According to conservatives, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae's audacity to loan to low-income Americans is to blame for the current financial crisis. During the final presidential debate, for example, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called the lending giants "the catalyst for this housing crisis."
Today in a House Oversight Committee hearing with former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, SEC chairman Christopher Cox, and former Treasury secretary John Snow, Rep. John Mica (R-FL) revived that argument. He also tried to tie the crisis to Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), holding up a chart called "Follow the Money Trail." He pointed that Obama has been the largest recipient of donations from Freddie and Fannie. (Actually, he's the second highest.)
Committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) chastised Mica for trying to turn the financial crisis into a political issue. He noted that Freddie and Fannie "certainly played a role" in the current situation, but then asked the witnesses, "Do any of you believe that they were the cause of this financial crisis?" All three men said no.