A question we haven't asked since 2000, when Dick Cheney in essence chose himself to be vice president. But the Wall Street Journal's report on Saturday will require further comment from the Obama campaign. James Johnson, one of Obama's veepstakes supervisors, received favorable loan terms, thrice, from the CEO of Countrywide, Angilo Mozelo, while Johnson was an executive at Fannie Mae, the government-backed mortgage lender. The loans aren't illegal, but if Johnson got preferential treatment, he would have had to disclose the terms to Fannie Mae regulators.

Substantively, Johnson did nothing wrong. But the next 17 days of Obama's campaign are tacked to a theme of economic opportunity for all, with government leveling the playing field; his party's populist critique of President Bush frowns on these sorts of special favors between rich folks.

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