Posted Sept. 22, 2008 – Claims by John McCain’s campaign that the former head of collapsed mortgage giant Fannie Mae is a top economic adviser to Sen. Barack Obama is “another flat-out lie from a dishonorable campaign that is increasingly incapable of telling the truth,” says an angry Obama campaign spokesman.
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Articles in The Washington Post and other publications have also called the connection misleading, but that hasn’t kept the McCain campaign from hammering home that claim in a slick, new television ad.
As Julie Bosman reports in Sunday’s New York Times, the ad kicks off with the voice of a narrator: “Obama has no background in economics. Who advises him? The Post says it’s Franklin Raines, for ‘advice on mortgage and housing policy.’ Shocking. Under Raines, Fannie Mae committed ‘extensive financial fraud.’ Raines made millions. Fannie Mae collapsed. Taxpayers? Stuck with the bill. Barack Obama. Bad advice, bad instincts. Not ready to lead.”
Adding salt to the wound is the goofy-looking image of Obama on the screen, with his head tilted to one side, as words appear on the screen: “No economic background.” Then, there’s a quote from The Washington Post: “Advice on Mortgage and Housing Policy.”
Following that is a barrage of silly-looking images of Raines next to Obama; below them are the words “As much as $25 million,” which also are attributed to the Post. Next, an elderly woman appears on the screen with the words, “Taxpayers stuck with bill” next to her. The advertisement wraps up with a grinning image of Obama.
But Raines has issued a statement, saying, “I am not an advisor to Barack Obama, nor have I provided his campaign with advice on housing or economic matters.” And Bill Burton, who blasted the ad as a “flat-out lie,” said that Raines and Obama met once on the campaign trail, sometime in 2007 or 2008, and had not talked since then.
“Most viewers will not know that Mr. Raines has not been a major adviser to Mr. Obama, making it possible that the taint of Fannie Mae will stick,” Bosman concluded in her article.
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