North Carolina: Battling Dole Slams Schumer on Mortgages

Posted September 24, 2008 at 6:38pm

After weeks of nasty poll numbers, unflattering press coverage and millions of dollars in negative television ads, Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s (R) campaign finally tried to stop the bleeding on Wednesday, attempting to link Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee-backed challenger state Sen. Kay Hagan with the Wall Street meltdown.

“Dole was one of only a small handful of people who saw the crisis coming and proposed fixes,” the Senator’s campaign said in a statement. “Sadly, these fixes were stopped by the very Washington insiders who are now running and bankrolling Hagan’s campaign.”

The Dole campaign’s response comes a week after Hagan accused the lawmaker of “asking no questions and making no statements” in more than 60 Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearings. The Senate panel oversees commercial lenders, crippled government-sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and investment houses such as the bankrupt Lehman Brothers.

Hagan’s campaign called Dole’s interest in the bailouts “six years late and billions of dollars short.”

“Where was she for the previous six years?” Hagan spokeswoman Colleen Flanagan said in a statement. “For working families in North Carolina, her reticence isn’t surprising considering she’s accepted nearly $800,000 in campaign contributions from the Securities and Investment Industry. Why bite the hand that feeds you?”

But on Wednesday, Dole disputed Hagan’s facts and said, in fact, that she was well ahead of the curve in issuing warnings on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the excesses of Wall Street. Dole’s campaign also cited a recent Wall Street Journal article describing the lawmaker as “standing up to the mortgage giants.”

Dole put the blame for the mortgage mess squarely in the lap of DSCC Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.), who her campaign said was “in bed with Fannie and Freddie and almost single-handedly caused the current crisis.”

Dole also took a swipe at Schumer’s Tuesday Banking panel hearing, suggesting that his record of supporting the mortgage backers perhaps contributed to the financial meltdown.

“We know one of my committee colleagues proclaimed in April 2005 Fannie and Freddie have done … a ‘very, very good job,’” according to a transcript of Dole’s testimony. “It is astounding that despite the years of widely publicized mismanagement at Fannie and Freddie, despite our group of United States senators sounding the alarm about the lack of oversight.”

Schumer and the DSCC have spent more than $6 million this cycle on television ads attacking Dole.