September 24th, 2008
06:17 PM ET
6 years ago

Fact check: Obama has advisers from Fannie Mae?

The Statement
In a September 19 speech in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and in campaign ads since then, Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain has tied Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama to the bankrupt mortgage giant Fannie Mae, saying "somehow its former CEO had managed to gain my opponent's trust to the point that Senator Obama actually put him in charge of his vice presidential search."

He added that "[a]nother CEO for Fannie Mae, Mr. Raines, has been advising Senator Obama on housing policy even after Fannie Mae was found to have committed quote 'extensive financial fraud' under his leadership."

Learn the facts

The Facts
Former Fannie CEO Jim Johnson headed up Obama's vice-presidential search - an unpaid role he played for Democrats Walter Mondale in 1984 and John Kerry in 2004. He stepped down in June - about a week after the campaign announced his appointment - after reports that he received $7 million in mortgage loans at below-market rates from Countrywide, a company Obama criticized for its role in the financial meltdown. Johnson was at Fannie Mae from 1990 to 1998, working his way up to chairman and earning up to $21 million a year, according to reports.

On June 10, a day before Johnson stepped down, Obama said Johnson had a limited role and that "anybody who is tangentially related to our campaign" could have relationships that the campaign doesn't know about. "These aren't folks who are working for me," he said. "They are not people, you know, who I have assigned to a job in the future administration. And ultimately, my assumption is that this is a discrete task that they are going to be performing for me in the next two months."

The McCain campaign cites a July 16 Washington Post article that says another former Fannie Mae CEO, Franklin Raines, had "taken calls from Barack Obama's presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters." In a September 20 speech in Daytona Beach, Florida, Obama called Raines "a Fannie Mae guy I've talked to for maybe five minutes in my life" and in a statement released by the campaign, Raines says he is "not an advisor to Barack Obama, nor have I provided his campaign with advice on housing or economic matters." In a follow-up to the Post article, the reporter who wrote the piece said Raines told her he took "a couple of calls" from someone at the campaign and discussed "general housing, economy issues."

Obama's campaign also has gone after McCain over campaign manager Rick Davis, who has worked as an influential lobbyist and whose firm reportedly worked for Freddie Mac, another major mortgage firm that was taken over by the government.

The Verdicts: True, for Johnson. Misleading, for Raines. While Johnson stepped
down after a short time on the job, Obama did appoint him to head his vice
president search, as McCain says. Raines, however, appears to have had limited
contact, at most, with the campaign.


Filed under: Fact Check
soundoff (164 Responses)
  1. We love Sarah

    No,

    True, for Johnson. False, for Raines!

    So, one and five minutes make up for over 25 years of McCain's insiders and lobbyists?

    September 24, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  2. April Garlow

    McCain is doing the presidential thing, he is not shifting his
    responsibility onto others. Go McCain, you know how to lead. Obama is
    going to keep campaigning and trust the same bozo's that got us into
    this financial crisis,to fix it, reminds me of Bush during Katrina
    staying on his ranch and saying "good job Brownie".Shows the
    difference that experience makes when there is a crisis.

    September 24, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  3. LA Hispanic Conservative Female

    Obama has no idea, all he cares about is himself and getting advise fm far left-winged liberals like Wright, Rezco, Airs... and who knows who else... the more we look under the rug, the scarrier he becomes. He can't even take care of his 1/2 brother in Kenya who lives in a hut. It will take people like me (conservative caring people), to send him some money. Obama why don't you tyr earing your Senator Salary or resign to run for President. Atleast McCain see's the seriousnous of the situation.

    September 24, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  4. Sally from Cali

    Keating scandal was a 500 Billion dollar bailout in 1990. Guess McCain didn't learn anything back then. (Or maybe he can't remember).

    I bet McCain wants to run away and hide. The debate would allow Obama to nail him to the wall on all of his lies.

    The whole Palin "no press" thing is a distraction. Nobody cares anymore about her. She's a smoke screen.

    September 24, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  5. Arizona Demo

    Wait a minute, CNN, where is your story on McCains' Rick Davis, whose company has been receiving $15,000.00 per month until last month from Freddie Mac. If you are going to look at Obama, then be fair.

    September 24, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  6. Diana Ewing NJ

    John McCain's Straight Talk Express has been HighJacked... and he has lost his way

    September 24, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  7. Charlie

    just another republican lie!

    September 24, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  8. Jennifer T., Des Plaines, IL

    You can't be in Washington for long without being either A) a politician or B) a lobbyist! Get over it, people!

    September 24, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  9. Scott L

    MCCAIN PREDICTED FANNIE MAE MELTDOWN 3 YEARS AGO.

