March 25th, 2008
02:05 PM ET

Hillary Clinton’s desperation move on housing hits a slump

Beyond the repetitive cable TV news loops of Barack Obama’s clergymen, Hillary Clinton doesn’t have a lot going for her as she faces the fight of her life in Pennsylvania. 


She managed to pull out a win among working class whites in Ohio with a populist pitch claiming that she’d opposed the NAFTA agreement that was the centerpiece of her husband’s trade policy.  That particular hat trick is a little harder to repeat in the Keystone state, however, since a Freedom of Information Act Request has now forced her to open up her records as First Lady. These prove that she actually hosted meetings in support of NAFTA at that time. (See David Sirota’s blog post on the subject.)

So instead of exaggerating her opposition to NAFTA, Team Hillary is repeating a tactic they’ve refined better than anybody else – a multi-point public policy program.  We’ve seen Clinton’s multi-point public policy programs for just about every topic you can imagine, and this one seeks to invent a political advantage from the housing crisis. 

This time, however, the policy wonks’ desperation move is just like the troubled mortgages it seeks to address: it’s upside-down, an amalgam of policy prescriptions borrowed from other Democrats, together with others that are already happening anyway, no thanks to Hillary Clinton.  

For instance, Clinton’s team has Xeroxed a proposal by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and her former opponent, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), to expand the Federal Housing Administration’s ability to purchase and restructure mortgages that have, in today’s parlance, “gone underwater.” 

Unsurprisingly, however, this is already being done without Hillary Clinton. The FHA is already trying to get as many homeowners as possible under its umbrella, and it is the loan companies, not the government, that will have to make the call whether to write down the troubled notes. Furthermore, according to a report by David C. John at the Heritage Foundation, the Frank-Dodd approach will not stop foreclosures, even for those who qualify—rather it offers a “government buyout of problem mortgages disguised as a refinancing plan.”

New York’s junior Senator was particularly self-righteous when she demanded that the President form an “emergency working group” to study how to establish “broad restructuring” of the at-risk mortgages.  This, too, is already happening. The HOPE NOW Coalition has been working at restructuring these loans since last fall.  It now includes 90 percent of the sub-prime mortgage servicers, and in less than a year, the industry has already restructured mortgages to save more than 1 million families from foreclosure.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that any policy prescription from Hillary Clinton includes a hefty price tag.  In this case, she proposes an additional $30 billion so local governments and non-profits can buy and re-sell foreclosed properties to low income families or convert them into rental units.  This is on top of the $168 billion stimulus package that was just signed into law (which Clinton claimed contained “nothing” to address the housing crisis).

On this score, she’s wrong on both points.  First, the stimulus package at least increased the limits on FHA loans, - in fact, FHA has pumped almost $50 billion of liquidity into the housing market in just the last six months.  What’s more, Community Development Block Grants already allow the states and local governments to use federal dollars for the purchase, re-sale or rental of foreclosed properties at risk. (As an aside, HOPE NOW has supported a toll-free hotline, 1-888-995-HOPE to provide mortgage counseling in multiple languages.)

At a time when more and more folks have the jitters about the economy and making their mortgage payments, it’s important to separate fact from political theatre. Our role should not be to overcorrect the economy or to make the federal government to a realtor of last resort.

– Leslie Sanchez, spokesman and deputy press secretary at the Republican National Committee during the 2000 presidential campaign, author of “Los Republicanos: Why Hispanics and Republicans Need Each Other.”

Filed under: Economy • Hillary Clinton • Housing Market • Leslie Sanchez
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. Dre Jones

    I believe that Hilary Clinton is far from what America needs at this time and in all honesty, who has the true answer to change our falling economy. I was truly happy to here that she was running for the Presidency but soon found myself disappointed, as I watched her act more like a sore loser than a champion. The question of Obama and his pastor has been so over exaggerated, it just shows how America still judges one persons action for the whole race/ political racial profiling. Now would anyone with good sense vote for someone that makes up a vivid story about there service as a first lady and didn’t remember it was recorded!!! Now farther more she doesn’t relate to most of the population, she has never missed a meal in her life and has only attended best of schools. Sounds more to me like a female Bush. Does anyone see the similarities Hilary is not Bill, Bush is not Bush Sr. He dodged the draft/ Bosnia was not hostile, Rezko/White Water just do your homework who has a worst track record, you judge. Hillary in office… would be like putting desperate housewives in office, there will be no solutions just more entertaining drama that could create a fatal blow to America as a whole.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:47 am |
  2. john f. brown

    I became so mad about the egregious comments and insults that Lanny Davis has been spreading about Obama on all the talk shows I decided to send Davis an email to urge him to stop it, in all decency. I soon discovered his law firm has all incoming emails to him blocked.

