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Obama Defense of Johnson Raises Questions


James A. Johnson, vice chairman of Perseus LLC and former chief executive officer of Fannie Mae, speaks at an editorial meeting in Washington, June 4, 2008. Johnson is part of a small group of advisers helping to vet potential vice presidential candidates for Barack Obama. (Bloomberg News)

By Dan Balz
The most important decision Barack Obama will make between now and the November election is the selection of a vice presidential running mate. That makes all the more remarkable his effort Tuesday to suggest that the people he has put in charge of helping make the decision are somehow not really part of his campaign.

Obama is on the defensive over his selection of James A. Johnson, the former CEO of Fannie Mae, to help lead the vice presidential search process, a role he played for John F. Kerry four years ago.

Johnson is drawing fire over his jumbo home loans from Countrywide Financial, a major actor in the subprime mortgage mess, that may have been below market rates. The loans were first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Johnson also has drawn criticism in the past for his role in generous compensation packages to executives of companies on whose boards he served.

At a news conference in St. Louis yesterday, Obama was asked about Johnson and the fact that the candidate has often criticized the activities of Countrywide. Rather than defend his choice, he sought to suggest that the role Johnson is playing is only tangential to his campaign and that it is impossible for the campaign to vet the vetters.

"Jim Johnson has a very discrete task, as does Eric Holder [another member of the VP search team], and that is simply to gather up information about potential vice presidential candidates," Obama responded. "They're performing the job well. It's a volunteer, unpaid position and they're giving me information, and I will then exercise judgment in terms of who I'll want to select as a vice presidential candidate. So these are folks who are working for me, not people who I have assigned to a particular job in the future administration, and ultimately, my assumption is, is that this is a discrete task they'll be performing over the next two months."

The distinctions Obama tried to draw raise other questions. Is he suggesting that Johnson, who is not paid, is exempt from campaign strictures that might apply to the lowliest paid staffers? Is he suggesting that Johnson, while overseeing some of the most sensitive work underway in the campaign, will act merely as a transmission belt for information scooped up from any and all available sources? Is he suggesting he would not select Johnson for a role in his administration? Or that different rules would apply to those he might select than those who play central roles in the campaign?

Johnson can certainly defend himself, if he needs defending. He is a skilled and discreet Washington insider and veteran political powerbroker whose advice and judgment are valued by people like Obama and Kerry and scores of other powerful politicians and business executives. Nor are all the details of the Countrywide transactions known, although the Journal story said Johnson received a favorable interest rate. A lawyer for Johnson told the Journal that the loans were within standard practice in the industry, given someone "of Mr. Johnson's background."

All of this will be sorted out in the days ahead. But in the meantime, for Obama to suggest that Johnson is floating in some outer orbit of his campaign raises questions about the candidate's willingness to deal forthrightly with controversy. Presidential candidates long have turned to trusted and loyal advisers and potential administration officials to help run vice presidential search operations. Is there any reason to think Obama has not done the same?

The last two presidents tapped the advisers who oversaw the vice presidential selection process to play enormously important roles in their administration. Warren Christopher ran Bill Clinton's search process in 1992 and ended up as secretary of state. Dick Cheney ran the process for George W. Bush and in a remarkable twist ended up as the vice president -- perhaps the most powerful ever. It is not unreasonable to think that Johnson could end up playing a significant role in an Obama administration.

There are many ways Obama and his team could be responding to this, but they are doing what they've done in the past when turbulence hits, which is to hunker down, stick to their talking points and wait for the storm to pass, which it often has.

David Axelrod, Obama's senior strategist, echoed the candidate during a Wednesday morning interview on MSNBC. "He's a volunteer and the job is just to gather information, period," he said of Johnson. He went on to say, "He's not leading the vetting. There's a committee that's vetting these candidates. He's part of that committee."

It isn't clear whether the uproar over Johnson is a passing storm or a more serious problem for the Obama campaign. For now, the campaign has decided to treat it as a minor annoyance that will soon disappear. But the candidate's response has raised questions about the candidate himself that could well linger past the moment.

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 11, 2008; 12:17 PM ET
Categories:  Dan Balz's Take  
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Next: Obama Returns to a More Traditional Mode of Campaigning

Comments

Hey Balz!

When are you going to be so high and mighty about Carly Fiorina's connections to Iran, Offshoring - and the McCain campaign?

Just asking...

Posted by: GeneralWashington | June 12, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I am very sorry and saddened that the so call " The Washington post" allowed these kinds of bloggers on this comment line. How can you allow people to insult, disrespect a presidential candidate? Are you supposed to choose which ones has offensive and derogatory language.

It is sad!!!

Posted by: TG | June 12, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Johnson's loan affair is new thing. I do not know when he took his loan, but whole mortgage stuff erupted recently, not before 2004.

No, Obama did not "just know the guy". He entrusted him with very important task: to find his potential VP.

Finally, Obama attacked Clinton campaign for similar links. Once you set standards high, be prepared to live (or die) by them.

Posted by: Mladen | June 12, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

what a stupid non-story. Johnson played a similar role in vetting Kerry's VPs back in 2004, and nobody said a word. The media simply got bored after a few hours of no breaking news and bit on this. Bunch of pathetic media dogs.

Posted by: freeDom | June 12, 2008 6:07 AM | Report abuse

How tough for him - to land into washington that is full of surprises. I guess even when he gets elected he will have to deal with corrupt practices of --GOP officials ---> still it will be him to blame.
Come on ---> Obama is blamed for every third person he meets--wake up---he is not Jesus to make all friends holy... even in GOP there you will meet people with such problems.
He will have to shove everyone under the bus until you trust him???
All people have faults including you who talk loud you are not spotless ... at least Johnson resigned but you are still here to lie about your perfectness or your candidate friends and friends friends have no fault! get up from the deep sleep!

Posted by: HowTough | June 12, 2008 5:46 AM | Report abuse

Reading some of comments below I came to conclusion that Obama must be some squid-like alien with mind-control tricks:
1) When in trouble, he releases ink and runs for cover.
2) He has good reach - but no visible backbone.
3) It is very difficult to get good grip on him.
4) We still wait for real Obama to surface on his free will.
As for mind-control, it works over MSM as well. Especially MSNBC, but I don't watch those. However, I do like octopus salad and grilled squid :-))

Posted by: Mladen | June 12, 2008 5:10 AM | Report abuse

Pulling out decade old economic sins of people close to McCain is not where most of Democratic Obama's supporters want to go. It is hard to find any politician which haven't supported some controversial measure.

Thing is, Johnson used his position to get a favorite mortgage deal from company which is business partner to his company. And he negotiated contracts between two companies. There is fine line between what he did and insider trading. Golden rule should be: do not mix private things and company business.

Posted by: Mladen | June 12, 2008 4:39 AM | Report abuse

Johnson is small potatoes compared to McCain's idiotic advisors.

McCain has chosen former Senator Phil Gramm as his chief economic advisor. While a Senator, Gramm helped deregulate the banking industry. Gramm's deregulation paved the way for the current sub-prime mortgage mess.

Phil Gramm helped run the US economy into the ground, yet McCain thinks Gramm would be a great economic advisor.

MCCAIN IS THE ONE WITH A SERIOUS JUDGMENT PROBLEM.

I don't want McCain OR Gramm anywhere near the White House.
NO MCCAIN in '08!

Vote for America's future.
Vote for Obama on '08!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 12, 2008 4:09 AM | Report abuse

I guess we can understand meaning of hope and change; you can *hope* there will be any *change* how things are done. Since he started his Long March to centre Obama looks more and more like Defender of The Status Quo. Right now, his campaign message is "Why not to vote for John McCain". Or is he still hiding his Inner Radical deep inside? Who knows for sure?

Now, while innocent little Bambi walks through political minefield, he manages to trigger fair number of land mines. After Jerusalem comment this is second this week alone. With previous campaigns, Republicans had to harp one single tune whole the time. Which was boring. And now they might have whole symphony by September.

But hay, look at bright side of it: Democratic Party leadership (who pushed the guy forward) will have easier job next year if they can blame all evils on (Republican) President.

Posted by: Mladen | June 12, 2008 3:59 AM | Report abuse

penny -the godmother of subprime lending- pritzker and diamond jim johnson...

penny pritzker is head of Obama's campaigns financial arm... funny to hear people say how grassroots obama really is....
so, what role will subprime lenders have in obama's admin?

never mind, obama's "what me?" and "I don't recollect" schtick and his supporters dismissal of any criticism is getting really old... .

Posted by: godmother of subprime | June 12, 2008 3:33 AM | Report abuse

"Until we get past that point, and truly dig into who is "running" him."

Good point.

Just google his friends and the people on his campaign staff. Follow the money.

Where did Tony Rezko get his money??
If Tony had to borrow a few million, where would he get it?
Ever wonder that?

The answer will blow your mind.

Posted by: plaza04433 | June 12, 2008 2:34 AM | Report abuse

We move from one denial to another regarding Obama's errors. I am surprised he did not simply say "this is not the Jim Johnson I have known", and leave it at that. That has so far been SOP, and has worked.

His campaign presents an aura of infallibility, sells it, then reinforces it by suggesting that anyone who questions such must be naive or "just doesn't get it".

Where the naivete seems to really come into play is in regard to this country not realizing that Obama is not in charge of his campaign. He has organized nothing, he is running nothing.

He is being run! Until we get past that point, and truly dig into who is "running" him. We will never know what we are truly getting if he is elected.

Posted by: Nicht | June 12, 2008 2:10 AM | Report abuse

Let's all take time for a collective moment of silence. Dear Barack has come under undue criticism. For after all, since he is power hungry and willing to do anything-- how dare anyone question anything about him or his people. For they are perfect. We in the "Bitterlands" know nothing, for we must be led by the "all knowing" Obama and his fellow robots.

Posted by: ObamaFan | June 12, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

I remember the good old days in which you could bitterly cling to your religion and guns in peace. Noone would bother you. Now all anyone ever does is talk about the religion/gun clingers. :(

Posted by: Rich | June 12, 2008 1:16 AM | Report abuse

The Obamabots are right. After all, it is not the James Johnson he has come to know.

I'm guessing one of two things is happening here: Aliens are coming in and invading the bodies of his friends and turning them into different people.

or

There is a virus going around which is affecting the mental state of his friends.

Either way, it perfectly explains why his friends are changing from whom he knew.

Posted by: Rich | June 12, 2008 12:59 AM | Report abuse

Obama is a douchbag.....and a lowlife. He belongs back in the streets of Chicago, not in a position that demands character and honesty.

Posted by: obamaisadouchbag | June 12, 2008 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Ah, imagine that, Obama changes his tune on Johnson. Glad he isn't my friend...I'd hate to end up under that same bus he's thrown Wright, his grandmama, Johnson, etc.

http://www.hellnobama.com

Posted by: Janet | June 12, 2008 12:44 AM | Report abuse

I'm thinking he will have to trade up to a larger bus to accommodate all the folks he is throwing under the bus.

We really have no right questioning the MSM's messiah. They love him and they think he'd be a bang-up good Commander In Chief. They obviously come from the finest schools and institutes of higher learning and are therefore the learned ones.

I'm busy bitterly clinging to my guns and religion in awe of their wisdom.

Posted by: Rich | June 12, 2008 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Why is every criticism of Obama called racist. Moron!!!!!!!

I wonder what all you racists and Republicans are going to do with yourselves when Obama is elected president of the US.

Posted by: Fromage | June 11, 2008 11:53 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | June 12, 2008 12:22 AM | Report abuse

I find it laughably arrogant of the Obamabots to declare victory in June.

Go ahead and insult 50% of Democratic voters, it matters not to me. You are just making people recoil from your quasi-movement.

What happend to the politics of "hope?"

Posted by: J in AZ | June 12, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what all you racists and Republicans are going to do with yourselves when Obama is elected president of the US.

Posted by: Fromage | June 11, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Now that Johnson has stepped down, this will be moot. No one will remember it in a few weeks. I guess it was a slow newsday.

Obama and anybody but Hillary in '08

Posted by: RealChoices | June 11, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

"Guess what...my biggest clients get a pretty good deal too. It's called business."from Dan
This was a PERSONAL loan to J. Johnson.
NOT A BUSINESS loan to Fannie May ..big difference..its not business..it is a conflict of interest as in trying to influence an official to give you preferential business terms that may not be in the best intersets of the official's company/shareholders like in bribery and corruption if you want to keep it simple.

Posted by: Prithi | June 11, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Now that he has been fired from his non job will anybody notice? lol

Posted by: phil brown | June 11, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

The presidency in the end is about judgement and character. Obama appears
to be very much lacking in both.

Posted by: Ge | June 11, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

I am sure that most democrats are rethinking their choice of candidate. He has no policies, people that work for him "don't work of for me" and you it seems more like the press is just letting is pass. Hillary should have been the candidate. How do we start a write-in campaign to have her elected? I sure hope that Barack, with his limited expertise and elaborate speeches that cover up his lack of true plans, will not be the next President.

Posted by: Chris L. | June 11, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Hillary for Supreme Court? LOL!!! Nice try but she will be President of the United States.

Posted by: Mandelay | June 11, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

TIME FOR A VP DECISION

Obama really only one choice that makes sense, egos aside, as he fights his way to the Oval Office.

http://pacificgatepost.blogspot.com/2008/06/obamas-vice-president.html

Posted by: PacificGatePost | June 11, 2008 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the Obama campaign that this is a non-story. I gave up my right to think for myself when I sent my first $5 contribution. Obama speaks for me. I no longer speak for myself. Whatever I had to say pales in comparison to the golden sounds coming out of Obama's mouth. This is a non-story. Any and all stories about Obama's poor decision-making and poor choices are irrelevant. He sounds so good when he speaks, it doesn't matter what he says, I know he'll take care of me because I think he said so. I can't speak for myself. I can't discern the truth. I paid my $5 over and over and now I wait until January 20th when Obama will take care of me. Obama is all. Obama is all that matters. Obama is all.

Posted by: Mandelay | June 11, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the Obama campaign that this is a non-story.

Posted by: Elon | June 11, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone else noticed the ever icreasing WaPo sells(AKA ADVERTIMENTS) that "POP UP"?

This sorry excuse for propaganda is now not allowing a "CLOSE"!

DIE BALZ! THE SOONER THE BETTER!

