Monday, June 9, 2008

McCain - Statement on Obama Campaign and Subprime Mortgage Lenders

Today, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds issued the following statement in response to the Obama campaign calling stories about Jim Johnson "overblown and irrelevant":

"There is nothing 'overblown and irrelevant' about millions of Americans facing foreclosure and Barack Obama entrusting his most important decision as a presidential candidate to a man who has accepted millions in special loans from a subprime mortgage lender. The Obama campaign's reaction is even more appalling considering that they were the first to criticize the Clinton campaign for ties to Countrywide and subprime lenders. It might be 'overblown' to ask that Barack Obama's actions match his rhetoric. Apparently, fixing the housing crisis begins with the Obama campaign."

Obama Campaign Calls Story About Jim Johnson, Who Is Leading Barack Obama's Vice Presidential Process, "Overblown And Irrelevant":

Obama Campaign: "This Story Is Overblown And Irrelevant." "This story is overblown and irrelevant. This an overblown story about what appear to be completely above-board transactions." ("Obama Camp Talking Points On Jim Johnson And Countrywide," Time Magazine's "The Page,", 6/9/08)

Top Campaign Adviser Jim Johnson Received Special Loans From Countrywide:

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

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

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

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

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

Flashback: Obama's Campaign Attacked Sen. Clinton's Campaign For Its Countrywide Ties:

Obama Senior Campaign Strategist David Axelrod Criticized Sen. Clinton For Employing Mark Penn, Whose Firm Once Represented Countrywide. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann: "Senator Clinton not stopping to hear a reporter's question about Mark Penn, let alone answer it, leading Penn's counterpart in the Obama campaign to fill in the vacuum about Penn's non-departure departure this morning on MSNBC." David Axelrod: "She's stuck him with him through the revelation that his firm was working fro Blackwater and working for Countrywide, and, you know, so, it's kind of stunning. Remember that the embassy said they weren't sure whether he was there as a representative of his firm or a representative of Senator Clinton. I mean, I think there are issues associated with this. I'm not - you can use the word hypocrisy, but there are certainly questions that arise from this." (MSNBC's "Countdown," 4/7/08)

Watch David Axelrod Here

Axelrod: "Penn's Business Dealings Have Always Been An Issue." "Last week, she turned her fire on a huge proposed pay-out to the founder of Countrywide Financial, the mortgage company at the centre of the storm. Yet two months ago, Countrywide turned for temporary help with its tattered image to the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, whose president is Mr Penn. ... Mrs Clinton's criticism of lenders also raised fresh questions over the role of Mr Penn. Mr Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, said: 'Penn's business dealings have always been an issue. The Clinton campaign is clearly not too worried who its chief strat-egist does business with.' Burson-Marstell er said it was no longer working with Countrywide and that Mr Penn did not have a hands-on role with many of its 2,000 clients." (Philip Sherwell, "Clintons' Pain And Gain In Housing Crisis," The Sunday Telegraph, 1/20/08)

The Obama Campaign Criticized Sen. Clinton For Accepting Contributions From Representatives Of Countrywide. "Obama aides also said Clinton is in no position to stiffen oversight after taking contributions from mortgage industry lobbyists, including funds from representatives of Countrywide, which has been at the center of the mortgage meltdown. 'If we're really going to crack down on the practices that caused the credit and housing crises, we're going to need a leader who doesn't owe these industries any favors,' campaign manager David Plouffe said." (Anne E. Kornblut, "Clinton Unveils Plan To Ease Housing Crisis," The Washington Post, 3/25/08)

No comments: