“Whatever the New York Times once was, it is not today by any standard a journalistic organization. It is a pro-Obama organization that every day attacks Senator McCain, attacks Governor Palin, and excuses Senator Obama.”
That was McCain campaign CEO, Steve Schmidt, on Sunday’s Times story that basket case mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae paid the firm owned by McCain campaign manager Rick Davis $2 million over five years, about $30,000 a month. The news about Davis emerged because the McCain camp started broadcasting ads trying to link Mr. Obama to the government bailout of the mortgage giants ”by charging that he takes advice from Fannie Mae’s former chief executive, Franklin Raines, an assertion both Mr. Raines and the Obama campaign dispute.”
Mortgage execs were ticked off and ratted Davis out to the Times, but McCain and his campaign went on the attack, saying Davis hadn’t worked for Freddie and Fannie for years, and they used the article to ramp up attacks on the media–always an easy, and often deserving, target. (The McCain anti-media blitz grew comical today as they tried to keep Sarah Palin in a photo-op bubble as she made nice at the U.N. Reporters revolted at the attempted manipulation. Nearly a month since Palin was named, and still no press conference or open interview. Astonishing.)
Back to Rick Davis. The Times now reports this:
WASHINGTON — One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through last month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.
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.
Mr. Davis’s firm received the payments from the company, Freddie Mac, until it was taken over by the government this month along with Fannie Mae, the other big mortgage lender whose deteriorating finances helped precipitate the cascading problems on Wall Street, the people said.
THROUGH LAST MONTH? Ouch. Is this stuff going to take a toll? Or does the public figure that campaigns are a caged death match–if you come out alive, you deserve the title? George Will is not impressed with McCain (and starts his column with a Lewis Caroll gem).
UPDATE: Newsweek has more details, including this doozy:
The two sources, who requested anonymity discussing sensitive information, told NEWSWEEK that Davis himself approached Freddie Mac in 2006 and asked for a new consulting arrangement that would allow his firm to continue to be paid. The arrangement was approved by Hollis McLoughlin, Freddie Mac’s senior vice president for external relations, because “he [Davis] was John McCain’s campaign manager and it was felt you couldn’t say no,” said one of the sources. [McLoughlin did not return phone calls].
In any case, I started this post with a quote, so might as well end with one, from Andrew Sullivan’s Quote-of-the-Day:
“We do not support government bailouts of private institutions. Government interference in the markets exacerbates problems in the marketplace and causes the free market to take longer to correct itself,” – Republican Party Platform, 2008.