Posted by: harried | June 11, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

And make no mistake about it "SAMBO" you will turn the Tiger into butter.
That was something from my childhood, where this kid named "SAMBO" got the Tiger to chase his tale till the Tiger melted into butter!
Hannibal should have attacked Rome!

Posted by: harried | June 11, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Look, all the fat white pigs at Wapo will bring their ingrown hatred of Blacks. And all the fat Black hogs at WaPo will go a-whinning! KARL ROVE IS LAUGHING HIS ARSE OFF!!!!

Posted by: harried | June 11, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Um Um Um. Johnson resigned. Pitiful. Pitiful and Scary. How many more shady, immoral, misogynistic characters, i.e., Rezko, Johnson, Wright, that scary as hell Father Pflager, does the Obama have to "dissassociate" himself from, huh? How many more are out there? You gotta be kidding me. HILLARY SUPPORTERS-DON'T YOU DARE VOTE FOR THIS HIDEOUS CANDIDATE, THIS RAW BEGINNER WHO WILL NEVER BE READY FOR PRIME TIME-HE HAS NONE OF THE QUALITIES THAT ARE NEEDED TO LEAD THE WORLD'S ONLY SUPERPOWER-HE HAS BEEN AN EFF-OFF HIS ENTIRE LIFE, HAS DONE NOTHING TO GAIN EXPERTISE, TO CREATE JOBS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR BY RUNNING A BUSINESS OR BEING A CEO OF A CORPORATION, HE'S NEVER BEEN IN THE MILITARY OR HAD A COMMAND, HE'S NEVER PUSHED THROUGH AN EXTENSIVE OR COMPLICATED PIECE OF LEGISLATION, VOTING "ABSENT" MOST OF THE TIME, HE WAS NEVER A TRIAL LAWYER, WHICH TEACHES YOU A LOT ABOUT COMPROMISE, ABOUT PERSUASION, NO THAT WAS ALL TOO "DIFFICULT" FOR HIM-HE'S ALWAYS LOOKING FOR THE EASY WAY OUT-A COKEHEAD PERSONALITY IF EVER THERE WAS ONE-GET HIM OUTTA MY SIGHT PLEASE-HE MAKES ME ILL TO LOOK AT HIM!

Posted by: Schmetterling | June 11, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

To the poster of "Obama's Indictment": One reads with some concern your drivel until one hits something like "Obama is a member of the Syrian Mafia".

Ha HA, good one! Your story, replete with details, looks worrysome, but it falls apart under scrutiny. If it wasn't made up, from "whole cloth", you have simply exchanged Obama's name in place of those actually involved. No doubt you can find contributors with names that sound like Syrians (read terrorist), but the fact is, people with names like that are better U.S. citizens than a smelly little weasel like yourself will ever aspire to be! Do you really think people are stupid enough to believe that this would not be out there in the "real" media if there were a whisper of truth in it?

Another "whitey" tape, another Larry Sinclair, another failed smear tactic. If this is all you really have, say hello to President Barack HUSSEIN Obama.

Posted by: Ed | June 11, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

There is a line, I think it was Kinky Richard by the Bard, where a messenger comes in screaming spmething like:
"Your Royal Highness, the friggin peasants are uprising, what will we ever do?"
And Olde Kinky Dick said:
"FIRST WE MUST KILL ALL THE LAWYERS!"

First act, Second scene!!

Posted by: harried | June 11, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

YES WILL MR. BALZ BE DOING A STORY ON MS. CARLY FIORINA FROM THE MCCAIN CAMP LIKE HE DID TOO MR. JOHNSON???

Posted by: ANNA | June 11, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

OK. All you folks jumping all over Johnson and Obama, please remember that the Republicans are *running* one of the Keating 5, as in Senator John McCain. Yes, it was 1991, and we've forgiven him. So Johnson resigns and we move on, just as McCain dismissed half his campaign staff for being lobbyists, and we've moved on. If Obama is guilty of poor judgment than so is McCain, and Hillary had her share of lobbyist problems on her staff as well. So let's not pretend this problem is somehow unique to Obama, or is somehow a crisis.

Posted by: Michael | June 11, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Obama continues to divide the party, Obama continues to put thinking people off the party line. Obama won't get my vote. Even if he were to suddenly begin to talk to Hillary supporters, HIS supporters have convinced me I want nothing to do with the man. There is no mass mania that could possibly be good for the country in the long run. I'll vote *present* in November just like he did time and time again, choosing not to vote on critical bills that he later took credit for. He's a Johnny Come Lately and his politics blow from one direction to the other with the wind. He has no history to speak for him and his long time associates are crooks and liars.

Posted by: maggie --still a Hillary supporter | June 11, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

@ FoxyBrown:

I guess you could ask him about things that actually matter, like where he stands on policies or about his voting record. A revolutionary concept, I know...

Posted by: Piter | June 11, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

James A. Johnson is a serial executive compensation abuser. At least noted management guru Dr. W. Edwards Deming's teachings lead to such a conclusion. That and the evidence from SEC filing:

http://peureport.blogspot.com/

Republicans crying foul are the pot calling the kettle black. The red and blue franchises compete for the right to send yachtloads of business to their friends. A pox on both their political houses.

Posted by: Alan | June 11, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Notice how the Obama folks always try to say everything with him is a non-issue. We can't ask him about his church (TUCC), his pastor (Wright), his mentor (Pfleger), his fundraiser and friend (Rezko), his other good friend who happens to be a former terrorist (Khalidi), his other friend who is an unrepentant terrorist (Ayres), his evil America hating wife (Michelle), his vp voter home loan scam friend (Johnson). I mean damn, what can we ask him about? I guess we should just give him the keys to the White House now and dispense with the formalities.

Posted by: FoxyBrown | June 11, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

It's funny to watch the LA times and Washington Post with their "JERRY SPRINGER" comment columns. It ain't turning into cash, so it's like a format that needs formaldehyde to stop the stink! But they don't know it because they have cell phones in their ears, a bottle of tap water strapped to their "WORKOUT TOWEL", and no friggin clue about the weather!

Welcome to the "HOTEL CALIFORNIA"!

Posted by: harried | June 11, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

@ Sue and Richard and Joey:

my post about Barack HUSSEIN Obama and terrorist fist bumps, flag pins etc. was all sarcasm.
____________________________________

What you [need*],-- Sue and yes you too Dick&Joe'Y--, is a good swift, size 13 steel-toed, boot up your arses!

*added for comprehension purposes only.

Posted by: harried | June 11, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Dan, you could spend your time better talking about the loans the federal government has been taking in order to keep itself afloat for most of the past 8 years. They have all but used up their latest cash advance from 2007, and they've got about $300-billion left to get them past election day. But according to the value system embraced by our journalists, that's a non-story, while Mr. Johnson's interest rate on $7-million is a major controversy.

So just to help out: the current debt ceiling is $9.8-trillion, and Congress has used up $9.5-trillion of that. The projected deficit for 2009 is now $409-billion, and the administration's projection of a 2.7% growth rate for our economy between now and 2012 is starting to look a little 'iffy', wouldn't you agree? They're also projecting a budget surplus in 2012, but that's based on the assumption that the tax-cuts Bush passed are allowed to expire in 2010, on top of their delusional expectations of economic growth.

So it stands to reason, with our total national debt at around $12.2-trillion, if we just keep going as we are, the national debt will exceed our GDP (currently $14-trillion) sometime between now and then.

Another interesting fact: when it becomes necessary to take another cash advance from China, probably sometime in September or October of this year, the House of Representatives has arranged things (thanks to Congressman Gephardt) so they don't actually have to vote for the money. Unfortunately, the Senate hasn't gotten around to taking themselves off that hook yet, so we will get to see them squirming in the spotlight as they vote to take another trillion or so out of the pockets of a generation of Americans who are too young to vote right now.

I would say that this non-news item raises some questions as to the ability of the Washington press corps to recognize issues of substance over tempests in teapots.

Posted by: ted in pdx | June 11, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

@ Sue and Richard and Joey:

my post about Barack HUSSEIN Obama and terrorist fist bumps, flag pins etc. was all sarcasm.
____________________________________

What you,-- Sue and yes you too Dick&Joe'Y--, is a good swift, size 13 steel-toed, boot up your arses!

Posted by: harried | June 11, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

The supreme irony is that the RNC had the balls (no pun intended) to remind the press that Obama's campaign had the gall to criticize Mark Penn for representing Countrywide in late 2007 through Burston-Marseiller.

Of course, they forgot to mention that McCain senior advisor Charlie Black is a top executive at BM, yet another shady lobbyist on his team representing some of the nastiest corporations (Blackwater, Phillip Morris, et al) and regimes on the planet.

I won't even go into the role McCain's other top advisor, former Sen. Phil Gramm, played in the subprime crisis.

Posted by: Mortgage Ledger | June 11, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

If oil company profits were zero, do you know what the price of gas would be? Exactly the same.
Posted by: Bob | June 11, 2008 4:36 PM
__________________________________

Hey Bob, you have a MBA from Harvard too, right, ala BUSH?
What is it about the concept of "CAPITALISM" that you can't grasp?
1-MONEY MAKES MONEY!
2-YOU CAN BUY ANYTHING!
3-IF YOU'RE SO SMART WHY AINTCHA RICH?
4-FEEDING THE GREED ADDICTION IS BAD?

Posted by: harried | June 11, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

@ Sue and Richard and Joey:

my post about Barack HUSSEIN Obama and terrorist fist bumps, flag pins etc. was all sarcasm. I'm just sort of aping crat3 and every other conspiracy nut and "true patriot" that these forums seem to attract in great numbers. I'm surprised you didn't get it, but maybe that's just a tribute to my skills as a writer ;)

Posted by: Piter | June 11, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Barack is digging his own grave, by parsing words such as Mr. Johnson "does not work for me".That is a flagrant lie. He criticizes Country Wide Mortgage to grand applause but then hires an insider flunky like Johnsen. Johnson runs a George Soros firm, Soros owns the publisher of Scott "clueless" McClellan book.Who really wrote it Scotty?? Gee I wonder if Barack's puppet strings with the anti-American Soros as puppetmaster are showing. Oh yes, Move-On.org founded and funded by Soros and others is Baracks biggest backer. It is falling apart day by day, and even Keith and Chris hourly cheerleading will not save this inept candidate. I think coming out of Chicago politics will be his demise in the end. No one is clean there, and the microscope will be employed, as it should be.
Bill P

Posted by: Bill P | June 11, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Can someone out there on the east coast and south-east (yes, you guys with your Confederate flags) please call a stop to this, all the tribalism, etc. on this blog about 1 Obama advisor, and focus on the fact that Mr. McCain, like Mr. Bush, wants to spend your tax dollars on indefinite millitary expenditures in Iraq?

Posted by: mountainman | June 11, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

If oil company profits were zero, do you know what the price of gas would be? Exactly the same.
Posted by: Bob | June 11, 2008 4:36 PM
__________________________________

Hey Bob, you have a MBA from Harvard too, right?
What is it about the concept of "CAPITALISM" that you can't grasp?
1-MONEY MAKES MONEY?
2-YOU CAN BUY ANYTHING?
3-FEEDING THE GREED ADDICTION IS BAD?

Posted by: harried | June 11, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

AND SO IT BEGINS, MORE AND MORE OBAMA BAD JUDGEMENT! SHOULD HAVE KEPT CLINTON

Posted by: OBAMA BAD JUDGEMENT | June 11, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Trouble is most people think the way they have been taught.
That's why most Jews had a JewMother, most Catholics had an Irish drunk for a Father, and most Taliban like the smell of a sweating woman buried in a Burka!

Posted by: harried | June 11, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

If oil company profits were zero, do you know what the price of gas would be? Exactly the same. Why, because as long as China demands the same goods as we do (gasoline), the price will be the price.

So, how would a tax change that? Only liberal logic holds that taxing goods will bring the price down. I thought we voted Jimmy Carter out!

Posted by: Bob | June 11, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

tankas, it takes lots, lots, lots of money nowaday to find oil; the technology is not cheap. I would image lots of U.S. companies are making more profits than some of the oil companies. The oil workers take risks working on the rigs and some are seriously injured all the time; some are killed. It's tough working off shore.

The truth is that the Middle Eastern countries are the ones profiting from the oil profits. Have you wondered why oil started going up when Obama became a viable candidate for U.S. president; then when he became the presumed Democratis candidate, a barrel of oil jumped over $10 in one day??? Who is behind this? Someone or some countries that want Obama to win. Bet oil will go down after November.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 11, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Lynn -
You and your CAPS should move to S. Africa.

Posted by: mountainman | June 11, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey Balz, "SUCK MY JOHNSON, BALZ AND ALL"!!!
Just thought I had left out something in my previous post folks.

Posted by: harried | June 11, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

For the record, please correct your quote. He said, "These AREN'T people who are working for me" Not the opposite as your story indicates. That is a major difference !!

Posted by: Tom | June 11, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I suppose that all your friends are perfect angels with no problems or troubles ever in their life. The fact is no one is perfect. He who is without sin let him cast the first stone. Obama is not perfect but neither is McCain or Hilary. It is not the perfection or the lack there of that persuades my discussions. My high school friends were drugies. So I guess according to guilty by association I was a drugie to . ONLY I never once in my life used an illegal substance. My parents have smoked all my life. Once again I am guilty by association even though I have never in my life taken a single puff of smoke from a cancer stick. McCain has shady characters in his organization and life too. The Jew hating preacher of John McCain(that John sought after) was in the news what 8 hours. Yet this is the third day I have heard this story. I do not judge a person based on their mistakes or who they associate with. The fact is the republican party has always been in favor of the rich. 95% of the country's wealth is owned by 5% of the population. Mr. Obama wants to raise taxes on the rich and lower taxes for the mid and lower classes. This is why I will vote the way I vote. I am tired of the rich getting richer from our blood and sweat. The rich make more money they should pay more taxes. But with the GOP in office the pay less. It is time to change that. Only the rich and those foolish enough to follow the rich wants McCain in office. This capitalism BS needs to end. Mark my words Capitalism will be the doom of this country. ( Oh that's right it all ready is.)

