Tom Ross

Tom Ross

Tom Ross: Get off your presidential fannies


Tom Ross

Tom Ross' column appears in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4205 or

Find more columns by Tom here.

— You’ve probably heard the never-ending series of Republican presidential debates this winter referred to as a bad reality television series.

Well, if you watched Thursday night’s debate from Florida on CNN, you still might be scratching your head and wondering which reality show is more distasteful, “Wife Swap” or “Presidential Fannie Bickering.”

The exchange between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich during which they poked and jabbed each other ad nauseum about who had spent more time in bed with mortgage-backing monsters Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was nothing short of embarrassing. They reminded me of two stepbrothers with acutely developed abilities to push each other’s buttons.

Fannie Mae is the Federal National Mortgage Association and Freddie Mac is its evil twin, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

Maybe you know that their role in the housing bubble involved increasing the secondary mortgage market by securitizing mortgages as mortgage-backed securities that could then be sold. Fannie and Freddie certainly contributed to the housing crisis. But the cartoon version of their full names has somehow transformed them into the ultimate punching bags for this year’s presidential hopefuls.

“We discovered to our shock Gov. Romney owns shares of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Gov. Romney made a million dollars off of selling some of that,” Gingrich said, almost taunting Romney.

Romney was waiting for him.

“Mr. Speaker, I know that sounds like an enormous revelation, but have you checked your own investments? You also have investments through mutual funds that also invest in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” Romney shot back. Score! The problem is the public has more pressing issues.

Candidates Ron Paul and Rick Santorum did their best to move the debate in a healthier direction, one in which they would exchange views on legitimate issues. But Romney and Gingrich refused to get off their Fannies.

And Wolf Blitzer, of CNN, didn’t do much to raise the level of discourse, repeatedly feeding the two front-runners questions that led them to attack the other’s attack ads.

As the famed ’60s rock group, The Band, once sang, it’s time to “take a load off Fannie.”

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email


seeuski 5 years, 2 months ago

Pretty fair commentary, there are other issues more important but the media is guilty of keeping the Candidates in a permanent circle shoot saving Obama and his terrible policies of diminishing the USA from the fore. It is amazing to me that Wolf Blitzer mentioned the State of the Union address not once, nor the axing of the XL pipeline not once, nor the threat of Iran not once. Nor the new 1.2 trillion of new debt ceiling by Obama not once. The media is protecting Obama from even a small amount of scrutiny in comparison to what these Candidates have received over the Months. Things will be changing on that account in the coming debates I am confident. And the truth about Fannie/Freddie and the way the Democrats have used them for their spread the wealth programs over the years should be properly hung where it belongs, around Obama's neck, and I've got the video to show why.


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