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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 13, 2008 / 10 Sivan, 5768

Obama flunks another test

By Linda Chavez


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It wasn't exactly the news the Obama campaign hoped to make this week: "Obama Aide Quits Under Fire for His Business Ties." But that was the headline in The New York Times, with variations in other major papers. The aide in question was the head of Barack Obama's vice presidential search committee, Jim Johnson, described by the Washington Post as "a consummate Washington insider." But the insider is now out, and the flap raises new questions about Obama's judgment. Why is it that Obama surrounds himself with people who carry so much baggage?


You would think that a candidate who has railed against the subprime mortgage business and blamed certain companies by name would steer clear of anyone with ties to that industry or those companies. Yet Obama picked Johnson to head up his vice presidential search committee even though Johnson had previously been CEO of Fannie Mae, the troubled institution that guarantees most home mortgages. Now, it turns out, Johnson received millions of dollars in loans with lower-than-market interest rates from one of Fannie Mae's partners, Countrywide Financial — a company Obama has heavily criticized.


During the Pennsylvania primary, Obama said, "Countrywide Financial was one of the folks, one of the institutions that was pumping up the subprime lending market and inducing people to take out these subprime loans. These are the folks who are responsible for infecting the economy and helping to create a home foreclosure crisis. Two million people may end up losing their homes." Obama also blamed Countrywide's top two executives, who, he said, paid themselves $19 million in bonuses as part of the sale of their company.


But when reporters revealed that Johnson had received preferential treatment from Countrywide, Obama's response was, "I am not vetting my VP search committee for their mortgages," and then went on to blame those who raised questions. "This is a game that can be played. Everybody you know who is tangentially related to our campaign I think is going to have a whole host of relationships. I would have to hire the vetter to vet the vetters," he said.


Johnson's departure doesn't end the controversy around Obama's VP search committee, however. One of the other members of the committee, Eric Holder, has his own problems. Holder was the No. 2 man in the Clinton Justice Department and played an important role in a controversial, last-minute presidential pardon of financier Marc Rich. Rich spent nearly two decades as a fugitive dodging charges for federal tax evasion and trading with Iran while that country held U.S. citizens as prisoners. These pardons have been the subject of federal investigations and congressional hearings, tarnishing Holder's reputation.


Yet, Obama picked Johnson and Holder — along with Caroline Kennedy — to help him make the most critical decision of his political career. (Even the choice of Kennedy is a bit odd — her major qualifications for the role appear to be her famous family name and her gender.) So what are we to think? Either he's been careless — or worse, he's a hypocrite, holding others to standards that he has no intention of requiring his own people to meet.


Carelessness at this stage of a presidential campaign may not be fatal — and hypocrisy is an occupational hazard in politics. Still, there are legitimate questions about Obama's judgment when it comes to picking his associates. He's made disastrous choices in pastors (the Rev. Jeremiah Wright), some political patrons (convicted money launderer Tony Rezko and former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers), and staff.


One of the most important jobs of any president is to make appointments — and Obama's record so far doesn't inspire confidence. He's already botched the process for selecting his vice president. The next test will be whether, even with his flawed committee, Obama can come up with a vice presidential pick who is beyond reproach. He can't afford to flunk this one.

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JWR contributor Linda Chavez is President of the Center for Equal Opportunity. Her latest book is "Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate

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