Posted by: Master Yoda | June 11, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I suppose that all your friends are perfect angels with no problems or troubles ever in their life. The fact is no one is perfect. He who is without sin let him cast the first stone. Obama is not perfect but neither is McCain or Hilary. It is not the perfection or the lack there of that persuades my discussions. My high school friends were drugies. So I guess according to guilty by association I was a drugie to . ONLY I never once in my life used an illegal substance. My parents have smoked all my life. Once again I am guilty by association even though I have never in my life taken a single puff of smoke from a cancer stick. McCain has shady characters in his organization and life too. The Jew hating preacher of John McCain(that John sought after) was in the news what 8 hours. Yet this is the third day I have heard this story. I do not judge a person based on their mistakes or who they associate with. The fact is the republican party has always been in favor of the rich. 95% of the country's wealth is owned by 5% of the population. Mr. Obama wants to raise taxes on the rich and lower taxes for the mid and lower classes. This is why I will vote the way I vote. I am tired of the rich getting richer from our blood and sweat. The rich make more money they should pay more taxes. But with the GOP in office the pay less. It is time to change that. Only the rich and those foolish enough to follow the rich wants McCain in office. This capitalism BS needs to end. Mark my words Capitalism will be the doom of this country. ( Oh that's right it all ready is.)

Posted by: Master Yoda | June 11, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

The only ones taken back by this are his unquestioning supporters who are horrified that once more Obama is being "attacked" for his choices. And of course they view these criticisms as unfair, biased, angry, racist and made out of fear and doubt. Sheesh. The guy is untried, untested and inexperienced and it shows... and no - having Daley and Kennedy Political machines running his campaign does not mean he's got leadership qualifies.

Posted by: Katy | June 11, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

This is funny. we have a president who lied to the world. the recent book only confirmed what was discovered after we invaded iraq. the recent senate investigation findings were the final straw. dick cheny, romsfeld and the president are all but criminals. where are we winning? the economy? the environment? energy? the war? oh yeah, on the war, I was an Army officer--so, how can we have a victory when there is no sovereign state to defeat? oh yeah, we toppled the government, dismantled the army and put the country back into the stone ages. all of this and we are worried about this type of silliness. the people who elected george w. bush, after he stole the first election got what they deserved. too bad the rest of us have to suffer with them. being a war hero--and john mccain is the real thing is not enough to get us out of this mess. time for a fresh start.

Posted by: Louis King | June 11, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Good for Johnson. OBAMA'S ENTIRE STAFF SHOULD FOLLOW SUIT, STICK WITH HIM AND THEY WILL ALL GO DOWN THE DRAIN AND THAT INCLUDES HILLARY, IF SHE IS OFFERED AND ACCEPTS THE V.P. POSITION.

WHAT A MESS HE WILL MAKE OF THE NATION, AND THE WORLD!! IF IT ISN'T BAD ENOUGH IT WILL BE HORRIBLE. REMEMBER ARGENTINA IN THE 1970-'s A LOAF OF BREAD COST THEM $10.
THEN i WOULD LOVE TO HEAR HIS WIFE AND HER BIG MOUTH, AND WHAT DANCE WILL OPRAH DO?

Posted by: LYNN PARKER | June 11, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Fred-you asked for 3 Senators who were not elite...the only one I've ever known was Senator Wellstone from MN and his plane mysteriously crashed in northern MN right before the election...

Posted by: sue | June 11, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Tax windfall profits? Exactly who will pay that tax? Some no-name person? No, the purchaser of the goods and services will, in the form of higher prices. All costs, let me repeat, all costs born by a corporation are passed on in the form of prices. In addition, 401(k) values will plummet. Anyone here have their retirement 100% invested in 401(k)

Idiots.

Posted by: Bob | June 11, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

That is why Obama said Johnson is not working for him. JOhnson reports to Soros, not Obama. JOhnson is working for George Soros and so is Obama. Wake up America. George Soros isn't an American citizen, otherwise he'd run (I mean, buy) the Presidency for himself. Obama is a Soros' puppet, people. Vote McCain!

Posted by: Soros is behind it all | June 11, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

LOL i dont know if theres anything funnier than people refering to themselves as "patriots". i dont know if its to substantiate their racism or just cause they got one of those flag stickers on their truck and are defending the country from "terrorists" and "them dang liberals" and wanna bomb everyone, 9 out of 10 of them never wore a uniform LOL where were the "patriots" to protect us from GWB and his regime? douches...

Posted by: Patriots Against Douche Bags | June 11, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

P I T E R: I'm wondering if Obama is a sleeper. That might sound far out, but stranger things have happened in the political arena (all the spies in England and U.S. for years right under the nose of British Intelligence and C.I.A.), etc. He spent most of his youth in Indonesia with his Muslim step father (Indonesia is a Muslim country)and his father was a Muslim at one time and had a Muslim burial; Obama did spend time with him even after father left the family. Youths are easily brainwashed. We can't take the chance.

Posted by: Tom Higgins | June 11, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe this. After Dick Cheney ran the country for 8 years (I think W. is a nice guy by the way, but he hasn't a clue), the right-wing media has the gall to go after this man. Go figure Americans.

Posted by: mountainman | June 11, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

richard wrote not to confuse (Obama's) celebrity with the highest office in the land...you mean like REAGAN

charisma is a big part of the equation

McCain has none, to go along with his lack of a plan for the country

Posted by: sue | June 11, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Hey Balz, "SUCK MY JOHNSON"!!!

Posted by: Harried | June 11, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Obama is having a difficult time with his selection of friends and advisors. Wright, now Johnson. And he has Caroline Kennedy selecting v.p. nominees. It makes one wonder what type of Cabinet he'd select if elected (God forbid). Scary

Posted by: Jan McCoy | June 11, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

This is what happens when you nominate a man who stole government funds for his buddy Rezko, who has a racist preacher who hates Jews, Italians, and whites, and has less of a record to run on than a 3 year old.

What do you get? ESS - Empty Suit Syndrome. Take a man who is running because he is black, whose policies are unknown because he hasn't been around much, and who continues to associate himself with crackpots, Palestinian and American terrorists, Syrian-born thieves, and racists like Farrakhan and Wright.

Yep, we just went to the throne room to elect a President and discovered that Barack Obama not only has no clothes, but he has no brain as well.

Ah, well, Democrats - maybe 2012 is your year. It is looking like it won't be 2008.

Posted by: James Marsden | June 11, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Small town politics.

Posted by: Stan Snapple | June 11, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Johnson just quit....hmmm...I am sure he was clean as a whistle, just those nasty media types drove him out. The 21 mil$ he got from fannie mae, of which 14 mil $ they tried to hide? Nothing to see here folks, another Obamessiah Obamatron bites the dust. into the crap heap under the bus with grandma, uncle Jeremish, father Pfleger, and soon to be Michelle O.

Posted by: pete | June 11, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

my my linda you are really upset that the true obamaer is shinning through huh
that one page resume hallow suit with a US hating wife
who tried to keep her thises under raps until nov but got on the web anyway
he is not a muslim messiah no matter how you try to send up a smoke screen

Posted by: rh | June 11, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, the Obama people are so clueless. It's not that Johnson is not very well known to democratic insiders! Get a clue people!

"Not only is Johnson a big-business Democrat with icky ties to even ickier businesses, like mortgage lending firms in trouble. But the longtime party insider is also firmly entrenched with Democratic losers going back to Walter Mondale, whose pathetic 1984 presidential campaign was run by Johnson.

If Obama is about a break with the past, he could find no one more counter-intuitive than Johnson."-Craig Crawford

For a clue about Johnson's questionable political acumen, here's what I remember from my own experience as a field operative in Mondale's presidential campaign. Johnson blew the only moment when it looked like Mondale might actually have a chance at overcoming Ronald Reagan's reelection bid...

....For some reason, Democratic nominees ever since - except Bill Clinton - have thought Johnson was some sort of genius. And it is no accident that Clinton is the only one to win the White House."-Craig Crawford

Jeez, I hate imagine who Obama will appiont to his cabinet in the unlikely event he gets elected.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 11, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Now Johnson steps down.

Small town politics.


An aside: how many hypocrites make up this country?

Posted by: Stan Snapple | June 11, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

As Hillary alluded to, it isn't over until the convention. I am a democrat who will vote democrat even if it has to be for Obama. The smart thing for the party to do is to move on (or back) to Hillary. She is clearly the correct choice for the party and for the nation.

Posted by: Sterling | June 11, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

This leaves another interesting character in the Obama VP vetting team. Eric Holder (former Deputy AG) who facilitated the Clinton White House pardon of felony fugitive Marc Rich (aka Marc David Reich) who was being prosecuted on tax evasion of nearly 48 million dollars. This is known as one of the most infamous 11th hour Clinton pardons that included the pardon of Bill Clinton's brother, Roger Clinton.

In addition to being pardoned by Clinton via Eric Holder, Marc Rich was represented by Lewis "Scooter" Libby who defended the tax evasion charges while criticizing Marc Rich's dealings with Iran during the Carter-Iran hostage crisis.

Jack Quinn was retained as the attorney for Marc Rich to lobby for the Clinton pardon of which Eric Holder played an important role.

Posted by: Chargers | June 11, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

As stated in the caption of the photo of this article, Mr Johnson is now the Vice Chairman of Perseus LLC.

This is a business entity controlled by George Soros.

It is also the parent organization of the publishing company that released the book by Scott McClellan.

That should bring into serious question the credibility of this gentleman doing VP selections.

He ran the Mondale campaign and has advised every campaign for Democrats since then with the exception of the Clinton years.

Not exactly a stellar record of performance from that aspect is it?

Posted by: ConnectTheDots | June 11, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

1st) Someone should cull out the Hillary fanatics, they have ludicrous opinions, if Obama is more elite than Hillary, well, this is beyond ridiculous.

Name me three Senators that are not elite. They all seem to go to Ivy League, to law school, and eventually all become pampered rich people, ALL of them.

As to this, who cares, no one is picking him VP, he is not going to be picking a crook, and if he did and Obama picked him, complain then, and I am sure you will. How many days lef until election day. That is how many morer fake controversies they will test drive. McCain stole bank money and helped blame others, he never disagreed with anything much Bush shoved through or anything which the republicans obstructed with their super-minority of just over 40%, using filibuster for non-traditionally never-filibustered activity. This should always be the story, how undemocratic the Republicans have been, and McCain went with them. every single time.

And the otherd ay total proof that the frat jerks in power lied about everything. Maybe report on that more than they have. oh, and McCain went along, the war in its 6th year (forget the surge, 6th year, what a failure even by their original standards).

Give me a break. And if you need to type in all caps, go to the Smurf site or something where your sophistry may go over as serious analysis

Posted by: Fred Fep | June 11, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

WakeUp,

I don't consider due diligence an idiotic act.

The problem is not with Fannie Mae or Rev. Write. The problem is the pattern that keeps repeating itself with Obama. He employs the services of, or is a known associate with person's of questionable character. He then, defends them. Time goes on, more is learned and he is forced to then disassociate himself from them.

Where is all this good judgement we keep hearing about? Clearly not in his choice for close confidants.

Posted by: Patriots against Obama | June 11, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Jeff Jeff, take a deep breath now breath into the bag
now don't you feel better. obamaer is a one page resume in a hallow suit and a big mouth wife michele
who trid to keep her thesis under raps until Nov 5th
but it got on the web anyyway
now off the koolaide and back on the neds

Posted by: rh | June 11, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

piter-grow up and while you're at it, pull your head out.

Posted by: sue | June 11, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Come on, Mr. Balz, what's the problem? Either develop your article, case, and point further or better, investigate and explain the ethics of this particular case rather than just fill how many lines in the paper with one question mark.

Posted by: Stan Snapple | June 11, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Richard, I think Piter was mocking the media and their insignificant coverage of certain items.

Posted by: Gene | June 11, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

WELL, IT IS ABOUT TIME PEOPLE STARTED ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT OBAMA.

If only, if only, the media and the American people had questioned this person back when the media gave him a free ride up until Rev. Wright came along. Now you all deserve what you get for president because he will "SELL THE GOOD FEELING ABOUT YES WE CAN" ALL THE WAY TO THE WHITE HOUSE!!!!! Has anybody bothered to check up on this person when he lived in Chicago? All he is is a silver tongued crook!! And he is really good at it.

Maggie

Posted by: Maggie | June 11, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Countrywide gave out a lot of loans, I can see half the people in the campaigns stepping down now...

The good thing is, the worst they can say about Obama is not really about Obama but about people who he associated with at one point or another during his lifetime. And the worst they can say about that is that he got a really really good loan from countrywide.

Talk about pulling at strings...

Posted by: Eddie | June 11, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the chickens not only came home to roost, but laid their first egg.

There's plenty more where they came from.

Posted by: Krishna | June 11, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

In the words of Gomer Pile, "Sur-prise, Sur-prise Sur-prise!"

Not.

So predictable, Obama's pattern's are becoming crystal clear. You got to wonder why, with all his money, Obama can't retain the right people, people who do not have long hooks into ...who knows what.

Even the way Obama's reacts after he gets called on his stuff never changes, you would think he would learn.

Obama is not who he says he is, Obama is not who his supporters think he is.

Why the Obamaphiles can't spot Obama's predictable and repeating patterns is a mystery... unless they truly are weak of mind.

Watch Obama's patterns, watch the people he surrounds himself with... this is going to keep happening all the way to the election.

Posted by: plaza04433 | June 11, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Obama will shortly be indicted under 18 USC 1346, which is the same provision under which Rezko was convicted.


There will be MANY counts in Obama's indictment, more than there were in Rezko's. This will give you details about one of the indictments, concerning the board legislation which Obama sponsored as part of a criminal enterprise. Both Rezko and Obama are members of the Syrian Mafia, which trades--corporately--under the name General Mediterranean and is headed by NadhmiAuchi.


I don't think I need to add that if Obama is elected, the Syrian mafia will be running the United States Government. Patrick Fitzgerald, hurry up.


Below is a discussion of the board legislation by Evelyn Pringle, who published a very detailed series on Obama's crimes at opednews.com. These articles have been cited around the world.


Following her discussion is a link to a discussion, also reproduced, of 18 USC 1346, which, again is the section under which Obama will be prosecuted.


