Obama adviser steps down after controversy

Jim Johnson, the man who headed Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe House Judiciary Committee's fundamental choice Teaching black children to read is an act of social justice Buttigieg draws fresh scrutiny, attacks in sprint to Iowa MORE’s (Ill.) running mate vetting committee, stepped down Wednesday afternoon after days of controversy.

At issue were hefty loans Johnson received from Countrywide Financial Corp., a major player in the ongoing sub-prime lending fiasco, while he was serving as CEO of Fannie Mae.

Republicans have been hammering away at Obama for continuing to use Johnson to vet his potential running mates, calling it the height of hypocrisy.

“Jim did not want to distract in any way from the very important task of gathering information about my vice presidential nominee, so he has made a decision to step aside that I accept,” Obama said in a statement. “We have a very good selection process under way, and I am confident that it will produce a number of highly qualified candidates for me to choose from in the weeks ahead. I remain grateful to Jim for his service and his efforts in this process.”

On Tuesday, Obama said he would not vet his vetters, saying that Johnson worked for him on an unpaid, volunteer basis.