    OBAMA VOTED AGAINST MCCAINS LEGISLATION TO ACT.

    MCCAIN CALLED THIS ONE BIG TIME!!!!

    DEMOCRATS CHECK YOUR FACTS!!!!

    September 24, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  10. Marie in California

    What can I say? Obama. Johnson. Maybe Raines. Birds of a feather DO flock together.....

    September 24, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  11. KATHLEEN

    Fears that John McCain will come in to Congress and take credit for
    all of their hard work!!! and they are about to reach a deal!!!!!!!!

    Formal Notice: THE DEBATE WILL GO ON!!!!!

    Is that with or without McCain?

    September 24, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  12. Daniel from FL

    I am actually shocked that the McCain camp would accuse Obama of having "Fanni Mae advisors" when McCain's own campaign manager, Rick Davis, was getting paid $15,000 per month by Fannie Mae as recently as LAST MONTH!

    September 24, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  13. titi

    It seems to me McCain wants people to focus their attention on every fact about Obama so that no one notice Palin's refusal to cooperate with the trooper case in Alaska. Wow, somehow this lady has managed to blame all on Obama, I am so voting democrat this year!

    September 24, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  14. B.O.

    Obama says the economy is in bad shape, yet he keeps asking for money, even as he gets $8 million in one day.
    Also remember 9-11, but also remember Obama promised to follow terrorists into Pakistan...funny cuz Pakistan won't let that happen. Obama seems ready to start another war with his naivette ways.

    September 24, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  15. Rodger

    Fact, Rich Davis on their payroll, fact they lied, Fact Johnson was dropped. Fact, Davis is still there!

    September 24, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. wendi weill

    I think the whole plan is to keep Palin from having to debate.
    Think about it: first McCain says they shouldn't debate Friday. Then he says, oh, ok, we can have the presidential debate take the place of the vice-presidential debate, and just move the vp debate to some point in the future. So clever!

    September 24, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  17. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    JOHN MCCAIN SHOULD HAVE ADVISED INVESTORS THAT SILVER BANK WAS FAILING WHILE HIS OWN SON WAS CEO, HE SAID NOTHING AND INVESTORS LOST THEIR MONEY. JOHN MCCAIN WAS IN ARIZONA EVERY WEEKEND DURING THIS FAILURE WHEN HIS SON QUIT 2 MONTHS BEFORE THE FAILURE WAS ANNOUNCED. JOHN MCCAIN NEEDS TO BE INVESTIGATED. IS HE TRYING TO KEEP HIS SON OUT OF PRISON AS HE HIMSELF DID WHEN HE WAS INVOLVED WITH KEATING 5. THESE ARE QUESTIONS PEOPLE SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT.

    September 24, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  18. MikeH

    Once again CNN, you allow comments on an Obama fact check, but you won't allow them on a McCain fact check.

    And by the way, why aren't you covering the Rick Davis-Fannie May lobbyist "reported" connection. Are you saying that you're better journalists than the New York Times and Newsweek?

    September 24, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  19. Candy West Virginia

    There won't even be a session on friday night, it is suspended so this PROVES it was just a mccain tactic to get out of the debate or atleast stall it.

    September 24, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  20. Mike Jacques

    Instead of spending the $700 billion on a bailout for rich executives (welfare for the rich) give each legal citizen $3000 which would greatly stimulate the economy. Why should we send these Wall Street and Mortgage Broker ripoff artists all this money? Gimme a break!

    September 24, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  21. Greg

    CNN, please quit posting these stories with the facts "after the jump." This causes the false allegations to be posted in an easy-to-read fashion, while the facts are obscured behind another click.

    Even the title becomes misleading, when the facts about the claim's falsehood is hidden on another page. I know it's a way to create extra click-thru on your web pages, but I think the truth is more important than to be hidden like this.

    Please Post this CNN.

    September 24, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  22. Cheryl

    To make this story complete, please comment on the New York Times and Newsweek articles finding that McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davies, has been on Freddie Mac payroll for years, ending only last month – August 2008. He wasn't doing work for them, only providing access to Senator McCain.

    September 24, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  23. Bill

    I hope this cover ths issue and both parties will quit talking about the bridge to nowhere.

    September 24, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  24. JCB

    Right! So, the Rev Wright also had limited contact with Obama. He did not attend all of the sermons! Right!

    September 24, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  25. Jon in CA

    What's absurd about this is that McCain DOES HAVE FREDDIE AND FANNIE MAE LOBBYISTS RUNNING HIS CAMPAIGN.

    And he tries to say its Obama. Jim Johnson was with the campaign from May to June 11th when he was asked to step down.

    September 24, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.