Correction to This Article
The Sunday Politics column in the Dec. 17 early Sunday edition incorrectly said that the Federal Election Commission pursued regulatory enforcement this year against mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae. The target of the regulatory action was Freddie Mac.
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On 'Monday Night Football,' An Announcement From Obama

Despite all the attention Obama is getting, 77 percent of the people interviewed in the poll didn't know much about him after his two years in the Senate.

Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has had a national reputation since he ran for president in 2000, also still has much educating to do. Sixty-nine percent said they knew only a little or nothing about him. Most Americans know virtually nothing about outgoing Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), who is weighing a presidential bid.

FEC Likely to Stay Vigorous

As what is likely to be the nation's most expensive presidential race gets underway, the incoming chairman of the Federal Election Commission said he wants to continue the aggressive enforcement strategy the agency adopted over the past year.

Robert D. Lenhard, a Democrat who has served on the commission for one year after more than a decade with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, will take over in January from outgoing Chairman Michael E. Toner, a Republican. During Toner's tenure, the agency pursued major regulatory cases against Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, and several "527" organizations that spent unregulated millions in the 2004 elections and played an important role in framing the campaign. Such groups included MoveOn.org and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

"We were able to promulgate a lot of different regulations. We made significant steps in trying to update and reform the practices of the agency. I hope to continue that," Lenhard said.

Lenhard said the FEC might face a situation in 2008 in which neither major-party presidential candidate accepts public financing for the general election, which would be a first since the system of public financing of presidential campaigns began more than three decades ago.

Toner has predicted that the major candidates will raise $500 million each to fund their campaigns.

Polling director Jon Cohen contributed to this report.


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