First, Evelyn's discussion:

The evidence presented in "Tony Rezko's] trial focused on his influence over officials in getting members appointed to the Boards. Prosecutors did not discuss how the legislation got passed that enabled the Planning Board to be set up in a way that allowed for the appointment of members to rig the votes to begin with. That part of the scheme will likely be detailed in future indictments, probably starting with Blagojevich. Blagojevich signed the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act with an effective date of June 27, 2003. However, before he could sign the act, a bill had to be passed by the Illinois House and Senate. As discussed fully in Curtain Time Part II, Obama was the inside guy in the senate who pushed through the legislation that resulted in the Act. Obama was appointed chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The minute the bill was introduced, it was referred to his committee for review. The sponsors of the bill also served on this committee with Obama. Within a month, Chairman Obama sent word to the full senate that the legislation should be passed. On May 31, 2003, Senate Bill 1332 passed and specified that the "Board shall be appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate." The legislation reduced the number of members from 15 to 9, paving the way for the appointment of a five-bloc majority to rig the votes. The corrupt members appointed included three doctors who contributed to Obama. Michel Malek gave Obama $10,000 on June 30, 2003 and donated $25,000 to Blagojevich on July 25, 2003. Malek also gave Obama another $500 in September 2003. Fortunee Massuda donated $25,000 to Blagojevich on July 25, 2003, and gave a total of $2,000 to Obama on different dates. After he was appointed, Dr Imad Almanaseer contributed a total of $3,000 to Obama. Almanaseer did not give money to Blagojevich. When the first pay-to-play scheme was put in play, and the application for approval of a new hospital was submitted, the Department of Human Services, along with four other Illinois agencies, sent recommendations that the project should be approved even though experts said the hospital was not needed. During the trial, Rezko's attorney presented an email exchange to the jury that hinted at Obama's role in setting up the scheme. The exchange showed that Obama and seven other top Illinois politicians consulted on the legislation passed in 2003 and were involved in recommending the members for the board. Matthew Pickering wrote the memo to Blagojevich's general counsel, Susan Lichtenstein, on behalf of David Wilhelm, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who headed Blagojevich's 2002 campaign for governor. Pickering said he and Wilhelm had "worked closely" over six months with state legislators. The memo recommended the appointees listed above and stated, "our attached recommendations reflect that involvement" with the political leaders. The persons appointed to rig the votes, including those who contributed to Blagojevich and Obama, are cooperating in exchange for immunity or lighter prison sentences. Feds shut down pay-to-play schemes. Only two pay-to-play schemes succeeded before the Feds swooped in and shut them all down. Blagojevich did not receive the $1.5 million from the Planning Board deal because the hospital was never built. But Obama received $20,000 from the first kickback paid in the pension fund scheme and the straw donors used to funnel the $10,000 payments, Elie Maloof and Joseph Aramanda, also made $1,000 contributions to Obama's failed run for Congress in 2000. In addition, Aramanda gave $500 to Obama's senate campaign on June 30, 2003. In the summer of 2005, Aramanda's son landed an intern position in Obama's Washington office. Obama also received contributions for his senate campaign from the two persons appointed to rig the vote on the pension fund board. On June 30, 2003, Jack Carriglio contributed $1,000, and the other appointee, Anthony Abboud, donated $500 on June 30, 2003, $250 on March 5, 2004, and $1,000 on June 25, 2004. The person chosen to funnel the kickback in a future scheme, Michael Winter, donated $3,000 to Obama on June 30, 2003. All these people are also cooperating in exchange for immunity or lesser prison sentences but prosecutors pointed out during closing arguments that people who entered into agreements with the government are required to tell the truth or all deals are off.

And now the discussion of the law under which Obama will go to prison, 18 USC 1346:

http://www.groom.com/_library/downloads/NAPPAArticle-Feb2006.pdf.


This article provides brief guidance as to the manner in which courts have interpreted 18 U.S.C. § 1346, which generally provides that for purposes of federal mail and wire fraud statutes (18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 1343, respectively), a "scheme or artifice to defraud" includes a "scheme or artifice to deprive another of the intangible right to honest services." Specifically, this article examines the manner in which courts have interpreted the broad language of § 1346 in circumstances that do not involve the explicit bribery of public officials.

I.

Background

18 U.S.C. § 1346 was enacted in 1988, for purposes of reversing the Supreme Court's decision in McNally v. U.S.,483 U.S. 350 (1987). In McNally, the Supreme Court overruled a long line of lower court decisions by holding that the federal mail and wire fraud statutes did not encompass schemes to defraud citizens of an intangible right to honest government service from pubic officers. Id. at 355. By enacting 18 U.S.C. § 1346, Congress restored "honest services" within the ambit of the federal mail and wire fraud statutes, meaning that a scheme to deprive the public of "honest services" by a public official could be punished as mail or wire fraud (assuming, of course, that such an instrumentality was used as part of the scheme or artifice).

II.

Judicial Interpretations of the "Honest Services" Fraud

A.

General Parameters of the Statute

Not surprisingly, the majority of cases that have analyzed the "honest services" fraud set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 1346 have involved the bribery of public officials, where the charge under § 1346 is in addition to other charges. However, there have been numerous prosecutions under § 1346 against public officials (and those who have corrupted public officials) for transactions that do not involve outright bribery, but which nonetheless involve the provision of cash or gifts to a public official in exchange for the public official's exercise of power on behalf of the individual or entity providing the gratuity.

Courts have recognized that the term "honest services," as used in § 1346, is incredibly broad, but the statute has survived repeated challenges asserting that it is unconstitutionally vague, with courts resorting to a "common sense" usage of the phrase "honest services." In rejecting a constitutional void-for-vagueness challenge to the statute's wording, one court opined that "[c]oncrete parameters outlining the duty of honest services should not be necessary. . . . The concept of the duty of honest services sufficiently conveys warning of the proscribed conduct when measured in terms of common understanding and practice." U.S. v. ReBrook, 837 F. Supp. 162, 171 (S.D. W. Va. 1993), aff'd. 58 F.3d 961 (4 th Cir. 1995). Another court demonstrated little patience for the defendant's void-for-vagueness challenge in the context of a kickback scheme, holding that "[i]t should be plain to ordinary people that offering and accepting large sums of money in exchange for a city councilman's vote is a type of conduct proscribed by the language of § 1346." U.S. v. Paradies, 98 F.3d 1266, 1283 (11 th Cir. 1996). Nonetheless, courts have refused to allow § 1346 to be used as a "catch-all" that subjects every unethical or illegal act to federal mail and wire fraud prosecution. See, e.g., U.S. v. Bloom, 149 F.3d 649, 654-56 (7 th

Cir. 1998) (noting, inter alia, that "not every breach of fiduciary duty works a criminal fraud"); U.S. v. Welch, 327 F.3d 1081, 1107 (10 th Cir. 2003) ("the right to honest services is not violated by every breach of contract, breach of duty, conflict of interest, or misstatement made in the course of dealing"). Recognizing the difficulty of interpreting the undefined phrase "honest services," courts have attempted to establish general criteria that must be satisfied to successfully assert an "honest services" fraud claim. One of the leading circuits interpreting the scope of the honest services fraud is the First Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that: First, . . . honest services convictions of public officials typically involve serious corruption, such as embezzlement of public funds, bribery of public officials, or the failure of public decision-makers to disclose conflicts of interest. Second, . . . the broad scope of the mail fraud statute . . . does not encompass every instance of official misconduct that results in the official's personal gain. Third, and most importantly, . . . the government must not merely indicate wrongdoing by a public official, but must also demonstrate that the wrongdoing at issue is intended to prevent or call into question the proper or impartial performance of the public servant's official duties. U.S. v. Czubinski, 106 F.3d 1069, 1076 (1 st Cir. 1997) (emphasis added) (internal citations and quotations omitted), (discussing the First Circuit's prior decision in U.S. v. Sawyer, 85 F.3d 713, 724 (1996). The Seventh Circuit has held that "[m]isuse of office (more broadly, misuse of position) for private gain is the line that separates run of the mill violations of state law fiduciary duty . . . from federal crime." U.S. v. Bloom, 149 F.3d 649, 655 (7 th Cir. 1998). The court went on to note that "in almost all of the intangible rights cases decided . . . (before McNally or since § 1346), the defendant used his office for private gain, as by accepting a bribe in exchange for official action[,]" but also noted that "[s]ecret conversion of information received in a fiduciary capacity is a form of fraud against the owner of that information." Id. Accordingly, the Seventh Circuit summarized its test for an honest services fraud as follows: "[a]n employee deprives his employer of his honest services only if he misuses his position (or the information he obtained in it) for personal gain" (emphasis added). Id. at 656-57.

Posted by: Obama's Indictment | June 11, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

@piter: That was hilarious.

Still trying to figure out the relevance or point of this story. Unless, of course he does a "Dick Cheney" and nominates himself for the position

Posted by: Nathan | June 11, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

piter says : need i go on?

you already have piter.and on and on and on.

Posted by: richard | June 11, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Aspergirl,
Clinton supporters had to take the verbal abuse, mysogyny and hatred of the Obama supporters all primary season. Clearly, these apes and frantic black activists whose mentally ill obsession with getting their racial preference candidate elected are so frenetic and out of control they will be online harassing and threatening all election season all the way up to November.
*******************************************
How could you say such a thing? How could you?

Posted by: jeff | June 11, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

When I read some comments and I question the intelligence of some Americans, I just remember that these are the same people that voted for Bush. We got a President that is single handedly responsible for the deaths of brave American soldiers and the collapse of the country and we're worried about Fannie Mae and Wright. Anything to distract people from the real issues I guess. Wake up idiots.

Posted by: WakeUp | June 11, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

How is Countrywide's loan to this guy going to impact Obama's choice of VP? That decision will be made by Obama alone. He did NOT "DEFEND" Johnson, goddammit! He just said he gave him a limited task. Recall that there are two other members of the search committee. The whole thing is a calculated attempt by the Washington Post editors to stake out the high ground in the upcoming historic election. Of course, the Post would NEVER! lol

Posted by: Gary W, San Jose Ca | June 11, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

No, the problem is his association with Fannie Mae when it had significant accounting irregularties. Maybe if Sen. Obama had more experience he would be familiar with the ethics cloud over Mr. Johnson and Fannie Mae.

Posted by: CPA | June 11, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

who wants obama for a friend or indeed as a boss?the first whiff of powder and obama dumps you.backbone? i think not.

Posted by: richard | June 11, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Piter, you are an absolute tool. Your assertions are completely baseless.

Posted by: joey | June 11, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Good questions regarding the "meaning" of Obama's defense of his choice of VEEP vetter. If only equally incisive questions could be asked of George Bush's decisions and tortured reasoning. But you answered the question yourself: Johnson is a trusted power broker and insider, and most importantly discrete, as in no leaks. Obama knows what he's doing. Preferential interest rates? Of course, that's the way the system works for the rich. Next.

Posted by: caroler | June 11, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Obama will defend and continue to defend Johnson because Johnson knows the depth and breadth of Obama's secrets. Let's go down the list:

1. His name. Barack HUSSEIN Obama. That sounds weird! Is he Muslim? Is he a terrorist? Nobody can say for sure, but he sure sounds like both!

2. The fist bump. FOX suggested that this fist bump that Obama engaged in with his unpatriotic and racist wife Michelle is possibly some sort of greeting among terrorists. True or False? I don't know, but can we afford to take that chance?

3. The Weathermen. Domestic terrorist William Ayers served on the same board of some organization, and Barack HUSSEIN Obama served on the same board! Do I have to spell it out for you? They were probably fist-bumping the whole time!

4. Jeremiah Wright. Obama is a Muslim, but he also attended a Christian church. See how devious he is?!? The reverend of that church, a black man who is a former marine and grew up during the civil rights movement, for some reason looks unfavorably upon certain aspects of American life. Can you imagine? What nerve!!

5. Flag pins. Where are they, in regards to Obama's lapel? Well, sometimes he wears them, but not ALL the time. Sometimes he doesn't wear a necktie, either. You know who else doesn't wear a flag pin or a necktie? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad! Coincidence?!?

6. Bowling. Seriously, who can't bowl? All you have to do is roll a ball in a somewhat straight manner. You know who else is not great at bowling? Members of Al Qaeda. Need I go on?

Posted by: Piter | June 11, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Another fantastic example of molehill politics - a major part of why I usually avoid WaPo.

Posted by: Michael Leuchtenburg | June 11, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Not one mention of Jim Johnson's receiving of a bonus that was based on Enron style manipulation of Fannie Mae's accounting records in 1998. The very definition of corporate greed that Obama is campaigning against.

But typical uninformed Obama supporters drink the kool-aid and blindly think we (Repubs) are upset because he scored a great deal on a mortgage loan.

Wake up.

Posted by: Patriots against Obama | June 11, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I need to go bang my head against the wall.

How is it remotely relevant what someone's interest rate on their mortgage is? Was a law broken? If a law was broken, then this raises an ethical question for Obama to address. But a business deal is just that. When this loan was given was this man already on the VP vetting committee?

This is just mudslinging. Throw dirt at him and see what sticks.

It's going to me a loooong summer.

Posted by: BobC | June 11, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Again, for being a "new" type of Politician, he sure does have a lot of sleazy friends.

Posted by: Toby | June 11, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Typical Obama drone defense is to claim that anything remotely critical of their savior is not "newsworthy".....
PLEASE

Posted by: Anonymous | June 11, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"Jim did not want to distract in any way from the very important task of gathering information about my vice presidential nominee, so he has made a decision to step aside that I accept,"
__________________________________________
At this rate no one is going to be avialable to anything for either candidate. This is getting to be a bit ridiculous.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 11, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Oh for the love of God - you can't seriously be trying to make a scandal out of Obama not asking a volunteer on his VP committee what the interest rate on his mortgage was. I don't care whether Johnson was paid or not, whether he technically worked for Obama or not - this is simply such a paltry issue that it's an unfair hit piece. C'mon Dan Balz, let's get some real contrast between Obama & McCain's positions on the issues.

Posted by: Dan | June 11, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

A campaign of Hope, fueled by Hate....

Posted by: nana4 | June 11, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: AsperGirl | June 11, 2008 2:55 PM
__________________________________________
They have medication for you now.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 11, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Another one bites the dust. Add one more to the list of Obama's friends, "That are not the person I knew". Johnson joins the crowd under the Obama bus.

Posted by: occam | June 11, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

After Fannie Mae - and you don's see a problem? LOLOLOL - that is how these Bozos get by with this stuff - We really do deserve what we get - LOL

Posted by: Steve | June 11, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Now, it begins, finally.

Children, get ready. "Words Matter". As do decisions, actions, behavior, past history, judgements, thought process, and backtracking, commonly known as "Flip Flopping".....may the games of Reality begin!!

Posted by: nana4 | June 11, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

what is amazing is that people all over the united states are actually afraid to say they do not want to vote for obama.journalists justify themselves as nauseum before they make a hint of criticism.please read samuelson's article today.
i think that obama is now the candidate will give a huge and welcome boost to afro americans and to the emerging world.marvellous in themselves but is that all there is to the matter?

