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.