You’re Just Making it Worse.

Rick Davis. [photo from the NYT]

I’m not sure what the McCain camp is doing. (But one gets the sense that they don’t know, either.) The other day Steve Schmidt and Rick Davis, McCain’s top advisors, went apeshit after a Times story that reported that Davis took millions of dollars as a lobbyist for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae — companies the McCain camp had been savaging Obama for having ties to.

Davis denied that he was a lobbyist for Freddie/Fannie. “I never lobbied a single day,” he said on the call. They complained that McCain had been unfairly called a iar. And for good measure, he and Schmidt then proceeded to say the Times was in the tank for Obama and had “cast aside its journalistic integrity.”

So what did the Times do in response? Called bullshit on Davis in today’s paper.

WASHINGTON — One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through last month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.

The disclosure undercuts a statement by Mr. McCain on Sunday night that the campaign manager, Rick Davis, had had no involvement with the company for the last several years.

Mr. Davis’s firm received the payments from the company, Freddie Mac, until it was taken over by the government this month along with Fannie Mae, the other big mortgage lender whose deteriorating finances helped precipitate the cascading problems on Wall Street, the people said.

They said they did not recall Mr. Davis’s doing much substantive work for the company in return for the money, other than speak to a political action committee of high-ranking employees in October 2006 on the approaching midterm Congressional elections. They said Mr. Davis’s firm, Davis & Manafort, had been kept on the payroll because of Mr. Davis’s close ties to Mr. McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, who by 2006 was widely expected to run again for the White House.

Mr. Davis took a leave from Davis & Manafortfor the presidential campaign, but as a partner and equity-holder continues to benefit from its income. No one at Davis & Manafort other than Mr. Davis was involved in efforts on Freddie Mac’s behalf, the people familiar with the arrangement said.

A Freddie Mac spokeswoman said the company would not comment.

The McCain camp responded angrily to the story — surprise? — but, tellingly, their response did not include a denial.

Here’s a question: what the hell is McCain’s camp doing? The news media is really feeling itself right now and pissed at McCain to boot. Up until yesterday, he hadn’t done a press conference in forty days. And Palin, infamously, has only done two interviews.* This antagonistic stance means that every time McCain and crew say something, news organizations are going to be chomping at the bit and dissecting everything they say. That, one would think, would prompt the McCain camp to either allow more access to its candidates or to stop lying about every damn thing.

It won’t do either.

*Yesterday the McCain camp barred reporters from asking Palin questions as she met in New York with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan. So CNN said ‘Fuck it’  and pulled its TV crew, which denied the McCain campaign the B-roll of Palin with foreign leaders it wanted.

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8 thoughts on “You’re Just Making it Worse.

  1. quadmoniker September 24, 2008 at 10:57 am Reply

    G.D., I think this is all part of their plan in going after “low-information” voters. This isn’t a populace that’s particularly up on their first amendment, and the idea that news organizations are always fair and balance have taken a beating since Fox News started to use that as their slogan. So if the McCain camp just keeps saying that all of these stories come from the Times’s bias and they’re out to get him, it will just look more and more true to the people who believe it. Particularly when they’re presented with facts that contradict McCain.

  2. LH September 24, 2008 at 11:25 am Reply

    “In fact, the allegation is demonstrably false. As has been previously reported, Mr. Davis separated from his consulting firm, Davis Manafort, in 2006. As has been previously reported, Mr. Davis has seen no income from Davis Manafort since 2006. Zero. Mr. Davis has received no salary or compensation since 2006. Mr. Davis has received no profit or partner distributions from that firm on any basis — weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual — since 2006. Again, zero. Neither has Mr. Davis received any equity in the firm based on profits derived since his financial separation from Davis Manafort in 2006.

    Further, and missing from the Times’ reporting, Mr. Davis has never — never — been a lobbyist for either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Mr. Davis has not served as a registered lobbyist since 2005.”

    Wouldn’t that qualify as a denial?

    As to what the McCain camp is doing, I’m going to go with collapsing under the weight of its hubris.

  3. quadmoniker September 24, 2008 at 11:42 am Reply

    L.H. –
    The statement from which you quote denies that Davis received any money from DAVIS MANAFORT after 2006. They do not deny that the firm took payments from the banks. Which is what the story said.

  4. quadmoniker September 24, 2008 at 11:45 am Reply

    They also say Davis was not a lobbyist FOR Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But what the previous story said was that he was president of “Homeownership Alliance, Mr. Davis got $30,000 to $35,000 a month. Mr. Davis, along with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have characterized the alliance as a coalition of many housing industry and consumer groups to promote homeownership, but numerous current and former officials at both companies say the two mortgage companies created and bankrolled the operation to combat efforts by competitors to rein in their business.”

    The McCain campaign is not denying WHAT THE STORY SAID, they’re denying other things.

  5. LH September 24, 2008 at 12:25 pm Reply

    Um, THANKS QUADMONIKER.

  6. G.D. September 24, 2008 at 12:26 pm Reply

    Damn son. You mad?

  7. quadmoniker September 24, 2008 at 1:18 pm Reply

    L.H.,
    Sorry if the caps were offensive, but the things I pointed out were in the quote that you posted and had gone unnoticed before.

  8. LH September 24, 2008 at 3:55 pm Reply

    I literally laughed when I read G.D.’s question. Naw, kid … I’m not mad.

    @ quadmoniker: We’re good.

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