Howard Dean on Mortgage Crisis:
John McCain Just Doesn't Get It
To: POLITICAL EDITORS
Contact: Damien LaVera of the Democratic National Committee, +1-202-863-8148
WASHINGTON, March 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In his remarks addressing the housing crisis today, John McCain once again failed to outline any new proposals to help millions of struggling homeowners keep their homes or address the larger issues local communities are facing as a result of the crisis. McCain's speech comes on the same day one leading indicator reported a 10.7 percent drop in single-family home values, the steepest decline in the history of that index. [New York Times, 3/25/08]
McCain clearly sought to use the speech to demonstrate his understanding of the issue by reviewing the causes of the crisis. Instead, McCain demonstrated how out of touch he is and how little he understands the complexities of the challenge by minimizing its impact and blaming it on speculators and Americans who "bought homes they couldn't afford." At one point, McCain even asked "how could 4 million mortgages cause this much trouble for us all?" The fact is, those 4 million mortgages account for more that the entire 3,002,048 population of Orange County, where McCain gave the speech, and roughly two-thirds the entire population of his home state of Arizona.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean today issued the following statement:
"Just as he doesn't know the difference between Iraq's Sunnis and Shiites, John McCain today showed that he doesn't understand the economy, the mortgage crisis, or its impact on America's families and communities. Instead of offering a concrete plan to address the crisis at all levels, McCain promised to take the same hands off approach that President Bush used to lead us into this crisis. While John McCain promises a third Bush term, Democrats are offering real solutions to help the millions of American families who played by the rules and are still fighting to keep their homes."
JOHNNY-COME-LATELY (& LIGHTLY)
ON MORTGAGE CRISIS
McCain Downplays The Mortgage Crisis:
McCain Shrugged Off Home Loan Mortgage Crisis As Unimportant To Voters. "Mr. McCain campaigned on Sunday morning in Tampa with Gov. Charlie Crist, who endorsed him on Saturday. Mr. McCain continued his focus on national security, touching only sparingly on the nation's economic jitters. 'Even if the economy is the, quote, No. 1 issue, the real issue will remain America's security,' Mr. McCain said to reporters, according to The Associated Press. "And if they choose to say, 'Look, I do not need this guy because he's not as good on home loan mortgages' or whatever it is, I understand about that, I will accept that verdict. I am running because of the transcendental challenge of the 21st century, which is radical Islamic extremism.'" [New York Times, 1/28/2008]
McCain Passed Off Question On Sub-Prime Loans. "One of Mr. McCain's guests on the bus on Saturday was Carly Fiorina, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard who is supporting Mr. McCain. The senator turned to Ms. Fiorina at the town hall meeting in Warren to help him answer a question about why the sub-prime mortgage crisis seemed to catch the country by surprise. Ms. Fiorina took the microphone and said that 'many, many people' did not see the mortgage crisis coming 'because we forgot about a fundamental principle of American capitalism,' transparency. She also said banks had taken many of the transactions off their balance sheets. 'She's a lot smarter than I am,' Mr. McCain said." [New York Times, 1/13/2008]
Meanwhile The Situation Continues To Get Worse For Millions Of Americans:
WSJ: "Foreclosure Rate Outpaces Sales by Lenders." "Foreclosures are occurring at the highest rate in decades -- and as a result, lenders are acquiring homes faster than they can sell them off. Last year, sales of foreclosed homes rose just 4.4%, while the supply more than doubled, according to First American CoreLogic. As of the end of last year, about 2% of all home loans were in foreclosure, or double the average rate over the past 28 years. It is the highest foreclosure rate since the Mortgage Bankers Association, a trade group, began collecting data in 1979. Lenders describe the current situation as the worst since the Great Depression." [Wall Street Journal, 3/25/2008]
In 2007, More Than 2.2 Million Americans Were "In Some Stage Of Foreclosure." "The median price of existing homes fell more than six percent in 2007, and more than one percent of all American households, or about 2.2 million-nearly double the 2006 tally-were in some stage of foreclosure, according to Irvine, CA-based RealtyTrac. In some key electoral states, including Florida and Michigan, the foreclosure rate was about two percent, boosting the sense of urgency for a solution. With another 1.7 million ARMs poised to reset over the next two years, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the pain could get worse. Even January's 125 basis points of rate cuts by the Federal Reserve hasn't done much to ease voters' unease." [USBanker, 3/2008]
But, McCain Admits He Had No Viable Solution:
McCain: "I Don't Claim To Be Smart Enough" To Offer A Solution To The Mortgage Crisis. In a meeting with the editorial board of New Hampshire's Keene Sentinel, McCain responded to a question regarding the sub-prime mortgage loan crisis saying, "Obviously, the worse it gets, the more there is a role for government. But I can't come down yet and give ... a specific solution, because I don't claim to be smart enough." [American Banker, 3/11/2008; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTmIJ5Aag2Q]
McCain: No Plan On Housing Crisis. In an interview on ABC's This Week, George Stephanopoulos: They have also said, both Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton have said we need a government fund to provide -- to help borrowers who are facing foreclosure on their homes. Good idea? MCCAIN: I don't think so, yet. We have the FHA working. We have a number of institutions working with them." [ABC News, This Week, 2/17/2008]
American Banker: Unlike Democrats, McCain Lacks Specific Plan To Solve Mortgage Crisis. According to the American Banker, McCain has failed to offer a comprehensive plan to address the rising home foreclosures. "Both Democratic candidates have offered broad and detailed proposals to protect consumers strapped by mortgages and other credit products, and support creating a government fund to help rehabilitate mortgages nearing foreclosure. Sen. McCain has been more muted. Unlike either of his potential opponents, the Republican's Web site shows no mention of the mortgage crisis among his economic proposals Sen. McCain has offered only one proposal related to the housing crisis, supporting the creation of a simplified, one-page mortgage disclosure form to help borrowers understand their loans." [American Banker, 3/11/2008]
McCain Would Block Millions Of Homeowners From Receiving Crucial Financial Assistance:
McCain Opposed Providing Government Funds To Millions Of Hard-Working Americans Facing Foreclosure In Order To Punish A Few Speculators Who Gamed The System. When asked if there is a need for a government fund to provide relief for homeowners facing foreclosure, McCain replied, "I don't think so yet. We have the FHA working. We have a number of institutions working with them. But I would be glad to do whatever is necessary to relieve the burden of people who are legitimate borrowers who see their home loan interest payments so high, mortgage payments, so high that they can't afford it anymore, but I don't want to reward people who engaged in speculation. And I certainly don't want to reward institutions that engaged in the practice of lending people that couldn't afford to pay that home." [ABC News, This Week, 2/17/2008]
And FinallyMcCain Compared Current Crisis To Savings And Loan Crisis:
Irony Alert: McCain Compares Mortgage Crisis To Savings & Loan Meltdown. "Mr. McCain, who is focusing in more detail on issues related to the economy in the windup to primary season, did not specify what further federal intervention might be necessary. But Mr. McCain, a Republican from Arizona, indicated that the government has a role in helping the truly needy, and he likened the current crisis to the savings-and-loan meltdown in the 1980s, which set off an extensive government bailout to soften its effect on the economy." [New York Times, 12/19/2007]
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