Jim Johnson Off Obama VP Selection Team

Jim Johnson Off Obama VP Selection Team Jim Johnson, leaves a meeting on Capitol Hill, Monday, June 9, 2008, in Washington, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Johnson and Eric Holder, two members of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. vice presidential-vetting team met privately with top Democrats on the Hill on Monday. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) Another controversial figure has been swiftly removed from Barack Obama’s team:

A leader of Democrat Barack Obama’s vice presidential research team has resigned amid criticism over his personal loan deals. Obama announced in a statement Wednesday that Jim Johnson was stepping aside to avoid distracting from the vetting process.

Johnson served on the vetting team with former first daughter Caroline Kennedy and former Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder.

Obama is the polar opposite of George W. Bush here, having no hesitation about getting rid of staffers who bring him negative attention. While such steely ruthlessness belies his feel-good image, it likely serves him well.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, General, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. While such steely ruthlessness belies his feel-good image, it likely serves him well.

    For now.

    What happens when talented folks start to worry about joining his team for fear of the quick hook? And what does this say about his ability to pick staff to begin with? How does he instill loyalty in his staff if he doesn’t give it? Is this really a leadership style we want?

  2. just me says:

    I kind of agree with Charles on this one.

    One or two staffers is one thing, but he has ditched several, which in the end makes you wonder about his actual judgement in the first place.

    I think there needs to be a medium between the loyalty at all costs and ditch them as soon as something negative happens-swinging too much one way or the other isn’t a good thing.

  3. legion says:

    You guys have got to be kidding me – how many people has McCain been _forced_ to kick off his team due to being openly in conflict with his most loudly-stated tenets? Talented people won’t be scared off Obama’s campaign by this; they’ll apply in droves because they think they might actually be able to trust both their boss and their co-workers.

  4. Bithead says:

    Gotta write a song for Obama called “Under the Bus” sung to the tune of Carole King’s “Up On The Roof”. The laughable irony is she’s likley an Obama supporter.

  5. I don’t think it would be irony since she didn’t write it. as you are doing it, I’d call it parody.

  6. Triumph says:

    Poor Johnson–if he had been working for Bush, he would likely be promoted and given a Medal of Freedom.

    Heckuva’ job Jimbo!

  7. Jeffrey W. Baker says:

    I’ve seen several blog posts and news stories on this topic but so far nobody has said what this guy supposedly did, other than something about having a loan from Countrywide. Anybody?

  8. Bithead says:

    I don’t think it would be irony since she didn’t write it

    (Shrug)
    She wrote the tune, anyway.

  9. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Obama railed on about how Countrywide was the cause of people defaulting on their loans because they were too stupid to realize they could not pay for something beyond their means. Think they could have been greedy? Obama wants to blame credit card companies for the rates they charge. Save me BO, I have lost control over my ability to use my credit cards and I need big government to help me. Obama picked out Countrywide as at fault and then picked out Johnson to pick his VP. Johnson got a sweetheart deal of a loan you and I cannot get because we don’t work for Fanny Mae. Is there no act of stupidity Obama can commit that will turn you idiots against him or at least doubt his ability to govern? Stupid.

  10. anjin-san says:

    Legion is absolutely correct, McCain’s campaign bus is kind of like a floating crap game for lobbyists, and he has not hesitated to throw a little ballast overboard when the heat gets turned up.

    Another weak argument against Obama, one of many.

  11. Johnson also got into a lot of trouble at Fannie Mae trying to deceive auditors and, dare I say it, hiding millions of dollars in his own compensation from auditors as CEO.

    Why does anyone think that saying, “Hey, your guy does it too” makes sense as an argument, especially when the point is that Senator Obama rants and rails about this type of behavior and then goes out and hires the poster boy for it?

  12. anjin-san says:

    Why does anyone think that saying, “Hey, your guy does it too” makes sense as an argument,

    This seems to be the line McCain’s apologists are taking, the core position being “we can call Obama on stuff, you just can’t call McCain on anything”.

    Sorry boys, the days when Democrats would just stand there and get smacked around are over. You throw stones at us, we will throw boulders back. Considering the unprecedented level of corruption in the modern GOP, it is a slugging match I do not mind getting in…

  13. brainy435 says:

    Who has McCain thrown under the bus? What has McCain “gotten away with” that Obama hasn’t. All baseless accusations unless you can back them up.

    No wonder you guys like Obama: long on words, WAY short on substance.

  14. Anjin-san, read the rest of the sentence before calling me a McCain apologist. Right now, I don’t think I’ll be voting for McCain, so I can call bullshit on Senator Obama without being a McCain sycophant. Not all of us are in spin mode all the time.

  15. anjin-san says:

    Who has McCain thrown under the bus?

    ahh… pay attention Bevis…

    A Fifth Top Aide To McCain Resigns
    Finance Co-Chairman’s Lobbying Ties Are Cited

    By Michael D. Shear
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Monday, May 19, 2008;

    Tom Loeffler, the national finance co-chairman for Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign, resigned yesterday because of his lobbying ties, a campaign adviser said.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/18/AR2008051802212.html

  16. Bithead says:

    Another weak argument against Obama, one of many.

    How does the Clintonian ‘they do it too’ defense make the argument against Obama any weaker, or the argument againt McCain, any stronger? Rmember, please, that there are a number of us out here who aren’t all that happy with either one of ’em.

  17. Michael says:

    One or two staffers is one thing, but he has ditched several, which in the end makes you wonder about his actual judgement in the first place.

    Johnson wasn’t a staffer.

    Who has McCain thrown under the bus?

    Conservatives in general?

  18. Bithead says:

    Johnson wasn’t a staffer.

    A limitation Obama imposes on lobby types to give himself a sheild of deniablility.

    Of course that’s tough to maintain after the first 10 times or so you have to shove someone under the RTS.

  19. Michael says:

    A limitation Obama imposes on lobby types to give himself a sheild of deniablility.

    Let me clarify, the VP vetting positions are not staff positions, this wasn’t an exception made for Johnson.

  20. brainy435 says:

    “Who has McCain thrown under the bus?

    Conservatives in general?”

    Well, yeah, but I meant besides them….

    anjin, yeah he’s really tosssing people:
    “McCain has steadfastly defended Black and Davis.”

    I don’t care for either candidate, but at least McCain doesn’t try and blame other people for his stupidity when these things become issues. Somehow he never heard Wright say the things he said and the media were at fault jumping on him for rare outbursts. In this instance he slammed the media for suggesting this was a bad judgement call, tried to suggest that the guy wasn’t important and even if he was, Obama was too busy to vet him.

    Not exactly what one would hope for in a leader.

  21. Bithead says:

    Let me clarify, the VP vetting positions are not staff positions, this wasn’t an exception made for Johnson.

    ut it IS a restriction placed on all the lobbyists working for him in whatever capacity.. and there are as I gather it quite a few. In this way, he gets the benefits of their being involved while being able to deny he’s got lobby types on his staff.

    A move worthy of Clinton.

  22. Michael says:

    ut it IS a restriction placed on all the lobbyists working for him in whatever capacity..

    I get the feeling we’re arguing completely different things here.

  23. anjin-san says:

    McCain has steadfastly defended Black and Davis.

    OK, he has defended 2 while throwing 5 under the wheels of the Road Kill Express…

    not that impressive of a ratio.