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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCain Leads While Obama Peeves

Earlier today, John McCain voluntarily suspended his campaign to fly to Washington and wrestle with proposed legislation that is intended to rescue the economy. This is what senators do. Sometimes to our chagrin, sometimes to our praise, senators write, amend, lobby, and vote for legislation. This is why we pay them $161,708 per year.

In his announcement, Senator McCain asked that we "set politics aside" in a unified effort to resolve this crisis. He also proposed postponing Friday's debate on foreign policy – a debate sure to benefit McCain's bid for the presidency.

In stark contrast, Senator Obama gave a press conference to let the nation know who called who first. He claimed to have called McCain this morning for the purpose of releasing a joint statement about the proposed bailout. Obama made it a point -- several times -- to tell us that he was the one who initiated the call. How petty.

Obama then insisted that the debate should continue and that both campaigns should work on their joint statement. McCain wants to influence legislation and all Obama wants is to influence is a joint statement? Isn't this like getting a note from your parent to excuse you from class?

But fear not, if his presence is needed, Obama did assure Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi that he will be at their beckon call – if they need him. To do what? Ask his handlers to write a joint statement?

Let's cut to the chase here. Obama has spent his senatorial career talking about leadership, unity, hope, and change. But, talk – and issuing statements – is all Obama has accomplished. Meanwhile, McCain chose to demonstrate leadership in an effort to actually bring unity to Washington. Obama had a chance to actually do something as a sitting U.S. Senator making over $160,000 dollars per year, but he dropped the ball and now he knows it.

Still, there's more.

In 2005, Senator McCain co-sponsored Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act which would have curbed the number of mortgages that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac handed out and avoided the mess we are in today. This bill passed the House but was blocked by Democrats in the Senate.

What's more curious is that Senate Banking Committee Chair, Chris Dodd and Senator Obama happen to be the two largest recipients of campaign donations from Fannie and Freddie. According to OpenSecrets.com, since 1989 Dodd received $165,400 while Obama received $126,349. McCain has only received $21,550.

Take a close look at the time frame here. It took nineteen years for Senator Dodd to earn his $165,400 and only four short years for Senator Obama to earn his $126,349. It would seem apparent that Fannie and Freddie thought highly of Senator Obama.

But, that's not all. Three former Fannie executives are now part of Obama's inner circle.

James Johnson served as Fannie Mae CEO from 1991 to 1998. Franklin Raines was President Clinton's budget director and Fannie Mae CEO from 1999 to 2004. Jamie "The Wall" Gorelick was a vice chair of Fannie Mae from 1998 to 2003. Collectively, these three Obama advisors earned $137 million from their stints with Fannie Mae.

Is Obama afraid that more attention on the mortgage bailout would highlight his ties to Big Mortgage and Big Wallstreet?

Or does Obama need the next few days to cram for Friday's nationally televised foreign policy exam?

UPDATE: It appears that Obama's rant about who called first didn't poll well. He has now decided to accept President Bush's invitation to come back to Washington – and be a senator for a day.

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