Posted by: richard | June 11, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Johnson resigned?

Seriously, Obamabots, how many more bad decisions can he make before you wake up from this utopian, idealistic dream?

Posted by: looch | June 11, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Politics is a dirty business. Politicians run and associate with all kinds of characters. They don't have the time and/or resources to do background checks on everyone they come into contact with. Doesn't sound like Jim Johnson's committed any crimes.

Keep focus, people. Obama, obviously, isn't perfect. But he doesn't have to be. Until he actually does something illegal or unethical himself, can we please stop micro-scrutinizing every person he may know and/or have had dealings with. And can we PLEASE stop micro-dissecting every word that comes out of candidates' (and their wives') mouths? Enough already. We have REAL issues to deal with. Let's focus on things that are actually important enough to impact our lives. Jim Johnson's not an issue that will impact any of our lives.

Geeeeeeez. Is it November yet?

Posted by: Sue | June 11, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

************************************

JIM JOHNSON HAS RESIGNED FROM BARACK OBAMA'S VP SEARCH TEAM.

************************************

Obama:

"I was for the corrupt Jim Johnosn being on my VP search team before I was against him."

LOL! LOSERS!!

Posted by: Obama Is Unelectable | June 11, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: fred17 | June 11, 2008 2:59 PM
_________________________________________
Good post, Fred.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 11, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"If the worst thing they can say is that some guy on his VP search committee once got a loan from Countrywide Financial, then Obama really is a saint."

As the Wall Street Journal points out today, when he was CEO of Fannie Mae,the guy got a sweetheart loan from Countrywide (highly criticized by Sen. O) which was selling subprime loans to Fannie Mae.

Fannie Mae is legally private. But, it is congressionally chartered and its securities can be bought by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department. It is a government-sponsored enterprise.


Posted by: Grillades | June 11, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't Dan Balz and other reporters and media commentators be vetted to determine their bias? Shouldn't they divulge their tax returns so that the public can see whether they are slanting coverage for personal gain? Shouldn't everyone know everything about everyone else so there can be nothing left that is private? why isn't your business my business?

Posted by: fred17 | June 11, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Republican National Committee spokesman Alex Conant charged that the issue "raises serious questions about Obama's judgment when we learn members of his campaign leadership are receiving favors that the average American would never get."

Republicans questioning favors the average American would never get!!!! This quote alone shows how out of touch with reality this gentleman is. Can you really say this stuff with a straight face.....

Posted by: Roger C | June 11, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Breaking news, Johnson resigned.
Looks like we got em' runnin' now!! We'll all have this country back in the hands of the mob soon; no one else will want to run for office. Then we'll show the world how to really get things done.

Posted by: MrRex | June 11, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

obama is a movie star not a president.he is charismatic and has tons of class but that is not therefore presidential material.

dont confuse celebrities with th ehigherst office in th eland

Posted by: richard | June 11, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

obama is a movie star not a president.he is charismatic and has tons of class but that is not therefore presidential material.

dont confuse celebrities with th ehigherst office in th eland

Posted by: richard | June 11, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

>>dan wrote: "It's not that "all the paid Obamabots" are posting today. It's that you are getting lonelier and lonelier. All the former Hillary supporters have taken Hillary's words to heart and switched their support to Obama... Now I'll sit back and hope that somehow I magically get paid by Obama for calling Aspergirl a moron....."

It's really inappropriate and sickening how Obamabots mob public forums and blogs to take over the space and overwhelm it with Obama campaign bashing opponents and Obama talking points.

It's even worse when they harass, slander and verbally abuse other posters who don't agree with their candidate.

Clinton supporters had to take the verbal abuse, mysogyny and hatred of the Obama supporters all primary season. Clearly, these apes and frantic black activists whose mentally ill obsession with getting their racial preference candidate elected are so frenetic and out of control they will be online harassing and threatening all election season all the way up to November.

The Obama campaign sure is turning the Internet into an online version of the hood where people not in their camp can expect to be berated, attacked, verbally abused in a kind of political shanking when they venture in.

What a trashy campaign for a candidate who spent his adult life hanging out with trashy, hating people all his life. Obama brings a new tone to politics all right, the tone of black-on-white hatred and ghetto politics.

Posted by: AsperGirl | June 11, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Jim Johnson just stepped down from the position.

Now we can all sit back and wait for WcCain's entire staff to step down as well.....

(I won't hold my breath - Aspergirl....feel free to hold yours)

Posted by: dan | June 11, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Great, so now he has to vet the vetters? Come on! This guilt by association is a bit ridiculous.

If you want to talk about shady deals, why don't you go back to McCain being a member of the Keating 5? It's every bit as relevant.

Posted by: Joe | June 11, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I hope you Obama supporters don't mind robocalls, telemarketers and junk mail. Obama is collecting his supporters' personal information to sell at a later date. It is estimated to be worth over $200 million as of months ago. Here's some change you can belive in.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aW_Qty8aiVTo&refer=us

http://www.barackobama.com/privacypolicy/

Posted by: Cryos | June 11, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

The bigger story is that he chaired 4 companies' compensation committees. He left before people got canned for the backdating at those same companies. Look up the UNH story; that's still causing problems over there. Whoops!

Posted by: Greg | June 11, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Quote from an anonymous post "Obama has the establishment terrified". Lmao. Obama has the establishment fully behind him so I guess they're really scared.

I do feel sorry for democrats this election even though I'm moderate and usually vote republican. They got a con man shoehorned in for their candidate. If mainstream media hadn't sat on the Obama stories until after a lot of primaries Hillary would be the candidate.

Republicans aren't happy about McCain either but at least republicans got a middle of the road politician who actually HAS A HISTORY OF BIPARTISANSHIP not an untested left wing extremist.

The only real winners are the global power players who made sure that both sides elected someone who will support Global Wealth Redistribution aka climate change.

Posted by: Cryos | June 11, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Your job is to report news, not create news. I expect better of the Washington Post. If you have not noticed we have a war, fuel is out of sight, food is getting higher by the day and the value of the dollar is less every day. There are a lot bigger fish to fry than who is on the committee to vet VP choices. American are tired of business as usual in the press just as they are tired of business as usual in politics. Change is not an option if we are to grow in prosperity and strength.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 11, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

the kool-aid drinkers are out in force for their american hating , elite effette empty suit

Posted by: | June 11, 2008 2:32 PM
___________________________________________
It's about time we had an elite leadership. America has been dumbed-down for far too long. If I want to win in an Olympic game, common sense tells me to go with the elite in the bunch. Hell, any group worth their salt has an elite arm. Police, Armed Services, etc. What is wrong with striving to be the best? When did mediocre become the norm?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 11, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

According to the L.A. Times --(who apparently do have investigative reporterrs on staff)

The JUMBO loans in question were made by Countrywide to Johnson 3 YEARS AFTER Johnson left Fannie Mae.

Hello ---- >> AFTER he LEFT Fannie Mae!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 11, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

What a non-story Dan Balz. You attack Obama for basically saying that a non-story is a non-story. Pathetic.

Posted by: WaPoIdiocy | June 11, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

What's next?

Caroline Kennedy gets a discount at her local deli because she's a Kennedy? Quick somebody cancel Obama's campaign!!!

Shouldn't stuff you find in the news actually be "newsworthy"???

Posted by: dan | June 11, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Who's going to vet the vetters who are vetting the vetters? And how long 'til November?

Posted by: Michele | June 11, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Well, it sure did not take Balz long to switch from "Hillary is Evil" to "Obamma knows someone that got a loan",

Balz and Cillizzizi(Whatever!) need to be renditioned!

And these "STENOGRAPHERS) expect us to cry when they get the pink slip!
Har De Har Har!

Posted by: harried | June 11, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Whatever, Obama, a new style candidate you'll see soon enough.
Politicans are all alike.

Posted by: Tom | June 11, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I think actual problem was the manipulation of Fannie Mae's revenue in 1998 that produced bonuses that were based on bogues numbers that Johnson was a benficiary of.

Somebody at his level had to know what was going on.

Posted by: looch | June 11, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I love this. Obama has the establishment terrified because he's smart, articulate and genuinely interested in making the country a better place. (and thus, harder to corrupt)

If the worst thing they can say is that some guy on his VP search committee once got a loan from Countrywide Financial, then Obama really is a saint.

Shame on the Washington Post for confusing sneering inuendo with news! If you keep this up you will become as credible and relevent as Fox Noise...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 11, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why people are questioning Senator Obama's choices. He is beyond reproach and he doesn't have to answer questions that suggest that he may have made a mistake. Why is the press, all of a sudden questioning his choices? He can choose whomever he wants to work for his campaign....but not the others. They have to play by the rules. He's special, he doesn't have to.

This man is very dangerous and he has been catapulted by the press and the DNC. I hope they all go down with him.

We won't accept him as our party's nominee....EVER!

Posted by: hazwalnut | June 11, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Hah. Even the hint of criticism brings out the Obama apologists in droves.

How dare you WaPo? I'm mean Obama is only interviewing for the most powerful job in the world. How dare you ask questions to determine what kind of judgment and leadership he will show? How dare you question his intellectual honesty? How dare you question the messiah's judgment?

Okay Nimrods, the article was written to question the way Obama answered the questions - or more aptly - the way that he dishonestly answered the questions. The subject matter was irrelevant. You all failed the "reading comprehension" portion of the test.

Posted by: Tex | June 11, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Right on Tex. Truth, logic, reason, common sense, etc has no bearing on Obama supporters on issues like energy. For the "intellectuals" that Obama supporters claim to be they all seem to have failed or never taken Macro Econ 101.

Posted by: Cryos | June 11, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I don't see why this was so surprising. Have we found any friends of Obama that aren't corrupt? His wife is the only associate of his we've seen that isn't a full-blown characature of America's problems he's promising to solve.

Posted by: James | June 11, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse


We'd BETTER look into that Caroline Kennedy too.

She may have gotten a good mortgage or a free meal somewhere. She may be speaking to that Johnson person, too!!

You cannot be too careful. And Balz doesn't know if it'd create a big
and lasting storm. He'd try to make sure it did.

The Washington Post doesn't like democrats such as that Kennedy girl is.

Posted by: not careful enough | June 11, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

What is the story here again? The head of the largest banking organization in the country got a better interest rate then your average Joe? What is surprising about that?

Posted by: John Gillnitz, Texas | June 11, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey BALZ -- if you want to write stories about stories in other newspapers --here is an excerpt from todays L.A. Times --

It it about the Johnson mortgage issue so you should be really focused. It says that the loans in question were made 2 years AFTER Johnson LEFT Fannie Mae. AFTER.

Further, it says that one loan he got shortly before he left Fannie Mae 10 YEARS AGO was at an interest rate of 6.375%.

What a shocking scandal!!! A mortgage at 6.375%

Ir also noted that one of the JUMBO loans Johnson got 3 years AFTER he left Fannie Mae was for 15-20% of the home total value - and that might help to explain any lower interest rate.

Hey Danny boy - read-

The newspaper reported that Johnson received discounted rates on two mortgage loans from Countrywide Financial Corp. after he stepped down a decade ago as the head of Fannie Mae.

A federally chartered institution, Fannie Mae buys mortgages from Countrywide and other lenders.

According to the Journal, lower-than-average mortgage rates were offered to Johnson and a special group of borrowers with close connections to Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo.

Republican officials went further Monday, firing off e-mails to reporters suggesting wrongdoing by Johnson and calling his loan terms "highly questionable."

Republican National Committee spokesman Alex Conant charged that the issue "raises serious questions about Obama's judgment when we learn members of his campaign leadership are receiving favors that the average American would never get."

McCain, in an interview with Fox News, said the situation suggested "a bit of a contradiction" with Obama's promises on the kind of campaign operation he would run.

Johnson was not available for comment. But his lawyer Brian Brooks characterized the loans as typical for an "extraordinarily low-risk" customer like Johnson and that they had "nothing to do with some special personal relationship."

Brooks said that Johnson received one Countrywide loan during the seven years he headed Fannie Mae, and that it occurred shortly before he left in 1998.

He said the rate for the loan was 6.375%, about average at the time.

"He didn't get another Countrywide loan for three years -- long after he'd left Fannie Mae and I just don't see what that relationship, at that point, has to do with the tea in China," Brooks said.

Brooks said the interest rate levels and loan terms were not unusual for someone with Johnson's "credit history, his income, his net worth or the property values at issue."

At least one of the loans Johnson sought, Brooks added, was for 15% to 20% of the property value -- a factor that would probably lower the mortgage rates.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 11, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

This is the quintessential Inside the Beltway story. There is no news in this thumb-sucker and no interest for anyone facing four dollar a gallon gas, rising unemployment, faltering home prices, mounting credit card debt, and a current administration with its head in the ground.

Obama is right to stick to his plan to discuss his proposed solutions to our economic plight.

Please stick to covering the economic issues that matter and not the Republican talking points.

Posted by: dee | June 11, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Obama supporters are amazing in their ability to do the following among many other things:
1. Attack people who bring up any sort of negative news about Obama even if it is true. Attack the person not the issues.
2. Abandon all logical reasoning skills for idealist eutopian dreams
3. Justify all the double standards and hypocrisy very obvious in Obama's campaign to everyone who is not a Obama supporter. One of my favorites is when Obama does something wrong and there is no possible explanation, say the other person is doing it too. Yet in the next sentence praise Obama for "rising above the fray" being about "change we can believe in" and "a new type of politician"
4. Parrot the mainstream media and have predictable arguments.

I hope you Obama supporters don't mind robocalls, telemarketers and junk mail. Obama is collecting his supporters' personal information to sell at a later date. It is estimated to be worth over $200 million as of months ago. Here's some change you can belive in.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aW_Qty8aiVTo&refer=us

http://www.barackobama.com/privacypolicy/

Posted by: Cryos | June 11, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

fire the GSE/Wall Street SCUMBAG. this type of corrupt trash has no place in BO's administration.

Posted by: million | June 11, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"It is not unreasonable to think that Johnson could end up playing a significant role in an Obama administration."

Yes, it is unreasonable. You quoted (IN THIS VERY SAME STORY) Sen. Obama saying Mr. Johnson's role would be over in a couple months.

So, please stop trying to drum this thing up into a valid storyline. It's not.

