Barack Obama says James Johnson isn’t that important and his discounted “Friends of Angelo Mozilo” loans is a “game.” But could it be that this is a bridge too far even for his media fans.? One observes:
The fact that his staff made similar tactical attacks on Clinton, on very similar issues (actually, nobody on in Clinton’s orbit was ever accused of getting a special deal from Countrywide) makes it harder for Obama to take cover on the high road here.
Yowzer. That’s not the only reporter who is rolling his eyes in disgust. There is this report:
The problem is, Obama critics say, perception and hypocrisy. Obama had railed against Countrywide and Mozilo, and his campaign had impugned Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, for taking money from Countrywide lobbyists and for allowing a senior campaign adviser to simultaneously do work for Countrywide.
The full presser is here with the amazed reaction of Jake Tapper (“Did I read that correctly? Did Obama claim that Johnson and Holder — two of the three people heading up his VP search committee — aren’t ‘work’-ing for him?I suppose that’s because they’re unpaid, but my stars, that’s a lot of high-level, time-consuming sensitive effort to not be considered “working” for Sen. Obama.”)
Perhaps worse yet are hints of more to come from that well-known rightwing media outfit, MSNBC:
Obama, meanwhile, seems to have his own problem with veep vetter Jim Johnson, who reportedly received preferential loans from subprime lender Countrywide. The Obama camp responded by blowing off the story, according to Time. “This is an overblown story about what appear to be completely above-board transactions.” Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor also shot back, “It’s the height of hypocrisy for the McCain campaign to try and make this an issue when John Green, one of John McCain’s top advisors, lobbied for Ameriquest, which was one of the nation’s largest subprime lenders and a key player in the mortgage crisis.” But these responses mask what seems to be a problem for the campaign. How much more is here with Johnson? As the housing crisis percolates in the background, Johnson was involved with many of the players involved in this so-called crisis. So even if he has committed no wrongdoing, he’s at a minimum connected to folks who did questionable things. And then there is his role he played on some corporate boards involving executive compensation. But there’s a larger point the GOP will hit Obama with on this one: If Obama claims he’s going to clean house in DC of the folks who conduct business the “old way,” then why is he doing business with a guy like Johnson who — some might argue — is the poster child of the old way to do business in DC. If there’s a drip, drip on Johnson, can Obama afford to keep him in this high profile role? Will some potential veep candidates who Johnson could vet come out publicly against some of the things Johnson practiced in corporate America? This story’s not going away…
The Obama camp must be asking where the media cocoon is when you need it (And by the way many of these reporters have now caught on to the problem with Eric Holder.)