Obama aide's Countrywide ties at issue

June 10, 2008 at 9:06 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 10 (UPI) -- A political news Web site says the presence of Democratic Party insider Jim Johnson in Barack Obama's presidential campaign has become a distraction.

The Politico reported Tuesday that Johnson's connections with the chief executive officer of Countrywide Financial, a lender blamed by some as a key contributor to the mortgage crisis, could put Johnson at risk of being a political liability for Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., the party's presumptive presidential nominee.

The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that Johnson, a longtime Democratic Party power broker and former chief of Fannie Mae, obtained personal loans at favorable rates from embattled Countywide chief executive Angelo Mozilo. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, mentioned the article on a television interview Monday, the Politico reported.

Johnson has been named to a committee selected by Obama to help him choose a vice presidential running mate. The Politico Web site said the controversy over Johnson threatens to undermine the credibility of Obama's announced two-week campaign tour to emphasis economic issues.

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