Posted by: TinaDi | June 11, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Some of these comments are truly remarkable. Let's just suppose he hired someone to vet Johnson, he would then need someone to vet the vetter and so on and so on... Where would it end?

Johnson has a personal business deal, he did nothing illegal. He is now a part of a committe performing a specific task, I just do not see the issue. Why is there no uproar about McCain and his relationship with Arizona deals swapping lucrative federal land for his friends less valuable land? Isn't that more significant?

Posted by: GraspingatStraws | June 11, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

In the 2000 and 2004 elections there were clear choices, GW vs. Al Gore and GW vs. John Kerry. In this election, there is also a clear choice Obama or McCain. For those of you that voted for GW and might vote for McCain for whatever reason, I say good luck After 7 years you can continue to delude yourselves about the gas prices, the weak dollar and the consistent lies and scandals in the WH. You can continue to believe that there were terrorists that attacked us living in Iraq or there were WMD's. You can continue to believe that Scott McClellan is a nut because he is telling the truth or that Barrack Obama is a Muslim or any of the stupid irrelevant things going on. You can foolishly think that Obama's wife is not proud of our country or because BO is black he cannot lead. One thing is sure after the elections if Obama loses we have all lost not because I support him but because the risk of continuing anything close to the last 7 years is too dire. The question here is can Johnson do a good job of helping to streamline the candidates for veep? If you are not a sinner please cast the first stone. For all the evangelicals (of which I am one) that GW used to win last time are we better off? You don't have to answer, just go home, sit down and think about it A society reflects it leaders and vice versa, this great country voted for Bush twice. Is GW who we really are? Before you start attacking me let me just inform you that I have a son that is going for his third tour in Iraq, I am white, I am bitter, was a republican and I am voting for BO. Being strong is being able to stand up and tell the truth. Any mad man can fight (bombing Iran) but it takes a courageous man to talk at a table with those that he should normally fight with.

Posted by: Jeff | June 11, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

the kool-aid drinkers are out in force for their american hating , elite effette empty suit

Posted by: Anonymous | June 11, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Dan and AsperGirl,

Your both idiots and ignorant. I wish my job entailed making loosely related information into news. Given our two options for president. How about we make the best of the two options.

Here's something I'd like to read about...Which candidate will be the most accountable and responsible to the American people, and spend American tax dollars here at home versus funding, mismanaging, and losing a war overseas. Thanks.

Posted by: Tired of the Nonsense | June 11, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

How can this be an issue when McCain still has two major lobbiest running his campaign? Why are we talking about Obama side-stepping or non-answerng when McCain simply ignores the negatives facing him? This is more of the same double standard "conservative-talk."

Posted by: glitzgrl | June 11, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Obama promises change, what change?
He is nothing but an empty suit who embraces corruption similar to Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton. He will tax and spend us into a depression worst than 1929.

Posted by: Grover Salzer | June 11, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Why not write about something real instead, like Obama's and McCain's positions on the Senate Republicans' rejection of the oil legislation that would have taxed windfall profits among other things? This was a major event that presages how little we should expect the "special interests" to give up unless there is a tsunami at the polls in November ousting the Right Wingers from their role in protecting the obscene profits of corporate monopolies.

Instead the esteemed Mr. Balz mindlessly joins in trying to assassinate Obama's character by chipping away at him whenever possible. This kind of reporting is disgraceful yet so typical of the Post's biases toward the status quo and adamant oposition to having an open, free press in America. The Post has become the lead purveyor of "hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil". It is pathetic.


Posted by: goldie | June 11, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

So this guy Johnson served the same function for John Kerry without controversy, and now he's all of a sudden controversial because he "may" have received below-market rate loans in legal transactions? So Obama should investigate whether everyone associated with his campaign has received sweetheart deals in transactions that he has absolutely nothing to do with? The Washington Post has become a joke. Where were you when Bush was misleading this country into war? Where are you now when it has been exposed that the military had a propaganda campaign to use former military leaders to spout the Pentagon's line in the media? WaPo: We're watching you. We won't let you baselessly smear this good man's name so that McCain can be elected.

Posted by: Huh? | June 11, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

You are trying to create controversy and a news story where they don't exist. Obama described the role of this "committee" person. Johnson is not a one man show; he has the same vote as Holder and Kennedy. You have nothing better to do than to say that accurately stating someone's role may be indicative of problems with Obama's judgment? If you can't handle a candidate being candid and accurate you should report on topics other than politics. Your comments demonstrate that you see negatives everywhere; you are not an objective journalist.

Posted by: bobbie603 | June 11, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

One more thing... If you morons would actually go out and check the voting records of your liberal congressmen, you would see that they have been voting against fossil fuels AND other alternatives for 3 decades. It took 30 years of terrible energy policy to get to this point. It's there for anyone who cares to know the truth. But you Obama supporters don't really care about the truth do you. Prove me wrong, go and check out the votes on the Congressional website. Sheep.

Oil company profits are lower on a percentage basis than many other industries. Beer anyone? Tax the oil companies punitively. They won't leave the U.S. They won't pass down the cost to you. They won't outsource jobs or try to reduce costs. Tax everyone and everything. It's good for business if your business is government... Why not just nationalize the industry as Maxine Waters suggests? I'm sure that will be good for us right? It's working well for Mexico huh?

Posted by: Tex | June 11, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse


Hey! let's be nice!

McCain is making such a hash of his appearances. His truly miserable nominee night speech,his idiocy this morning about 'doesn't matter' if troops are under fire, etc.

Give the old codger a break. We're gonna have to understand that dementia has it's
frailities, and be at little kinder!

Like he had to be nice to Hillary and give her 'lots of extra time' to behave like a
jerk because she is a woman.

Also McCain may forget what he's said earlier, or change his stance on things, but hey!

I'm an old woman, and I know how it is.

Posted by: oldster fem | June 11, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Give me a break! I guess all of those students who have taken a class with Professor William Ayers will now be branded as domestic terrorists. Well, they enrolled in his class didn't they? Pathetic.

Posted by: BigDeal | June 11, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

What is really meant by "hunkering down and waiting for the storm to pass, which it usually does" is that the compliant press will abandon any negative story about Obama as soon as they can, so all he has to do is stonewall for a while and his handmaidens in the MSM will soon drop the issue. Must be nice.

Posted by: Beach Bum | June 11, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Obama just loves guys like these. When trouble comes up, Johnson will just "not be the man I know". What a candidate, what a guy!

Posted by: Lynn E | June 11, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

How many more times will Obama supporters turn a blind eye to Obama's hypocracy?

Barack wants to end corporate greed and help the little guy yet he trusts a beneficiary of that very evil with taking a major role in selecting his VP?

He wants to unite the country yet it took him 20 years and two pastors to quit Trinity?

He wants to convince me that he's patriotic by wearing lapel pins only after his polls dipped? Oh wait, I forgot, dissent is the highest for of patriotism. I think William Ayers wrote that.

Obama is making fools of his supporters and I will not feel sorry for them if he gets elected and has to use the "...well I thought we could..." excuse when all his promises go unkept.

Posted by: looch | June 11, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Eros writes:"Finally, the McCain campaign and the RNC are crying foul because they think/say this guy is a lobbyst. He's not. Nor, he's running Sen. Obama's campaign. He's volunteering along with two other people who are outside of the campaign -- for obvious reasons -- so they have the flexibility to conduct their search in the most discreet way."

--what dont you get ??, this guy is one of three helping to choose the VP slot. Its not like he's deciding what Ob eats for Lunch, its the No.2 spot on the ticket.
If Ob didnt open wide his mouth about Countrywide , he would have been better off
but now he looks like just another politician trying to cover his rear..."Change" ?? yeah right, just the same political games Bush plays except now we get a leftist politico.

Posted by: alex | June 11, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Under these conditions the sainted Robert Rubin (previous head of Goldman Sachs, Secty. of Treasury and lately big honcho at CitiBank) who is said to have been supportive of the sub-prime mortgage financial instrument...would have been nailed as well if he was in Johnson's spot. Having said this, Obama has made a mistake here. Get rid of the guy and maintain your standing as an agent of change.

Posted by: Ohillary | June 11, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Your headline asks "Who Is James Johnson Really?"

I remember when the Wall Street Journal was asking, "Who is Vince Foster?" -- a reasonable enough question, because Vince Foster was an obscure lawyer from Little Rock who nobody heard of before he followed the Clintons to Washington.

But Jim Johnson was the CEO of Fannie Mae. He is an inside the Beltway Wall Street cat. The Wall Street Journal knows damn well who he is, and if he was working for John McCain or even if he was in the Bush Cabinet, you would not be hearing any of this crap from the money press.

Get real. Obama wants to be President. He wants to have serious dealings with a lot of serious people, and he is not going to let every off the wall report that "raises questions" rattle his cage any more than any other serious executive would. Bush, Clinton, McCain, or anybody else would be calling your bluff on this baloney. Obama called this a "game." He's right. This is trivial. You find any real news, report it.

Posted by: pressF1 | June 11, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Aspergirl...

It's not that "all the paid Obamabots" are posting today.

It's that you are getting lonelier and lonelier. All the former Hillary supporters have taken Hillary's words to heart and switched their support to Obama.

You...you are still hoping they count MI's votes. Because you are stupid. And bitter. And irrational. And illogical.

Now I'll sit back and hope that somehow I magically get paid by Obama for calling Aspergirl a moron.....

Posted by: dan | June 11, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I knew Jim Johnson personally years ago when he was working for politicians in Minnesota. He wasn't honorable then - trust me - and he hasn't changed a bit.

Posted by: ramsheadtavern | June 11, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"The problem is that Mr. Johnson was also a public official at the time, the CEO of Fannie Mae"

False! Fannie Mae is NOT a government agency

Posted by: jdb1 | June 11, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

The responses to the article are hilarious. One article not kissing Obama's a** and the Washington Post is now a right wing rag.

Obama will be making many more mistakes than chosing the wrong guy to vet his VP canidates. I can't wait to read the outrage over repoting on those!!

Posted by: Obamamamma | June 11, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Obama obviously learned nothing from the Rev Wright issue. This is no way to get started on a Presidential General Election campaign.

Obama 2008

Posted by: Maddogg | June 11, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

"I would take the best rate I could get on a mortgage, and if I had a friend who owned a mortgage company, I'd probably go through them.

I don't get the problem? - Posted by: Brian "

The problem is that Mr. Johnson was also a public official at the time, the CEO of Fannie Mae, receiving favors from Countrywide, a private company in the mortgage business. If one cannot see an actual or potential conflict of interest there, one os being stubbornly blind.

Now whether or not a person with such disregard for conflicts-of-interest is suitable for this particular "discrete task" (is discreet task implied here?), is a proper question that can be raised. It is upto the Obama campaign to respond to it as they see fit, and the public/press to draw conclusions therefrom.

Seriously - when Obama says "So these are folks who are working for me, not people who I have assigned to a particular job in the future administration, and ultimately, my assumption is, is that this is a discrete task they'll be performing over the next two months" - what the hell does he mean? He is becoming pretty good at this matter of obfuscation.

It is his "assumption" that this is a "discrete task"?

Posted by: Krishna | June 11, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

sounds like a pattern of behavior to me. Obama is looking more and more like a Bush-of-the-left every day

Posted by: petrysl | June 11, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Some of you Obama myopians might want to actually read the WSJ article. It's not the favorable loan rates that are at issue, it's the influence peddling. This is a charge that keeps hitting closer and closer to home with Obama. Rezko? Blackwell?

Posted by: Tex | June 11, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse


And BALZ's stupid column today proves that

he's going to slime the democratic nominee

day after day on anything he can remotely can twist

After all Lieberman (I-Israel) and the WaPo must do their part for McCain.

McCain is the certified, bow and follow
AIPACs lead candidate. His confusion and
fading abilities make him the perftect foil.

Bush was easy to flatter, easy to maniuptate, the neocons just had to assure him of a great leagacy in the Middle East...McCain will be too foggy and grooy to think straight.


Post

Posted by: magoo | June 11, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm "shocked and awed" that a former CEO of Fannie Mae got a good deal on a few million dollar loans from Countrywide (their biggest customer).

Shocked and awed!!!!

Guess what...my biggest clients get a pretty good deal too. It's called business.

A real concern should be the fact that WcCain's entire staff pretty much consists of lobbyists who continue to lobby while all on his campaign team.

Show me any lobbyists on Obama's team that lobbied for Iran or the mortgage industry and then we can discuss this further....

Posted by: dan | June 11, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Balz, you just wrote this moderately extensive article about Mr. Johnson. However, toward the end of your piece you write:

"Johnson can certainly defend himself, if he needs defending...NOR ARE ALL THE DETAILS OF THE COUNTRYWIDE TRANSACTIONS KNOWN, although the Journal story said Johnson received a favorable interest rate. A lawyer for Johnson told the Journal that the loans were within standard practice in the industry, given someone "of Mr. Johnson's background."

This particular section is of interest. And please pay attention to the area in all CAPS. You don't have any background/details on the transaction itself to even determine if there is some sort of illegal activity -- after all that's the only thing that could be raised here.

So why don't you do some sort of investigative report that would compliment what has already been reported by the WJS, NYT and WaPo? Otherwise, this entire article has been a waste of time because you're just rehashing old news.

Moreover, Mr. Johnson is part of a THREE (3) person team who are V.P. hunting for Sen. Obama. He's not the lead, nor the only one doing the vetting.

Finally, the McCain campaign and the RNC are crying foul because they think/say this guy is a lobbyst. He's not. Nor, he's running Sen. Obama's campaign. He's volunteering along with two other people who are outside of the campaign -- for obvious reasons -- so they have the flexibility to conduct their search in the most discreet way.

Ultimately, there is really no story here, just a lot of nothing.

Posted by: Eros Wong | June 11, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Wow. All the paid Obama bots are out today, shilling for their candidate and blanketing the Internet with Obama campaign war room talking points.

It's a shame the way the Obama campaign and its blogging shills hijack forums and blogs and turn them into marketing echo chambers with bad-faith posts that they're posting for money.

Posted by: AsperGirl | June 11, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

We need to change! We need to change! We need to change!

Phooey. I'm voting for McCain. At least he has the balls to deal with us straight up, if I don't agree with everything hs says.

Posted by: Tom Reda | June 11, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

All the libs are out bashing the reporter, but these same posters will be the first to bash anything negative about McCain. This is a big deal! He has declared he will change Washington -- where did we hear that before only to find out much too late Washington was changed, but only for the worse. Different skin color, same old sheep.

