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October 16, 2008

Open Letter: Produce the Letter
Correction: He Does Have a Letter About the Crisis... From March 2007, When the Housing Market Was Already Beginning to Tank

An email I just wrote to someone in the media. I'm writing it to everyone else in the media, too:

Hey, XXXXXX. Assuming you are interested in a story that might get you a lot of notice, while hurting Obama...

Obama has asserted in two debates he wrote a letter warning the
SecTreas of the impending subprime crisis.

He has never produced this letter. It is not on his website.

Is anyone in the media going to ask him to provide this letter? It
seems rather elemental to me that if someone makes an assertion of
prescience without providing evidence for it, the natural, automatic,
instantaneous response should be, "Okay, let's' see the letter."

Any interest at all? Or is his word satisfactory on this point?

Correction, of Sorts: Obama did write a letter -- after the housing market was already tanking, and people were going into foreclosure.

This is hardly "warning of the danger on the horizon." It's warning of the danger already past the door.

He misrepresented this "warning."

Thanks to Danny.

Fact Check: Half true. And not the important half.

We asked two economists, one with a right-leaning group and one with a left-leaning group, if a warning issued in 2007 could have made a difference to the problems of October 2008. Both of them said it was too late by then, because the questionable loans and securities had been issued by that point.

"The horse was already out of the barn," said Dean Baker, an economist and co-director of the left-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.

"Everyone with a brain who was paying attention knew that there were big problems associated with outstanding subprime risk," said Charles Calomiris, a professor at Columbia Business School and a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. But, he added, "There was little that the Fed could have done after March 2007 to prevent the crisis from happening."

So Obama is right that he wrote the letter. Saying Bernanke and Paulson didn't do anything about it sounds harsh, but it is a rough approximation of what happened. But Obama's letter was largely confined to the problems of low-income homeowners who were losing their homes. It was not an early warning on the economic collapse of '08. We rate his statement Half True.

Obama's warning came as the crisis was already unfolding. A year after Republicans attempted to pass reform into law -- which he blocked, by permitting a filibuster -- and two years after John McCain called for this reform.

And, as long as we're playing this game, six and four years after Bush called for such reforms in 2001, and then called for them again in 2003.

Barack Obama participated in the scam -- until it began to blow up in his face.

And then he dashed off a CYA letter "warning" of the problem he had previously blocked solving.

When Obama was presented with the opportunity to actually do something that could avert the crisis -- pass crucial legislation enacting reform -- he voted present.

But he's really proud that a year later, when bomb he'd built began to blow up in his face, he wrote a letter noting that the bomb he'd built seemed to be blowing up.

Thanks to Doug.

Best Part of Letter:

How to support independent community-based-organizations to provide counseling and work-out services to prevent foreclosure and preserve homeownership where practical.

That means ACORN, the same group the Democrats tried to create a $20+ billion slush-fund for in the earlier bailout package the proposed.

Thanks to Tinian.

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posted by Ace at 04:35 PM

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