    That leaves him clear to blow nasty attacks against Barack Obama all around the cable news channels and not have to hear from folks like me asking him to stop. I guess it was a stupid idea now that I think about it. He's not a very decent fellow but he's smart enough to block off emails from anyone who might disagree with him.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:25 am |
  3. Lanston Sylvester

    Hillary and others are stating that they would leave their church if their pastor said anything they diagreed with. No one leaves their synagogue when their rabbi says anything negative about the Jews' treatment by the Germans; no one leaves their church when a pastor says something disparaging about gays; no one even leaves their church when a pastor demonstrates prejudice and racism. Vice-president Dick Cheney believed Nelson Mandela should have remained in prison and saw him as a threat to the South African Apartheid government. Dick Cheney called F. W. DeKlerk a friend of America during the racist regime of apartheid. Should politicians have left America based on those statments and that position?

    March 26, 2008 at 2:20 am |
  4. Marvin

    Perhaps Hillary was referring to one of the many cities in your own back yard and figured..oh well if it happens at home it must have happened in Bosnia. If the american folks are fed this crap while "Rome is burning" ,any wonder things are falling apart??

    March 26, 2008 at 2:20 am |
  5. dotty

    Hillary Clinton did not "misspeak" about Bosnia. I am a woman and if I was bombarded with bullets flying all around me. I would definitely have a clear memory of this event. And if I didn't I am quite sure my daughter would have one being that she was not a baby at the time of this so-called occurence. Hillary outright lied about those events. And the sad part about her fairytales is the fact that everytime she get caught up in a "misspeak" she tries to bring Senator Barack into the picture to take the spotlight off of herself. People are not as stupid as she think they are. Everytime she pulls on of those stunts, everyone is aware of what she is doing and it is not working. She says that Pastor Wright sermon is going to come back to haunt Senator Barack. She should be smart enough to know that that fairytale that she told will come back to haunt her also if she is nominated. When it is time for her to quote her war experiences and they run that clip of her walking calmly off the plane, Senator Mccain and his supporters will have a mighty good laugh. Oh! I forgot she says, well Hillary will you also forget to answer that phone at 3 in the morning when you are comfortable in your bed. When you get caught up in your fairytales, what are you going to do when you have to come face to face with reality. You won't have Senator Obama around to try to take the heat off of you for your mistakes.

    March 26, 2008 at 2:00 am |
  6. Melissa

    I'm sorry, I just had to say....Tracy if you want to vote Republican, do it... nobody cares. I actually believe that ending the war and bringing our troops home, while salvaging what's left of our economy is more important than the silly back and forth from Clinton and Obama supporters. I'm actually an Obama supporter and I think that to be attacked for things you didn't say is just crap, but then Clinton can actually LIE about her so-called "foreign policy experience" and somehow be entitled to a pass on that. It speaks to ler lack of credibility and integrity. However, I would never hand the country over to a republican advertising a 3rd-term of Bush, just because I was too stubborn and selfish to rally behind the Democratic nominee. I think that's just childish.

    March 26, 2008 at 1:51 am |
  7. bill Bixler

    I have loved and stood behind the Clintons from the very beginning. I was for Hillary initially but after the last two months I have lost respect for both of them and cannot support what they are about.

    This race baiting is very upsetting and quite frankly, when you hear the whole Wright sermon in context, there is nothing there that is off the mark.

    I don't like what the candidates are doing to each other but I am confident that the party will pull together and eventually take back the White House. Just look at the primary turnout. It's been five to ten times that of the republicans. We are in a good position.

    March 25, 2008 at 11:48 pm |
  8. Dre in Cali

    I am appalled that the Democratic party leaders are allowing this type of conduct to continue day after day. Senator Clinton has endorsed Senator McCain, lied to the American public about a trip to Bosnia, and accused Senator Obama of any and everything in an attempt to represent this Country for the next four years. Let's be honest, Senator Obama should have done a little damage control long before Fox News pushed the Rev. Wright sermons.

    We as mature Americans need to call on the media to report the issues that we are experiencing daily and not the gloom and doom of personal attacks as it relates to this Democratic Presidential campiagn daily.

    We deserve better.......

    Dre in California

    Mad as heck at both Candidates, who need to grow up and conduct themselves like ADULT!

    March 25, 2008 at 11:48 pm |
  9. Nick Gervay

    I don't blame Tracy for saying she would go Republican. The Obama people are so fanatical and mesmerized by his amazing talent at speech making that the issues don't even seem to matter. Their venom and hatred towards the Clintons, their strategy to disenfranchise voters by insisting that Hilary throw in the towel when she is only less than 200 delegates behind. I don't see Dick Cheney being called the monster that he is – it's like all their hatred towards Bush is transferred to the Clintons. Two of the most progressive people to ever be in politics. I lived through the Clinton years and no one except the Republicans was complaining.

