This is the second of several McCain themes this week that is causing the press and Obama to call McCain a “liar” and “clearly exagerrating.” With this one, it gets worse as both Time and the Washington Post are accusing the McCain campaign of using racial overtones.
Here is McCain’s ad on the housing situation and Obama’s association with the former CEO of Fannie Mae.
The Washington Post Factchecker describes the ad: “The McCain video attempts to link Obama to Franklin Raines, the former CEO of the bankrupt mortgage giant, Fannie Mae, who also happens to be African American. It then shows a photograph of an elderly white woman taxpayer who has supposedly been “stuck with the bill” as a result of the “extensive financial fraud” at Fannie Mae.”
The Obama campaign says that it “neither sought nor received” advice from Raines. The Washington Post:
So what evidence does the McCain campaign have for the supposed Obama-Raines connection? It is pretty flimsy, but it is not made up completely out of whole cloth. McCain spokesman Brian Rogers points to three items in the Washington Post in July and August. It turns out that the three items (including an editorial) all rely on the same single conversation, between Raines and a Washington Post business reporter, Anita Huslin, who wrote a profile of the discredited Fannie Mae boss that appeared on July 16. The profile reported that Raines, who retired from Fannie Mae four years ago, had “taken calls from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters.”
and concludes that
The McCain campaign is clearly exaggerating wildly in attempting to depict Franklin Raines as a close adviser to Obama on “housing and mortgage policy.” If we are to believe Raines, he did have a couple of telephone conversations with someone in the Obama campaign. But that hardly makes him an adviser to the candidate himself — and certainly not in the way depicted in the McCain video release.
Time Magazine also accused the McCain Campaign of “interjecting race” into the campaign. Time had a bit of unusual logic however.
Let me stipulate: Obama’s Fannie Mae connections are completely fair game. But this ad doesn’t even mention a far more significant tie–that of Jim Johnson, the former Fannie Mae chairman who had to resign as head of Obama’s vice presidential search team after it was revealed he got a sweetheart deal on a mortgage from Countrywide Financial. Instead, it relies on a fleeting and tenuous reference in a Washington Post Style section story to suggest that Obama’s principal economic adviser is former Fannie Mae Chairman Frank Raines. Why? One reason might be that Johnson is white; Raines is black.
Time apparently hadn’t seen the Jim Johnson ad yet.