Tag Archives: Freddie Mac

He didn’t lobby, it was just a hobby!

From Joan Walsh at Salon:

Another day, another story about Newt Gingrich profiteering. Well, three stories, actually.

The Washington Post reported this morning that a Gingrich “think tank,” the Center for Health Transformation, collected at least $37 million from health care industry groups, who were promised “access to Newt Gingrich” and “direct Newt interaction” in exchange for their cash. Also in exchange for their cash, perhaps, Gingrich took some interesting positions on health care reform: He supported the “individual mandate” that Americans buy insurance (or post a bond to cover unanticipated illness) as well as measures to encourage “end of life” planning. He ditched both positions, of course, once he realized they were unpopular with the Republican base.

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Mac ‘n Sleaze

From John Cassidy at THE NEW YORKER:

Take the ludicrous suggestion that Freddie Mac, the smaller of the two government-sponsored mortgage giants, may have expected Newt to do some lobbying on its behalf when, in 2006, it paid him the very modest sum of $300,000. Any fair-minded person would agree that Newt quashed this idea during one of last week’s debates. He explained that Freddie’s executives hired him for his expertise as a historian, adding that he warned them to stop lending money to folks who couldn’t repay their loans. In Newt’s own words: “My advice as a historian, when they walked in and said to me, ‘We are now making loans to people who have no credit history and have no record of paying back anything, but that’s what the government wants us to do.’ As I said to them at the time, this is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible.”

That explanation was more than good enough for me. But darn it if a couple of quibbling scribblers from Bloomberg News didn’t put out a report yesterday, quoting former executives of Freddie Mac saying that Newt was hired “to build bridges to Capitol Hill Republicans and develop an argument on behalf of the company’s public-private structure that would resonate with conservatives seeking to dismantle it.”

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Charlie and Chimpy

Charlie Gibson of ABC News was the first stop on Chimpy’s Magical Rewriting History Tour.

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Conservative Estimates

George Will (Washington Post):

Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama.

…snip…

It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?

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Lipstick Bungle

Kids, didya see the Katie Couric’s big interview of Princess Sarah? Sarah was fully prepared….but for different questions.

Katie asked about Rick Davis, Captain Underpants’s campaign manager, and his receiving money from Freddie Mac until last month. Here’s the transcript from CBS News:

Sarah Palin: My understanding is that Rick Davis recused himself from the dealings of the firm. I don’t know how long ago, a year or two ago that he’s not benefiting from that. And you know, I was – I would hope that’s not the case.

Katie Couric: But he still has a stake in the company so isn’t that a conflict of interest?

Palin: Again, my understanding is that he recused himself from the dealings with Freddie and Fannie, any lobbying efforts on his part there. And I would hope that’s the case because, as John McCain has been saying, and as I’ve on a much more local level been also rallying against is the undue influence of lobbyists in public policy decisions being made.

I have misplaced my $hithead-to-English dictionary, so if anyone can translate that last part for me, I would be very grateful.
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Risky Business

From NewsHounds:

You know Neil Cavuto right? He’s the head of “business news” at the Fox “News” Channel and at the Fox” Business” Network.

Here’s what he had to say about the financial crisis when discussing it with Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA):

Did you warn or express concern about any things that happened? I’m not saying that one or the other is beyond blame, I’m just saying I don’t remember a clarion call that said Fannie and Freddie are a disaster. Loaning to minorities and risky folks is a disaster? Maybe if you said it, enlighten me.

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Oh Henry!

From Barron’s:

BABY, IT’S COLD OUT THERE. So let’s toss another billion on the fire.

What’s that make it? Well, let’s see: $29 billion for Bear Stearns, somewhere between $1 billion and $100 billion each for Fannie and Freddie (a nice narrow range), $85 billion for AIG, a couple of hundred billion to keep stray banks, brokers and their errant kin from asphyxiating themselves by swallowing toxic paper. And then there’s the proposed reincarnation of the Resolution Trust Corp., which all by itself may mean shelling out $800 billion, perhaps even as much as $1 trillion.

While we’re at it, we might as well include the $400 billion with which the Paulson-Bernanke grand plan envisages endowing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. so it can insure money-market funds.

But, please, understand those mind-boggling sums in no way, shape or form are to be construed as designed to aid and abet a bailout. Instead, they are merely the essential ingredients of an “intervention,” or, if you prefer, a “rescue” — just about anything, in other words, that’s semantically sweeter than bailout, with its ugly connotation of a sinking ship.


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