From today's NYT:
Incensed by the advertisements, several current and former
executives of the companies came forward to discuss the role that Rick
Davis, Mr. McCain’s campaign manager and longtime adviser, played in
helping Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac beat back regulatory challenges when
he served as president of their advocacy group, the Homeownership
Alliance, formed in the summer of 2000. Some who came forward were
Democrats, but Republicans, speaking on the condition of anonymity,
confirmed their descriptions.
“The value that he brought to the
relationship was the closeness to Senator McCain and the possibility
that Senator McCain was going to run for president again,” said Robert
McCarson, a former spokesman for Fannie Mae, who said that while he
worked there from 2000 to 2002, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac together
paid Mr. Davis’s firm $35,000 a month. Mr. Davis “didn’t really do
anything,” Mr. McCarson, a Democrat, said.
As the article goes on to report, Davis doesn't appear to have had much influence on McCain on the issue. (His only notable achievement was getting McCain to attend an awards banquet for the group.) This seems similar to the role Davis played as a lobbyist for DHL, when he tried to rally support for its acquistion of Airborne Express in 2003--which, as I explain in the current print issue, has become a problem for the McCain campaign in Ohio (where DHL is about to close a major freight hub).
I can understand why Davis did what he did: It's not every job that pays you close to $2 million for not really doing anything. But why does McCain keep leaving himself vulnerable to these Davis-related attacks? It's not like Davis is even running his campaign any more--that's Steve Schmidt's job--and yet he still retains the title "campaign manager." I guess the best thing you can say about McCain here is that he's loyal.