Monday, June 09, 2008

Obama's housing problems bubble over

In addition to the well-documented chicanery of what went down when Barack Obama bought his mansion, with the help of recently convicted felon Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a new housing-related problem for the junior senator from my state has bubbled to the surface.

Liberal media mouthpieces have criticized bloggers and conservative spokesperson for bringing up Obama's past associations with individuals with a questionable history, people like unprepentant ex-Weather Underground terrorist Bill "Bomber" Ayers.

But just last week, the Obama campaign announced that James "Jim" Johnson will serve on the the Cult of Change leader's running mate search committee. And as the below Republican National Committee press release explains, Johnson is not someone who just stumbled his way into the Obama camp.

WASHINGTON – RNC Press Secretary Alex Conant released the following statement following Barack Obama's remarks in Raleigh, North Carolina:

"It takes a lot of nerve for Barack Obama to stand before voters, speak to the rising costs hurting families, attack his opponent on the housing crisis, and completely ignore the fact that both he and his campaign leadership have enjoyed housing deals that no average North Carolinian would be able to access. Obama’s failure to address the scandals within his own campaign and instead spend his time attacking others is the sort of old politics that will be rejected by the American people. Voters deserve straight talk from their leaders – not recycled rhetoric that ducks serious questions."

Jim Johnson, A Former CEO Of Fannie Mae And Top Obama Campaign Adviser, received Special Loans From Countrywide:

Jim Johnson, A Former CEO Of Fannie Mae Chosen To Lead Obama's Vice Presidential Search Committee, Received Special Loans From Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Mozilo. "Countrywide Financial Corp. makes mortgage loans through a vast network of offices, brokers and call centers. But a few customers have gotten their loans a special way: through Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo. These borrowers, known internally as 'friends of Angelo' or FoA, include two former CEOs of Fannie Mae, the biggest buyer of Countrywide's mortgages, say people familiar with the matter. One was James Johnson, a longtime Democratic Party power and an adviser to Sen. Barack Obama's campaign, who this past week was named to a panel that is vetting running-mate possibilities for the presumed nominee." (Glenn R. Simpson and James R. Hagerty, "Countrywide Friends Got Good Loans," The Wall Street Journal, 6/7/08)

While CEO Of Fannie Mae, Johnson And Mozilo Worked Closely And Maintained A "Close Friendship." "From 1991 to 1998, Mr. Johnson served as CEO of the Federal National Mortgage Association, also known as Fannie Mae, which worked closely with Countrywide, one of the nation’s leading lenders and loan servicing companies. In 1996, Mr. Johnson named Mr. Mozilo as chairman of Fannie Mae’s national advisory council. A 1999 article in the American Banker said the two men had a 'close friendship.'" (Josh Gerstein, "Top Talent Scout For Obama Tied To Subprime Lender," The New York Sun, 6/9/08)

"Property Records Show Mr. Johnson Has Received More Than $7 Million In Loans From Countrywide Since 1998, The First Coming In The Waning Days Of His Fannie Mae Tenure." (Glenn R. Simpson and James R. Hagerty, "Countrywide Friends Got Good Loans," The Wall Street Journal, 6/7/08)

At Least Two Of The Mortgages Were At Rates "Below Market Averages." "The Journal said at least two of the mortgages, among a series of loans made available to people Countrywide officials called 'friends of Angelo,' were at rates below market averages, though it is difficult to predict a market rate without access to nonpublic information about a borrower’s credit history and other factors that can reduce interest charges on a loan." (Josh Gerstein, "Top Talent Scout For Obama Tied To Subprime Lender," The New York Sun, 6/9/08)

As Recently as 2003, Johnson Has Praised Mozilo's Leadership Of Fannie Mae, Calling It "Remarkably Impressive." "Since leaving Fannie Mae, Mr. Johnson has lavished praise on Mr. Mozilo’s performance, calling it 'remarkably impressive' in a 2003 interview with BusinessWeek. 'By strengthening servicing in good times, Countrywide has done a brilliant job of insulating itself for the down cycle,' Mr. Johnson told Fortune in 2003." (Josh Gerstein, "Top Talent Scout For Obama Tied To Subprime Lender," The New York Sun, 6/9/08)

NOTE: "In Recent Months, The Job Has Been Looking Less Than Brilliant, As Countrywide Reported Billions In Losses, Much Of It From So-Called Subprime Loans Made To Borrowers Unqualified For Typical Loans." (Josh Gerstein, "Top Talent Scout For Obama Tied To Subprime Lender," The New York Sun, 6/9/08)

NOTE: Johnson Is Also A Bundler For Obama's Presidential Campaign And Has Committed To Raising $100,000 To $200,000. (Obama For America Web site,, Accessed 5/19/08)

Election 2008. It's about judgement. Or lack of it.

Jim Geraghty's Campaign Spot on National Review Online, throws some cold water on Camp Obama's lame defense of Johnson's membership in their elite (or is that elitist?) group:

Unsurprisingly, the talking points distributed by the Obama campaign in response to the Jim Johnson controversy include a lot of "Hey, look at that McCain adviser!" and nothing regarding Johnson's $21-million-in-one-year compensation as CEO of Fannie Mae.

If Obama keeps using the darn-those-greedy-CEOs lines in his speeches, could he at least insert the disclaimer, "except for CEOs who work on my veep selection committee"?

UPDATE: In those talking points is the line, "Barack Obama understands what homeowners are going through." Of course. That's why he had convicted felon Tony Rezko help him buy his house. (My note: Pictured on the right, from the perspective of the "Rezko lot.")

John McCain has taken note of the hypocrisy, as Fox News Channel reports:

"I think it suggests a bit of a contradiction talking about how his campaign is gonna be not associated with people like that. Clearly he is very much associated with that," McCain told Fox News' Carl Cameron in an interview today, referring Jim Johnson who Obama tapped to head up his VP search process.

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1 comment:

pathickey said...

WellDone, Rubes!

Hughie Hewitt is running your link at Townhall. The story has legs!

See you on Cable News, Bub!