Posted by: Juan | June 11, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

And while Obama is claiming this is a non-issue and nit-picking, he's again parsing McCain's sentence fragments for "gotcha" material about Iraq, blasting it all over the Internet.

Wasn't Obama's campaign promises ("new politics") also supposed to rise above "gotcha" politics?

Is it possible for Obama to be any more of a hypocrite and false-media-hyped candidate?

Posted by: AsperGirl | June 11, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

This is pure crap, Dan Balz and Washington Post style. The good thing is that these "journalists" have done this so much that the average reader and citizen understands now what a load of crap looks like, and adjusts accordingly by going to the bloggers for real news.

Posted by: JLE | June 11, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

As a country, we have bigger fish to fry than to worry about this, your idea of equal treatment, I suppose. It seems you would have us believe that Obama can only associate with absolute saints to be electable. I don't buy it, not after the hole the Republicans have dug for us.

Posted by: Sara B. | June 11, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

let me guess Dan...you are voting republican in 2008? You're story had made me dumber.

Posted by: Wayne | June 11, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Dan Balz you are completely out of touch. He "got" a jumbo loan that "MAY HAVE BEEN below market rates"???? Are you kidding me? You sleazy tabloid hustlers. Journalism is dead, long live journalism. I have waited, in vain, for the "gotcha" press corps to start doing their freakin' job. I'm a journalism grad who was taught playing ping pong between competing camps isn't DIGGING. So what if John McCain's cronies at the right wing bible WSJ make a slurred swing -- I'd be defensive too at such a ridiculous, slanted, miserably small tempest. How's your credit score, Dan? Pretty good? You think YOU might have gotten a mortgage rate better than some of your readers??? Please get out of your cubicles waiting for CNN and MSNBC or Faux News to call to get your scintillating "commentary" on today's "news" and go out and do a freaking story. Don't just resort to "he said she said" journalism of the lowest common denominator. "Sen. John McCain's surrogate today reported that Sen. Barack Obama in fact killed his white mother, froze her body and has been keeping it in a Hawaii freezer. The Obama campaign has denied the "scurrilous rumor" but leading Republican strategists are opining that this rumor could spell trouble for those voters who already see Sen. Obama as too 'ethnic' and outside the mainstream." Far fetched? Naah ... there's stuff just this patently absurd floating out there right now AND YOU GUYS PRINT IT and think your job is done when you get the standard denial. I thought the WaPo was above this crap ... I was wrong.

Posted by: omyobama | June 11, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Why is it a shock that Obama can't handle contraversy or obstacles? The man rode to victory on the back of the media who kissed his a** for the entire campaign. I thought Matt Lauer was going to propose to him.

Watch him crumble in the next couple of months.

McCain in 2008
Clinton in 2012!

Posted by: Erika | June 11, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

OK, let's go vet the vetters. This is absolutely ridiculous and amounts to nothing more than yellow journalism.

Posted by: Keith S. | June 11, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse


Boy, the Post has really turned into a right-wing rag. From their columnists to their "reporters" to their analysis pieces, everything save Froomkin seems to be taken in the light most favorable to Republicans.

It's truly remarkable. Six pulitzers or no, this newspaper, which I grew up loving, has really gone down.

Posted by: monk | June 11, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Obama has a real problem of having a certain kind of rhetoric but then hanging out with people who are totally inappropriate given his campaign promises.

He bashed Clinton as "old politics insiders" corrupted by industry and corporate ties, but as soon as she drops out, he starts winding REALLY unethical, worst-business-practices-of-the-decade corporate leeches into his organization. I don't think Clinton should be Obama's VP, but it's hilarious he's saying that she's too much a contradiction with his "change" platform while he's got Jim Johnson out looking for who that "change" VP would be, given that Johnson is the underbelly of old corporate politics lowlifes.

This is just like Obama going around preaching "racial transcendence" and being exposed as hanging around with ranting, foam-at-the-mouth hate speech racists for 20 years as his pastor and spiritual community guide.

Or Obama claiming to bring a "new tone" to politics and "unity" only to have behind-the-scenes orchestrated a horrifically sexist, mysogynist and verbally abusive campaign against his female opponent that is leaving his party explaining that the women will return and vote in the Fall because they have no place else to go because the Republicans are so bad.

Everything about Obama is a phony, false-marketing, hype.

Do we know who Johnson is? Do we even know who Obama is?

Posted by: AsperGirl | June 11, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Shame on you Dan Balz.

Posted by: elliottg | June 11, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

this is a non-issue.

Posted by: support | June 11, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

The substanced of the article aside, it is refreshing to see a journalist using the words "discrete" and "discreet" in the same article correctly - and even spell them right!

Maybe they CAN be taught to simple tasks after all - like question a president's claims on the way into a monumentally self-destructive war.

Posted by: Mark | June 11, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I would take the best rate I could get on a mortgage, and if I had a friend who owned a mortgage company, I'd probably go through them.
I don't get the problem?
Posted by: Brian | June 11, 2008 1:42 PM

The problem is the same guys that gave them the deal bundled these phony mortgages and sold them to where Jim Johnson worked in a high level position with authority to take them on!!
Problem solved!!
Today's Wall Street Journal editorial has said it all.

It is amazing that likes of Jim Johnson and Obama can talk about housing mortgage concerns and propose any kind of solutions.
And we should believe that these corrupt individuals have genuine interest of what an average American is facing everyday.

Jim Johnson is now charged with picking a VP candidate. Great!!

Posted by: xxxj11 | June 11, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

So-called reporters who help perpetuate this nonsense simply lack depth and integrity. That means you,Dan Balz.

Posted by: steve clark | June 11, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I encourage people to review the story the WSJ broke over the weekend. It details several instances where he received mortgage rates far below market. The obvious issue here is that Countrywide and Fannie Mae do business together. In plain english this could be called a'kickback' because the CEO was receiving what was effectively a material cash benefit potentially in connection with doing business with them. I think we all know what impact countrywide has had on our housing situation.

I am not sure why people on this board don't believe this is an issue, but it seems appropriate to determine exactly why he received this benefit and why he purposely withheld reporting it.

Additionally, it is undoubtedly political to make all these connections with obama's choice of friends and his judgment. However, the point is he has over and over again claimed 'change' etc etc and here he is close to a pure insider with a suspicious past. It is a fair issue

Posted by: Truth | June 11, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Geez,

The post just can't WAIT to make an issue out of nothing -- and issue, by the way, pushed by his republican opponents. What, is the post now simply reprinting the day's talking points?

THe republican operatives must be giggling with delight today. How easy it is!

Good grief, talk about tempest in a teapot.

Posted by: monk | June 11, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Why does Dan still have a job here? He writes the most petty and partisan pieces available on the internet. Washington Post can't stop disappointing me lately.

Posted by: APissedaAnt | June 11, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Another non-story. Follow the money ----where does it lead? Johnson got mortgages years ago....he's paying them on time. Who cares?

This is the best the Republican operations people can come up with?

Johnson once knew a guy whose wife's father was named John Jones -- and Jones rhymes with "BONES" and bones are in a skeleton and as a consequence of these startling facts which are indisputable - we demand an investigation of the Skeletons in Johnson's closet. CNN will do a SPECIAL REPORT on the Johnson skeleton "Problem" tomorrow in prime time.

Meanwhile we just shipped another $3 BILLION to Iraq who voted to get us the hell out of their country without leaving any residual bases and take that monstrosity of an embassy with you.

No news there ---let's go back to exposing the skeletons in the Johnson closet.

And, this just in --- Skeleton could be connected to RED Skelton ---whose name implies a relationship with the color RED----and we all know what that means.....special prosecutor.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 11, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

For this stuff to work it has to have a black guy yelling in it, or at least some sex or potential sex.

This guy is too white and boring. Besides, most people would like to get mortgage at 2%, so if anything they will admire him.

Try again.

Posted by: Russ S. | June 11, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Balz said repeatedly that Obama's comments regarding Johnson "raises questions," but never once said what any of those "questions" might be. What "questions?" I don't have any. Seems like a nothing article about nothing.

Posted by: aBigSAM | June 11, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

It truly amazes me how well a story such as this is written to almost perfection BUT where is the TRUTH in all of this nonsense. Why couldn't you have written a story about the lies that was told to the American people. Do you really dislike Obama this much? So who is truly guilty by association? Just can't believe everything you read. It just best to stay silent.

Posted by: mstee | June 11, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I am an Obama supporter, but its true he handled the situation poorly

Posted by: BC | June 11, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Bad taste in friends is more evidence of the fact this man is sham and a con man. His only track record is in selecting to associate with shady people. Doesn't bode well and now is too late for this information help people make good choices. In this time when he should be helping the *core* half of the Democratic party unite behind him, his bad taste is dividing the party even more. I don't know folks, this man is a loser.

Posted by: maggie | June 11, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

This is trash. Why don't you idiots report on real news, like how the Senate just released (two days ago, it's still news) that they indeed feel Bush and his administration purposefully mislead America in the lead up to the Iraq war.

Stop inventing news, there's plenty out there if your reporters decide to leave the building and work.

Posted by: self sycophant | June 11, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Dan:

With all due respect, this is another example of the petty faux scandalmongering that the Washington press establishment is so well-known for.

No one outside of the Tim Russert/Chuck Todd Fan Club cares about this story.

I left Washington two years ago after 13 years because I was tired of a public discussion that was constitutionally incapable of distinguishing between important issues/ questions and high school-style gossip and scandal mongering. Please stop contributing to the fluffing of fake scandals that distract from the many serious issues that confront this nation.

Posted by: Brian | June 11, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

For those undecided between Obama and McCain it might help to take a look at NPR's Cliff Schecter's "The Real McCain," a look at the development of the senator's career and a prediction of what we might expect for a cabinet and a supreme court. This helped me to understand why we think he is a maverick or independent because those are phases he's been through. Now he is very beholden to party establishment for his position and this explains the Bush-like policy positions, the voting record and so on. If you are a bookstore browser just look at the last chapter for the prospective cabinet. Some people we know rather well. I think Obama chose Johnson because he's done this before, for Kerry, and he did a great job. In fact, he gave us John Edwards who is still greatly loved and appreciated. And would make a great attorney general. But I digress.

Posted by: Gaias Child | June 11, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Good call, Julian. The Phil Gramm thing has been completely ignored by the establishment media, because to do otherwise would be to call the heroism of McCain into question.

I hope Obama is ready for smear after smear, and it's not just going to come from Republicans, but from the "nonpartisan" press.

Posted by: MdM | June 11, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Know what? No one outside the confines of the Beltway seems to care about this. The WAPO would be wise to take note...

Posted by: scrappy | June 11, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

How is this relevant to anything? Get your tempest out of my teapot!

Posted by: tom | June 11, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Tempest in another teapot

Posted by: JAKE L | June 11, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

It's sad to see that Obama supporters are simply unable to accept any flaws in their candidate. I have yet to make up my mind between McCain and Obama. There are things I like about both candidates but I'm troubled by Obama's lack of sincerity and honesty. He avoids controversy until it hits him in the face (Rev. Wright) and then he doesn't even truly disassociate himself from it.

I liked Slick Willy a lot. I wasn't old enough to vote for Bill Clinton but I would have in 1992 and 1996 but Obama is looking even slicker.

Posted by: Sad | June 11, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Um... normally when you criticize somebody for their connections and history like this, there has to be a reason why this would affect the administration. Instead of blindly criticizing

Is Johnson going to deliberately do his job in a way to benefit Countrywide Financial, i.e. select VP that will be in Countrywide's pocket?

Is Johnson playing such an integral role to the campaign that he'll be able to come up to Obama and say "Remember all that hard work I did vetting your Veep? You should bla bla bla to benefit Countrywide Financial! You owe me!" It's not exactly a huge quid-pro-quo.

I've been researching campaign finance reform for a while now, and this is just a false flag. If you get into the whys and hows, this is just irrelevant.

Posted by: Steve Charb | June 11, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Dan Balz--remove the blinders, pull out the earplugs, and otherwise wake up. The evidence of Obama's unwillingness to deal with controversy forthrightly--or at all--has been available from day one. Controversy ever shadows him: it is obvious to anyone that this is nowhere near the first situation to raise questions about him that not only linger but intensify...though of course, it depends on who's raising the questions, doesn't it?

This description of Obama and controversy could apply as well to the media's coverage of him from day one: eyes, ears, and indeed mouths shut, neither seeing nor hearing nor speaking of controversy if the subject is Obama.

But can this symbiosis long endure, now that the Obama camp and the media need not devote all their energy to demonizing Hillary Clinton? A riveting soap opera--if only we didn't have to suffer living through it in real life.

Posted by: LKW2 | June 11, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I would take the best rate I could get on a mortgage, and if I had a friend who owned a mortgage company, I'd probably go through them.
I don't get the problem?
Posted by: Brian | June 11, 2008 1:42 PM

The problem is: the same guys that gave them the deal bundled these phony mortgages and sold them to where Jim Johnson worked in a high level position with authority to take them on!!
Problem solved!!

Posted by: xxxj11 | June 11, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

boo hoo, is the mean old pwess picking on Obama?

wah

Posted by: lucci | June 11, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"It seems like the one person that really needs vetting is being ignored and that is Obama himself. .... Obama is a meatloaf that the liberals took out of the oven too soon. He is not ready for prime time. - Posted by: obiewan"

Today is Friday. What would be the chance of James Johnson quitting this job on Friday, in order to spend more time with his family?

Lee, another poster, raised three questions, and showed their relevancy. It is upto the Obamatons to give specific answers as to why there is nothing to question here. Or else, they should be urging their candidate to ease Johnson out.

More important is the idea raised by Obiewan that the person who needs to be vetted is the guy who appointed this flawed vetter as the vetter of his veep-stakes. Mr. Obama might be the person who ascended to the nomination with the least amount of scrutiny of any presidential candidate, thanks to a fawning, obsequious press.

To paraphrase his pastor's snippets, the chickens are coming home to roost.

Posted by: Krishna | June 11, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

The Emperor has no clothes.

Posted by: Kid in the Crowd | June 11, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand the complaint that Mr. O is complaining and he better run for cover if the mad Iranian leader, Ahmadinejad gets a nuke. Obama isn't crying. I just don't understand knee jerks. Oh, I see. Jerks.

Posted by: Pete Kusnick | June 11, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Opiniated journalism such as Dan B.'s makes the media ineffective and this reader disinterested.

