fannie Mae did business with Countrywide. He hid two-thirds of his executive compensation at Fannie through evasive techniques designed to disguise it. In fact, both Johnson and Raines exemplify the kind of CEOs that Obama routinely demands regulation to control.
While John McCain tried to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Obama took boatloads of their money. While Obama talked reform and demonized CEOs, he took as advisers the very people responsible for Fannie Mae’s failure. Which candidate will bring change, and which will bring more of the same?
Update (AP): Does running a Jim Johnson ad mean McCain’s not racist now?