June 11th, 2008
03:42 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama's VP vetter steps aside

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/11/art.jim.ap.jpg caption="Jim Johnson is no longer involved in Obama's VP search."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A key member of Barack Obama's vice-presidential search team, James Johnson, is stepping down after criticism over a mortgage he received, the Obama campaign said.

"Jim did not want to distract in any way from the very important task of gathering information about my vice presidential nominee, so he has made a decision to step aside that I accept," the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said in a statement.

Republicans had been hammering Johnson since the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that he received a good deal on a mortgage from Countrywide due to his friendship with the company's CEO Angelo Mozilo. Obama has criticized Countrywide in connection with the subprime mortgage crisis.

WATCH Obama defend Johnson Tuesday

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (303 Responses)
  1. Mandelay

    There goes that word again, "distract." Come on, we want to know more about these "distractions." The Washington Post reported today in "Obama's choice of Insider Draws Fire" -(quote)"As CEO of Fannie Mae, Johnson, a former chief of staff to Vice President Walter F. Mondale and chairman of the board of the Kennedy Center, was the beneficiary of accounting in which Fannie Mae's earnings were manipulated so that executives could earn larger bonuses. The accounting manipulation for 1998 resulted in the maximum payouts to Fannie Mae's senior executives - $1.9 million in Johnson's case - when the company's performance that year would have otherwise resulted in no bonuses at all, according to reports in 2004 and 2006 by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight.(end quote) Well, looks like the entire V.P. Vetting team is/was dominated by a Ted Kennedy Production. Pretty good for a guy with a hole in his head. At least we know who the puppet master is.

    June 11, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  2. Fran

    If this is all the McLame team can come up with???

    June 11, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  3. Joe, Northern Virginia

    Why was Obama supposed to vet the vetter? And who cares what mortgage deals he got in the past. This old dirty Republican politics is the reason why America hates Washington. They will try every distraction to make the American people over-look the real issues at stake this election season... but what they are in denial of is the fact that Americans are living with the issues every single minute... from foreclosures, sky-rocketing gas prices to unbearing food prices and the illegitimate Iraqi war. We have more reasons to vote the Republicans out of power than they can spine the facts.

    VIVA DMES!!!

    Obama 08

    June 11, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. Angela

    I'm glad that he had the integrity enough to step down. The Repubs sicken me with their tactics.

    June 11, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. alda

    Obama trusts everyone, even our enemies. This is naivete to the nth degree.

    June 11, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. Bob

    What the article failed to mention was that Johnson was CEO of Fannie Mae, and that Mozilo may have offered the "friends and family' mortgage rate in return for favorable treatment of Countrywide. So much for "change" we can believe in.....

    June 11, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. Hillary Supporter

    Good Americans step down when they get public disapproval. Not in he case of the Republican administration of the last 8 years.

    June 11, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. Jeff

    I'm support Sen. Hillary Clinton, I appreciate ever little thing she has done, I'm not vote for Obama same as my friend and family he lie to me,

    June 11, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |

    Sound strange! Barack Obama, He was attending a church for 20 years, listening to his annoying pastor speeches. He conveniently resigned as if he never heard or knew him. Now, this guy Jim Johnson resigns as a result of some personal business issues being exposed. My question is? How much does Obama know about the people surroinding him? How much do we know about Obama? Me. Nothing.

    June 11, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  10. If not Hillary....then McCain

    Way to go! Keep up the pressure! Finally, no one in immune to living by their words.!

    June 11, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. marie


    How is Obama corrupt? I swear so many of you repeat dumb sound bites from what you hear on tv, can you people think for yourselves. Do you think that if you say it enough it makes it true.

    June 11, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. MoveOn

    We all really know that Michelle just didn't like him....

    June 11, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. andy

    All I can say is my house payment is killing me and and why do guys like this get so much money and I suffer

    June 11, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. Marie from SC

    Bad choice to begin with based on the other two Dem candidates he helped find a running mate for.

    It is interesting that Obama says "my vice presidential nominee" - I thought it was the VP nominee of the Democratic Party.

    So much wrong with Obama and hopefully it will all come out in the next few months.

    June 11, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. vw

    Still not too late if SUPERDELEGATES change their mind and vote for Hillary NOW...

    June 11, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. Marie in California

    I think Obama should resign too. We need a better president than what he has to offer.

    Obama is nothing but the Far Left version of the Far Right president Bush we've had for the past several years. Both promised to be "uniters"....but the extremes, whether right or left, are always divisive and go down in flames.

    Also.....Obama would be nothing more than a second term of Jimmy Carter, who was the most ineffectual president in my lifetime.

    Was for Hillary.....now it's McCain 2008 all the way!

    June 11, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. Kick Hillary to the Curb

    So what! So many lobbyists resigned in the McCain campaign. Here is CNN pushing their GOP candidate.

    June 11, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. Patrick Peavy Plano,TX

    This is why Hillary supporters like myself need to throw their support behind Senator Obama. It is going to get a lot uglier from the Republicans. Dems Unite!!! Although on a related note, why do people blame this on Bill and Hillary? It's like some people blame everything that goes wrong now on Hillary behind the scenes. Stop being so paranoid and worry more about getting people to go out and vote. Get people to register. Encourage the younger voters to actually SHOW UP on Election Day. Fight for Obama's votes, stop looking for fights with other Democrats or Independents such as myself who supported Hillary.

    United We Stand Divided We Fall

    June 11, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |



    June 11, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. M.K. Ozman

    It is considerate of him to step down. But I am really amazed how shameless and hypocritical are those Republican politicians who started barking at him: aren’t most of them chained to their bankers and financiers in the oil and defense industries who bankroll their political careers and personal lives? So what if an accomplished former CEO of a leading real estate company received a lower interest rate from a mortgage company? Everyone gets some benefits from their jobs, and the scheming Republican politicians are always the best examples.

    June 11, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. James B. New Jersey

    He wasn't an aid he was a more like a private investigator. McCain camp is just mad because they are all lobbist and he had to boot a number of his people. This guy wasn't even getting paid. Ok McCain I won't be pressured by lobbist but I will pay them to run my campaign........

    June 11, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. McBsuh

    Well its not Obamas fault!!!1 dont get this story twisted!!!! Obama 08!!!!

    June 11, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  23. Bob

    I will never cease to amaze at the GOP's ability to take a Republican mountain, put it next to a Democratic molehill and call them even.

    Jim Johnson is one guy with some questionable ties volunteering for Obama in a job that, while important, is hardly one where Obama would owe this guy anything...molehill.

    John McCain's campaign still has over 100 lobbyists working for it, including Charlie "I'll lobby for anyone, even the dictators of Myanmar" Black running his campaign and he takes every dime of lobbyist, PAC or special interest money he can get his hands on...mountain.

    The worst part is that the GOP is so sure the Democrats are spineless and the media is complicit, they feel no shame in pointing at the molehill with the mountain right behind them.

    June 11, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  24. Beth - Florida

    Ok folks lets move the line.

    Miss Kennedy you're next, just get under the bus right there.

    June 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  25. Do your homework

    For those of you longing for Hillary based on this "scandal," you may be surprised to find out that the woman running her campaign was most recently on the board of a sub-prime lender. Not a volunteer vetter who was a friend of a CEO, the paid campaign manager approving the strategy of pursuing "predatory" loans to make Wall Street happy.

    June 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
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