Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Not a friend of Angelo Mozilo, "or whatever his name is"

Senator Chris Dodd is attempting to face down his demons today, appearing twice on a local AM radio station, without conceding a single document about his mortgages received from Countrywide Financial as part of the controversial "friend of Angelo (Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo)" program.

Dodd has proclaimed his innocence, but for an experienced Senator who has run the Senate Banking Committee, it's a bit hard to accept that level of naiveté. If in fact he knows so little about his personal mortgage, I'm not sure I want him at the head of a legislative committee which controls and regulates those banks and mortgage companies.

What strikes me odd, in the "the lady doth protest too much, methinks" category, is a verbal cue I've heard Dodd use more than once when addressing his problems. He goes on and on about not being informed about the favoritism of the mortgage program he used, claims he only used mortgage brokers, explains that mortgages were at an all-time low and that refinancing was natural, then he says: "And I never dealt with Angelo Mozilo, or whatever his name is."

That "or whatever his name is" strikes me as disingenous. It's something a teenager might say if accused of hanging out with the wrong crowd of teenagers. He said it last week when confronted by reporters, and he said it this morning on WTIC-AM in an interview (he didn't say it later in the day in an interview with the same radio station on the Colin McEnroe show) with hosts who didn't seem inclined to question the preposterous premise that Dodd might not show preference for someone who "saved" him tens of thousands of dollars over the life of his mortgage.

Maybe it's just the schtick of a seasoned politician who thinks he's got a winning rhetorical device to demonstrate his innocence. Instead, he's perfected a verbal tic, polished it, and delivers it like a stage actor reading a bad script.

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