Early Briefing: The Latest Campaign Punching Bags

That would be Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Staff writer Zachary A. Goldfarb tries to sort out fact from fiction in the recent campaign statements about the mortgage finance giants by Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and his Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.).

Neither candidate seemed all that outspoken about problems at the companies until very recently, and neither is saying much about what role the companies should play now that they are under government control and supposed to help get the mortgage markets moving again.

See Zach's report here.

Meanwhile, from our friends at the Reliable Source, comes this:

SURREAL ESTATE

Buyer: Franklin Raines

Price:$4.9 million

Details: Meltdown? What meltdown? The former Fannie Mae chairman -- who separated from wife Wendy this spring -- has settled into a luxury bachelor pad (three-bedroom, seven-bath condo with private terrace and hot tub) at the downtown Ritz-Carlton Residences, the Washingtonian first reported. His soon-to-be-ex bought a four-bedroom, four-bath Colonial in Cleveland Park for $4.2 million. They put their seven-bedroom Forest Hills home (movie theater, pool, tennis court) on the market in March; it's now under contract after a price drop from $8.2 million to $7.6 million.

In other news:

*Jeffrey Steiner stepped down from his post as Fairchild's chief executive, citing an unspecified illness. Steiner, who founded the McLean company, will remain a strategic consultant.

Philip Sassower, Fairchild's chairman, and Eric Steiner, the company's president and Steiner's son, will share chief executive responsibilities on an acting basis, the company said. Fairchild sells motorcycle accessories and airplane parts.

*Peter Cleveland, chief of staff to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) since 2006, signed on to Intel's District office, the company said. Cleveland will join Intel as vice president for global public policy after the Nov. 4 presidential election.

*Prince William County wants to reinvent itself, by centering growth in 25 walkable, environmentally friendly areas to reduce sprawl.

Unlike similar projects across the region, which focus on one section of a county or town, the Prince William plan is more ambitious. The county wants to transform almost 20 square miles, about 12,500 acres, into "centers of community" and "centers of commerce" -- half-mile circles of high-density, mixed-use projects built around mass transit.

Residents, developers and business owners had their first opportunity to comment on the plan Wednesday night at a Planning Commission hearing on the concept proposed by the Land Use Advisory Committee. The panel of eight people appointed by supervisors to review the county's Comprehensive Plan spent a year rethinking how the county approaches development.

By Dan Beyers  |  October 9, 2008; 8:19 AM ET
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