If there’s one thing everyone can agree on, it’s that it’s highly unlikely that the government would allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to fail. The NYT puts this in the starkest terms by noting that if the mortgage giants are unable to borrow money (“their lifeblood for buying mortgages”), it would effectively freeze the U.S. housing market and could lead to widespread damage in economies around the world.
Sen. John McCain was quick to say that Fannie and Freddie “will not fail, we will not allow them to fail.” But, as the WP off-leads, McCain had to deal with problems of his own on the economic front. After spending the week trying to convince voters that he understands their pain during the current downturn, he got no help from one of his top economic advisers, who said that the country is only in a “mental recession.” In an interview, former Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas said the United States had become a “nation of whiners.” Though the presumptive nominee was quick to say he doesn’t agree with Gramm, it marked yet another obstacle for the candidate, who has been struggling to get away from comments in which he admitted that the economy is not his strong suit.
At one point McCain was asked whether Gramm might become treasury secretary in his administration. “I think Senator Gramm would be in serious consideration for ambassador to Belarus,” McCain answered, “although I’m not sure the citizens of Minsk would welcome that.”
Away from the issues of the day on the campaign trail, the LAT fronts a decidedly unflattering look at McCain’s divorce from his first wife and how it caused a permanent rift in his relationship with the Reagans. McCain has said that he had already separated from his first wife, Carol Shepp, before he began dating Cindy Hensley. But court documents reveal that he was supposedly living with his wife “for the first nine months of his relationship with Hensley,” the LAT notes. The paper goes on to point out that despite McCain’s suggestions that months passed between his divorce and remarriage, the truth is that he married Hensley five weeks after the divorce became official. When McCain filed for divorce, it came as a shock to those the couple was close to, including the Reagans, who didn’t even realize they were having problems. Meanwhile, some of McCain’s friends thought he was already separated. McCain doesn’t talk much about that part of his past, but in his autobiography he wrote that the “marriage’s collapse was attributable to my own selfishness and immaturity.”
USA Today leads with a look at how Americans living abroad are likely to face problems if they want to vote in the November elections. Several states are holding late primaries, which will delay the mailing of absentee ballots, and there hasn’t been much progress in expanding electronic voting due to privacy concerns. “It’s going to be a harder year for our soldiers and military personnel and others who are overseas,” Minnesota’s secretary of state said.
The LAT and WP front news that the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court will
In other news from the presidential campaign, the NYT notes that neither candidate has done a good job of keeping his list of top bundlers up to date, even though they’ve long been critics of the role money plays in politics. When the NYT contacted Obama about it, his campaign scrambled to update its list and added 181 names. McCain’s campaign said its list would be updated “in the next week or so.” Meanwhile, Obama’s once-formidable fundraising operation appears to be having some trouble. Of course, it could just be a summer lull, but the WSJ notes that Obama’s June total is likely to be around $30 million, which the paper describes as “an underwhelming haul.” For his part, McCain raised $22 million in June, a record for his campaign. The Post notes that Obama’s campaign seems to recognize that it needs to expand its efforts with big donors if it hopes to reach the goal of raising more than $450 million by November.
Clinton donors are essential to Obama’s stepped-up fundraising efforts, but those who might have been looking for signs that Obama cares about helping the former first lady pay off her campaign debt were certainly not reassured on Wednesday night. The LAT notes that Obama forgot to mention the debt in his speech. After walking offstage, he seems to have realized his oversight and went back a minute later. “Sen. Clinton still has some debt,” he said as the audience laughed. “That is part of the process of making sure that we’re unified. … All right, turn on the music again. Let’s keep on partying.”