As he watches James A. Johnson in action, Franklin D. Raines says he is reminded of a scene from the movie "Star Wars." A pilot locks in his sights amid a flurry of laser beams and missiles-and a voice in his earphones says, "Stay on target, stay on target, stay on target."

Mr. Raines, who has been tapped to succeed Mr. Johnson as chairman of the huge Fannie Mae, clearly admires his colleague's sense of corporate focus. And the sentiment is reciprocated; Mr. Johnson has only praise for his successor-in-waiting.

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