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Did Greene wreck the economy with credit default swaps?

Rulings%2Ftom-barelytrue Jeff Greene's personal fortune may be financing his campaign for the U.S. Senate, but it's also become the chief line of attack for his Democratic primary opponent, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek.

Greene -- who has three (yes, 3) personal jets and a 145-foot yacht -- manages a real estate portfolio that he says once totaled $1 billion. That's not the issue, however.

What is, Meek says, is Greene's decision to hedge those real estate investments in 2006 and 2007 by investing in a complicated financial instrument called Credit Default Swaps. The investment essentially paid out when other people's mortgages went bust, or their properties fell into foreclosure. Sensing the housing collapse, Greene admits he made hundreds of millions of dollars betting that property owners wouldn't be able to make payments on bad or risky mortgages.

The investments, while perhaps unseemly, are legal. But that hasn't stopped Meek from making an issue of them in a suddenly competitive primary. In their first debate in West Palm Beach on June 22, 2010, Meek accused Greene of hoping Floridians would lose their homes. He then charged those investments helped sink the U.S. economy.

"He is the king of the undercover Credit Default Swap that brought about the destruction of our economy that we have right now," Meek said.

That's a heavy charge -- that Greene pioneered the investment strategy that wrecked the U.S. economy. Is it right? Keep reading Politifact Florida here.

Comments

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Meek Fan, but voting for Crist.

Let's not nitpick. Meek is engaging in a slight bit of hyperbole here, but what he says is essentially true.

I don't think Kendrick should worry about what this faux Democrat Greene says or does - we DEMS aren't fooled by his change of Party and I for one, don't believe a word the parasitic profiteer has to say about anything.

I like everything about Rep. Meek, but at this point I can only see myself voting for Charlie Crist, because he gives us the best chance to keep Marco Rubio out of the Senate. I hear paid political operatives are trying to invoke race as a the reason why many Democrats feel the same way I do, but that's not the case in any way. I think Mr. Meek will understand, we have to put the future of the nation first, and Marco Rubio is part of the greater threat to democracy that these right wing nuts pose. He must be kept out of office or he'll add to the obstruction and lead our nation futher down the path towards fascism.

Best of luck, Kendrick; your day will come and I'll be proud to pull that lever for you.

John

Kendrick needs another line of attack, bc it doesn't make sense to attack someone for making a great business decision. Greene didn't cause the housing market to crash, he was smart enough to see that it was going to happen and made a smart business decision that made him a lot of money. Had Kendrick (or anyone in Congress) had any foresight he would have also seen the bubble was going to burst. He didn't though. He could have written legislation to stop these bad loans from being given out, but he didn't. He did nothing, just like every other legislator (state, local, & federal). Now he wants to attack Greene for this. I don't fault Greene for making money on the bubble bursting. The governments failure you to see it has caused all their budget problems. Imagine if the government could have for seen the crisis and done something about it, rather then trying to deal with it after the fact. Attacking someone for making a good decision is a bad idea in my opinion. I'm a Dem and am thinking about actually voting for him in the primary. I'm for Crist in the general election.

WWMD?

"Meek Fan, but voting for Crist", I couldn't agree with you more, and feel the same way about keeping Marco out. Whatever Democrat is elected will be in a distant 3rd and we need to make sure we keep Marco out. Democrats need to realize that, vote Charlie in November.

Saint Petersblog

Actually, Kendrick, err, Congressman Meek, you did not "win" the debate.

http://bit.ly/bY1BmA

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