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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

What Is Obama Speaking About at 10:45 This Morning?



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I’m told by a campaign source that Barack Obama is holding a press conference at 10:45 a.m. this morning. Is Jim Johnson out from the veep selection committee?

UPDATE: A Republican source this morning predicts it’s only a matter of time before Johnson’s departure, because he costs the candidate a lot more than he benefits him.

It results in coverage like this: “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.”

It means Obama can’t bring up big CEO salaries and compensation, and he can’t use his usual stump speech lines about “powerful Washington insiders” escaping accountability.

Whatever Johnson brings as a search committee member, there’s got to be somebody else out there with the same skills without his dirt and scandals…

Might I add, Obama left his church to get rid of a lingering controversy. I’m not sure why Jim Johnson would expect more loyalty.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Many, many readers predict the phrase, “This is not the Jim Johnson I knew…” in the near future.

YET ANOTHER UDPATE: Obama doubled down today:

At a press conference in St. Louis, Obama defends his choice of Jim Johnson to lead his vetting team, calling reports into Johnson’s ties to the mortgage company Countrywide “a game.”

“Johnson has a very discrete task,” he said, dismissing the notion that he’d “hire vetters to vet the vetters.”

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.

I take it, Senator Obama, that this stump speech is now inoperative, as Jim Johnson made 175 to 412 times the salary of Fannie Mae workers while running the organization into trouble?

Some CEOs make more in one day than their workers make in one year. There was a story about this in the paper the other day. They did a study and found that the top 50 CEOs made around $15.7 million last year – despite the fact that many of their companies have been falling behind.

We all believe in that fundamental, American value that if you do good work, if you’re successful, you should be rewarded. But if you’re a Wall Street CEO today, it doesn’t seem to matter whether you’re doing a good job or a bad job for your shareholders and workers: You’ll be rewarded either way.

FINAL UPDATE: It is rather striking that the honest-to-God Obama defense on this, when finally asked a pretty tough question from a reporter is, “these aren’t folks who are working for me.”

Let me get this straight: The team searching for a running mate for Barack Obama doesn’t work for Barack Obama. Uh… okay. Who, pray tell, do they work for?


Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Fred Thompson , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson


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