After this morning’s flurry of controversy over Jim Johnson, one of the committee members selected by Barack Obama to help him choose a running mate, Johnson has stepped down from the position. The former Fannie Mae CEO (and Washington power broker) was under attack from conservative critics from the moment The Wall Street Journal revealed that he had accepted below-market-rate mortgages from Countrywide Financial. At first, Obama defended him, saying it would take too much energy to “vet the vetters,” but this afternoon he let Johnson resign. Reports the Journal:
“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,” Sen. Obama said Wednesday. “We have a very good selection process under way, and I am confident that it will produce a number of highly qualified candidates for me to choose from in the weeks ahead. I remain grateful to Jim for his service and his efforts in this process.”
But McCain’s team isn’t letting him off so easy.
“Jim Johnson’s resignation raises serious questions about Barack Obama’s judgment. Selecting the vice presidential nominee is the most important decision a presidential candidate can make and one even Barack Obama has said will ‘signal how I want to operate my presidency.’ By entrusting this process to a man who has now been forced to step down because of questionable loans, the American people have reason to question the judgment of a candidate who has shown he will only make the right call when under pressure from the news media. America can’t afford a president who flip-flops on key questions in the course of 24 hours. That’s not change we can believe in.”
Well, Tuck, you had us right until that last sentence there. But every time we hear the phrase “that’s not change we can believe in,” all we can think about is McCain’s speech from last week. Right down to the smarmy intonation. It may be time for a new kicker.