Tuesday, September 23, 2008

John McCain's Fannie Flak

On exactly what planet does Team McCain live?

I pose this question because the campaign is about to enter the realm of the surreal.

The Prelude

In the aftermath of the historic Wall Street financial collapse, the McCain campaign put out a bizarre attack on Barack Obama, with a disturbing campaign ad as the centerpiece.

The campaign commercial attempted to link Obama to former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines. Observe the ad for yourself and note this...considering both Obama and Raines have claimed the story (alleging that Obama sought financial advice from Raines) is a downright lie, and there is no proof, why even put this out there, when the head of your campaign has a much bigger reason to not want to get into comparisons on this issue?

As you watch, let me give you a clue as to what McCain was doing. This was obviously a 'smear by association' ploy, made popular by Karl Rove. Check out Franklin Raines' skin tone. In one shot they make him look utterly devious. Does the term 'angry black man' come to mind? And then observe the personification of the victims, an elderly white woman. Click on the ad and witness the racism of John McCain.

The Times Article

Earlier this week, the New York Times had this to say about Rick Davis, Senator John McCain's campaign manager:
Senator John McCain’s campaign manager was paid more than $30,000 a month for five years as president of an advocacy group set up by the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to defend them against stricter regulations, current and former officials say.
For those not fond of calculators, that translates to just under 2 million dollars.

These are the people who put out the attack ad?

The Times expose seems rock solid and insinuates that anger from the Obama/Raines ads was the reason that people came forward to discuss the role of Davis. Read for yourself at the link provided above.

The Davis Rant

So, how does Mr. Davis respond to the allegations? Does he refute the charges uncategorically? Does he offer up a defense?

Well, not exactly.

He equates the New York Times with being a tool of the Democratic Party. That's right, the same Times that cozied up to George W. Bush and helped to lie us into war. I heard an audio clip of Davis, ripping into the Times earlier today. And the campaign has now taken up the mantle.

As the Gothamist reports:
Yesterday, campaign adviser Steve Schmidt said, "Whatever the New York Times once was, it is today not by any standard a journalistic organization...This is an organization that is completely, totally, 150 percent in the tank for the Democratic candidate, which is their prerogative to be... It is a pro-Obama organization that every day attacks the McCain campaign, attacks Sen. McCain, attacks Gov. Palin and excuses Sen. Obama.
I can fully understand how the base is going to get all riled up about this, but did they really think such a disgraceful attack would appeal to independents and moderates? Especially since the charges the Times made were not denied?

It gets worse for McCain

Today, the story grew substantially worse for McCain/Palin/Davis.

In reports in both the New York Times, and now, Newsweek as well, money kept being funneled into Davis' consulting firm, even though no work was being done to justify the outlay of money.

How much money?

According to Newsweek's Michaek Isikoff:
Since 2006, the federally sponsored mortgage giant Freddie Mac has paid at least $345,000 to the lobbying and consulting firm of John McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis, according to two sources familiar with the arrangement.

Freddie Mac had previously paid an advocacy group run by Davis, called the Homeownership Alliance, $30,000 a month until the end 2005, when that group was dissolved. That relationship was the subject of a New York Times story Monday, which drew angry denunciations from the McCain campaign. McCain and his aides have vehemently objected to suggestions that Davis has ties to Freddie Mac—an especially sensitive issue given that the Republican presidential candidate has blamed "the lobbyists, politicians and bureaucrats" for the mortgage crisis that recently prompted the Bush administration to take over both Freddie Mac and its companion, Fannie Mae, and put them under federal conservatorship.

But neither the Times story—nor the McCain campaign—revealed that Davis's lobbying firm, Davis Manafort, based in Washington, D.C., continued to receive $15,000 a month from Freddie Mac until last month—long after the Homeownership Alliance had been terminated.
And, as the Times, correctly suggests:
The disclosure undercuts a statement by Mr. McCain on Sunday night that the campaign manager, Rick Davis, had had no involvement with the company for the last several years.
It would seem that way, wouldn't it?

So what's next on the agenda?

Will Mr. Davis and Team McCain now claim that Newsweek is out to get them, too?

If I were a betting man...

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