Reader DA writes:
You wrote that Johnson “received favorable loan terms, thrice,” from Countrywide’s CEO.
Actually, based on the information in the Journal article, it’s impossible to tell whether Johnson got favorable treatment. As the article itself says, “Rates depend partly on how much borrowers pay in points, if any, to lower their interest charge. Records don't show whether Mr. Johnson paid points or if so how many.”
The market averages also don’t factor in points, so they are an imperfect benchmark for comparison. But it’s interesting that for the one loan Johnson obtained through Mozillo while he was still at Fannie Mae, his rate (6.375%) was HIGHER than the market average (6.2%).
Me: Fair point. One would assume that the points Johnson paid were favorable, but we really don't know.
I was looking at the graphs from McCain's strategy briefing that you posted on your blog, and I thought it might be good to note the graphical fudging in the second one ("Voters Perceive McCain as Ideological Match").
If you look at the axis labels, you can see that the McCain people break out "conservative" into two categories (somewhat and very), while "liberal" is just one. This has the graphical effect of emphasizing the number of people who view Obama as liberal and depressing the number who view McCain as conservative. If the graph were symmetrical -- i.e., with "very conservative" and "somewhat conservative" compressed into a single category (adding up to 46%) -- then the graph for McCain would look like a mirror image of Obama's, with a peak on the left.
I know informed readers would be skeptical of any graphics or numbers coming from inside of a campaign, but it still might be good to point this out.
Marc Ambinder is a former contributing editor at The Atlantic.