Posted by: emilywoo | June 11, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Once again the corporate, conservative media is trying to use its Weapon of Mass Distraction to deflect attention from what really matters in this election. When will the commentator have the Balz to take on real issues?

Posted by: thebob.bob | June 11, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

This is such a non-issue. And I think the author is taking significant liberties--embellishing and spinning what Obama actually said. Obama said Johnson is charged with a discrete task, not that he is "floating in some outer orbit" of the campaign. Give me a break.

Posted by: Joe | June 11, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

When satellite radio was in its infancy, Sirius offered an internal friends and family promotion that entitled a new subscriber to a FREE radio receiver. Word of mouth spread and I was able to get two free receivers.

Point is, Johnson had an opportunity for a deal on his mortgage because of his relationship with this company.

That alone doesn't make him guilty.

this whole story is absurd.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 11, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

But Phil Gram, the man behind the housing crisis, advising McCain, and Charlie Black, who lobbies on behalf of foreign dictators are non issues. We will see this throughout the campaign. Obama isn't a beltway insider like McCain, so the inside beltway media will think everything raises questions about him. Their Washington insider candidate McCain, though, can do no wrong in their eyes. As far Balz is concerned McCains relationships, are more evidence he is a maverick, or whatever Beltway conventional wisdom calls him these days.
The Washington media will always root for the Washington candidate.

Posted by: Julian | June 11, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I am reminded of an incident when a company I worked for was hit with a sex discrimination suit. I (a woman not involved in the firing but familiar with this woman's work) was interviewed about Ms X's termination (fully justified IMHO by abysmal performance). The interviewer's first comment on the written report was that I "admitted that she knows Ms X is female."

Wow, what a confession that interviwer dragged out of me -- I actually "admitted" that the woman in question was female and that I was aware of that fact! Words can be shaded and twisted to make the most innocent comment sound devious and worthy of discussion. Obama's comments are being similarly twisted and over-analysed.

Posted by: Catdancer | June 11, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I would take the best rate I could get on a mortgage, and if I had a friend who owned a mortgage company, I'd probably go through them.

I don't get the problem?

Posted by: Brian | June 11, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

It seems like the one person that really needs vetting is being ignored and that is Obama himself. He and his Obamabots are the biggest bunch of crybabies I have ever seen. What is he going to do if Ahmadinejad shoves a nuke up his butt? Whine about and cry like a little girl? Obama is a meatloaf that the liberals took out of the oven too soon. He is not ready for prime time.

Posted by: obiewan | June 11, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The problem with American politics is clear to see on this board as people from both sides go on immediate attack or defense without any thought or consideration. Actually look at the points of this article and see if they are out of line. 1) Obama has a reputation, deserved or not, as an agent of change. So isn't it a legitimate issue if his actions are standard politics? 2) The individual in question has apparently engaged in corporate practices which are questionable. Isn't it legitimate to ask if he is someone to be entrusted with a significant responsibility? 3) The only direct contention the writer makes with Obama is his response, which is that the role is unimportant. And isn't the selection of a VP an important role? Doesn't this mean Obama's response is a little odd?

Maybe if people actually looked at the questions being asked, and answered them honestly for themselves, we could have intelligent political debates. Instead of this constant poisoning of the well. (After all what the hell does Iraq have to do with this story? The answer, nothing it is an automatic attack response geared to keep people from actually talking about issues.) Oh, and this goes also to those on the right that automatically take this article as a damning indictment of Obama. It isn't, it is a piece that is meant to ask legitimate questions, and provoke honest and thoughtful debate.

Posted by: Lee | June 11, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Where were you when CONVICTED Iran-Contra bad actor Elliott Abrams was placed in a high level position in the current administration? Don't you think that someone who "may have" gotten a good deal on a mortgage falls a bit below that on the poor judgement through association ladder?

Posted by: Dahagg | June 11, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I hope our comments aren't being monitored by BO's "thought police" or we'll all have blck Suburbans outside our house!.... BO's followers don't care about reality, rather they would like to be reminded that people on MSNBC get "leg tingles" when they hear his speeches or that others faint when BO speaks.
To be reminded that he is a politician is a bit too much to swallow. Wait until they find out he can't turn water into wine!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 11, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

HE IS A VOLUNTEER, THIS IS MUCH TO DO ABOUT NOTHING!!!!!

Posted by: gtalkspolitics | June 11, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"Johnson is drawing fire over his jumbo home loans from Countrywide... that may have been below market rates."

"May have been"? Is this the devastating evidence of corruption that is supposed to WOW us? And what if Countrywide simply paid him a consulting fee... would that have been more ethical.

Where's the fire?!
If this is the best the McCain campaign can do they are in big trouble!

Posted by: george capralis | June 11, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Balz wrote:

"Obama's suggestion that his chief VP vetter is only tangential to campaign raises questions about his willingness to deal forthrightly with controversy."

AN ABSOLUTELY KEY POINT ABOUT OBAMA, AND IS ONE OF MY MANY RESERVATIONS ABOUT THIS MAN-I AS A DEM. WILL NOT BE VOTING FOR OBAMA-I KNOW, HE IS A RICHARD M. NIXON IN THE MAKING-HE WILL ANSWER NO QUESTIONS, AND AS TIME GOES ON, MARK MY WORDS, OBAMA WILL BECOME HOSTILE TO THE PRESS, BECAUSE HE IS NOT A PEOPLE PERSON, HE'LL GROW MORE REMOTE, NOT LESS-AND GOD HELP US IF HE WERE TO GET ELECTED-YOU TALK ABOUT A DISCONNECT BETWEEN THE CAMPAIGN OBAMA AND THE REAL OBAMA-YOU AIN'T SEEN NUTHIN' YET-THE OBAMA ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL IS A FAKE OBAMA, WHO WILL DO AND SAY ANYTHING TO GET ELECTED-HE'S NOT AN EXPERIENCED ENOUGH POLITICIAN TO KNOW THAT SUCH A TACTIC WILL BACKFIRE, BIG-TIME ON HIM LATER ON.

NOPE. I AM NOT VOTING FOR OBAMA. NO WAY. EVEN IF LIMOUSINE LIBERAL CAROLINE KENNEDY WITH ALL HER SPARE TIME, THINKS OBAMA IS THE GREATEST, BECAUSE HE WENT TO HARVARD. UH-HUH. HE IS NOT THE MOST QUALIFIED CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT, NOT BY A LONG SHOT.

Posted by: Schmetterling | June 11, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

This is a ridiculous and frivolous article. Jim Johnson is a decent person. What is wrong if he got a loan on favorable terms from Countrywide? You would get a better load maybe if you knew someone who had a mortgage company.

Posted by: Venkat | June 11, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Let's face it. Obama could pick the Virgin Mary to head up the search, and the goddamn repugnicans would find a way to criticize her. Just wait until November. We'll not only control the Senate, but we won't have to worry about this 60 vote BS the repugnicans have been using to hold the country hostage. We'll drive a stake through their cold cold hearts once and for all.

Posted by: Yuri Lipitzmeov | June 11, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

This is the typical response by the Obama campaign to criticism of his advisors. They are unpaid volunteers. These aren't college kids working as unpaid volunteers. These are high-powered lobbyists who expect the clients they represent to be paid off. And they may well be, with our taxpayer money. Everything presented about who Obama is, turns out to be the opposite. He has a very slick campaign.

Posted by: susan | June 11, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

the Obamanauts are out. no doubt many of these comments are from the obama internet propaganda team.

Posted by: quietpatriot | June 11, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

if he's not being considered for a whitehouse position, and he is not a paid adviser- then what is the premise for obama being criticized? this guilt by association ( that only appiles to obama) only shows the continued failure of the media.
here's what people are ticked off about:
1) silent media who aided a march to a Stupid war.
2) silent media in the selling out of the middle-class
3)silent media when- established, entrenched, special interest try to and nearly succeed to hijack our government for 28 yrs.
get real and excercise some journalistic integrity.

Posted by: jacade | June 11, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Good lord! We have a president who has put Americans in Guantanamo without access to a lawyer, has outed a CIA agent, writes unconsitutional signing statements, manipulated facts to make a case for war, incompetently executed that war, etc... but THIS is a controversy? Oh the horror! The horror!!!

Posted by: Bob | June 11, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Yet again Obama shows clear lack of judgment in his choice of associates. When will Obama supporters wake up and realize what a sham this guy is?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 11, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

what great investigative reporting!

all the lies and stonewaling about iraq, americans torturing prisioners, a major american city destroyed, and this is what we apply our journalistic energies towards?

are there no more important issues, mr. balz, than this?

Posted by: david | June 11, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Gosh another media created BS non-issue. Baltz is clearly a GOP hack. Whata miserable excuse for journalism - All horse race, no issues.

A new press please, this one is too corrupt and stupid to be believed.

Tell the media hack Dan B. maybe he should write about the Bushies bombing Pakistan, a country we were not, last I checked, at war with.

Posted by: Jon Chim | June 11, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Its like the farmer complaining about foxes in the chicken coop but then hires the fox as a consultant. Obama supporters dont know any other choice but what flavor of kool aid Obama mixes for them.

Posted by: alex | June 11, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Some commenters have suggested that there's a double standard at the WP. Come, come, now. How dare they question this bastion of journalistic integrity?

On the other hand, here's an experiment you can do for yourself:

Put the following words in the WP's search box: Gramm UBS McCain

See what you get.

Then put the same words in a Google search. (And Google News as well.)

Is there a double standard here?

Explanation, Mr. Balz? Explanation, editors?

Posted by: dwiltzee | June 11, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse


"This is an issue looking for a controversey...."

Sounds reasonable, as long as the same standard is applied to similar non-issues about McCain.

Posted by: WylieD | June 11, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

As usual the scandal obsessed press is over analyzing and reading meaning into statements that are just not important. The man is on a team vetting a VP. As long as Obama is aware of his connections to Countrywide he will keep that in mind when he reviews the committee's final recommendations. Everyone has an agenda these days, it is important that the candidate is aware of that agenda and accepts the report for what is of value.

Posted by: Madeleine | June 11, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Today's Wall Street Journal editorial has said it all.

It is amazing that likes of Jim Johnson and Obama can talk about housing mortgage concerns and propose any kind of solutions.
And we should believe that these corrupt individuals have genuine interest of what an average American is facing everyday.

Jim Johnson is now charged with picking a VP candidate. Great!!

Posted by: xxxj11 | June 11, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but I'm a political junkie and even I can't bring myself to care about this. It seems like you're test driving a new controversy.

Posted by: ATL | June 11, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Right...Obama's decision to talk about this issue immediately, but not pander to the media (sorry Dan Balz, I used to think you didn't play this game) by just throwing Johnson out the door at the first sign of controversy was a "failure to deal forthrightly"? Come now.

Posted by: MN | June 11, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

You guys must be bored to be making such a big deal out of this. I didn't hear about it when Kerry ran for office? What does Johnson's history with these loans have to do with his ability to vet VP candidates? Seems like the press is reaching on this one - as is the McCain campaign.

Posted by: Lee | June 11, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

"This is an issue looking for a controversy"

Amen. Slow news day. Do you think Joe Sixpack in Peoria is paying attention to James Johnson's barely comprehensible connections to things in the past? How about to Obama's response to these barely comprehensible connections.

Presidents aren't chosen on this type of crud.

And if the WaPo wants to really delve in to these tangential players, they can do a side-by-side comparison of the people in the two campaigns. It would not be in McCain's favor.

Posted by: BB | June 11, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Concern that this might be a scandal [having a financially connected person, who once headed a banking company that might have done something or other at some point, on a campaign committee] is a concern only a Democrat could spend more than a moment worrying over. As such, it won't convince a single soul to switch his or her vote from Obama to McCain.

This tempest will remain in its teapot.

Posted by: mobedda | June 11, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Now we're generating controversy over Obama's willingness to deal with controversy? Give me a break...

Posted by: Kate | June 11, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Obama is like a spoiled child when anyone questions his judgement or lack there of.
How dare you question my judgement of who I pick to help select a vp. Its obvious the issue is being brought up because I'm black. This is what we want in the white house. This guy is all hat and no cattle as stated by kinky friedman. Rhetoric won't get it done. The problem is McCain is not a politician. Obama has given him more ammo but John dosen't have a clue how to use it.

Mccains advisors better sit him down and give em a lecture. As bad as Bush's rating is, if he could serve 3 terms he would make Obama look like a kid in a one on one debate.

Posted by: Ziggy1 | June 11, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

This is an issue looking for a controversey and it doesn't raise issues about Obama except in the authors mind.

Why don't you discuss the real issues in this campaign instead of phony psycobabble about a candidate's thinking.

Trying to make up for letting Bush slip through?

Posted by: f. boyd | June 11, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

wow. eight friggin years of endless lies and a murderous foreign policy that is met with a shrug of the shoulders by the national political press corps. but, ooohhhh babeee, the villagers are just waiting to pounce on any insignificant misstep to smear obama. it must be painful for the bbq-base to watch their beloved st john's craptacular campaign screw up hourly.

that's why this story about obama is now the subject of wapo huffing and puffing.

Posted by: linda | June 11, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight. You're reporting that a board member of several companies has gotten a *legal* sweetheart mortgage? SERIOUSLY?

Posted by: Oh Please | June 11, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Typical Obamese double-speak. Do as I say, not as I do.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 11, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Gutter, garbage journalism. Slow day, so smear! Good thing nobody cares. Isn't the US bombing our "allies" the Pakistani army exciting enough for you people?

Posted by: frededias | June 11, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, he did the same regarding Reverend Wright. And, when it finally got too hot, he found a way to dump him. Is this becoming a pattern?

Posted by: Narnia | June 11, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Yes the race has started

Posted by: eazy | June 11, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

If we're really going to change America, we've got to hold all politician's feet to the fire. Senator Obama included. The Democratic energy bill was defeated by the Republicans and I can hardly find anyone who's talking about it. Why must big oil, raking in record quarterly profits, receive multi-million dollar tax breaks? Americans are in dire straits.

http://healinganation.wordpress.com/

Posted by: tankas | June 11, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"that may have been below market rates."

Perhaps you should figure that out first?

Posted by: Jonathan | June 11, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

here's where obama and mccain stand on the economy, the war, education, and health care:

http://thevote.abc13.com/issues/index.html

feel free to leave your thoughts and links in the comments section

Posted by: tomabrahams | June 11, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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