    March 25, 2008 at 11:38 pm |
  10. JR / VA

    It is fun to read these comments from Clintonists who accuse CNN and everyone else for lies which are spread by campaign team or directly by HRC. Today she attacked Obama for Rev. Wright even though whole world already knows who spoke about "Americas chickens" Well may be these guys are not reading newspapers or blogs on Internet anymore. More important than her attack seems to me where the attack took place. She firstly came out with Rev. Wright in interview for Right Wing Republican Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Magazine where she went to visit.
    The same people who accordance MSNBC were standing behind many nasty attacks against Clintons in past. Isn't it scary such a connection? I think it is but it shows exactly what HRC is about. She has to win whatever it costs and well republicans have already nice movie for her which is now possible to watch partly on Youtube.
    I fear that she is going to win PA by huge margin because of faulty republicans game. I hope I am wrong and Obama wins the nomination.

    March 25, 2008 at 11:33 pm |
  11. Nick Gervay

    the way the media plays into this campaign is really troublesome and I find it a real weakness that the Clinton camp doesn't play the gender card as they should since Hilary is continually attacked for not being perfect – this is real sexism at its core. when I go onto the blogs I see horrible and disgusting references that demean her as a woman.

    Any reference to anything black is perceived as 'racist' when the overcompensation for white guilt is a subtle form of racism. Obama can continuously play the race card and the victim card and get away with it.

    btw, I saw footage the other day of his new pastor who compared Rev. Wright to Jesus and used the word "lynching" in his speech. I found it disgusting and deplorable. but all Barak has to do is make an excuse and say that sounds reasonable.

    when oh when is Obama going to talk issues – his weak suit – instead of personal attacks against Clinton. He keeps saying let's talk the issues to seem like he's taking the high ground while his supporters compare Bill Clinton to Joe McCarthy.

    March 25, 2008 at 11:30 pm |
  12. BILL

    We hear a lot of talk of experience, but for the past 7 years, all committees in the House and Senate have been led by Republicans. We have to look at Congressional records and the Federal Register to see what important legislation has been either offered or supported by the Democrats. It seems that Sen. Obama has the lead unless you want to count the naming of Post Offices and recognition days for Sen. Clinton.

    March 25, 2008 at 11:29 pm |
  13. Kristina, Texas

    When are CNN's anchors and news contributors going to start covering stories without biasing the coverage towards the obvious candidate of their choice–Obama? Do you really think your viewers cannot tell who you are supporting in this presidential election? Did the paradoy on SNL teach you nothing? Come on CNN quick supporting a specific candidate, and start presenting the news in an unbiased fashion. Clinton has been at the forefront of your issue #1 (the economy) since the beginning. She is the only one offering real solutions to the crisis facing the middle class. At least she is offering a plan about the economy. John McCain says he knows nothing about the issue, and Obama is taking a vacation. Must be nice!!!

    March 25, 2008 at 11:26 pm |
  14. patty schrader

    Hillary credited her previous lies about bosnia to sleep deprivation...
    This story told by her is clearly a fabrication, not a misspeak, or "honest mistake. Is she someone that hallucinates in the midst of sleep depravation?? OMG what might she "imagine" in the future surely she'll be sleep deprived next to the red phone.

    March 25, 2008 at 11:23 pm |
  15. Debbie

    If America really wants a change why vote for a Clinton?? We have had Bush, Clinton, Bush, do we really want another Clinton?? What kind of a change is that?? Seems like the same old same old to me!!

    March 25, 2008 at 11:22 pm |
  16. Ed K.

    I smell a republican.

    March 25, 2008 at 11:12 pm |
  17. Joyce-Houston

    The reason why hilliary keep getting bashed because she is always lying she is always acting very erractic behaviour and i guess it must be menopause,schizoeffective disorder or bipolar.
    well I guess sometimes she feel like a nut and sometimes she dont.
    Peter paul don't have nothing on hilliary.

    March 25, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  18. Fisher


    March 25, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  19. Kelly Butler

    It is amazing the amount of news that is repeated over and over again throughout the day, and is understandable to a certain extent. However, we are represented by a government that is elected by its people....and this government is not only embarrassing but shameless. Why is Bush and Cheney not being held to this day accountable for comments and actions that represent Americans. I for one do NOT want them to represent myself or my four children. The comments and actions by these two are not only misleading but show no concern for the welfare of any living and breathing thing. To me this is news. Our government represents this country, which is every citizen and that by itself in my opinion is an outrage!! The sheep are watching as well as the rest of us, so show them what they need to see, and just maybe it will help them to decide what not to vote for in November...

    March 25, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  20. robert

    You have got to be kidding, Hillary will not choose Wright as her pastor that is a choker. We know you can choose your pastor, same goes for your spouse. well???

    March 25, 2008 at 10:22 pm |
  21. Bill

    Obama lied to the media when he said he never heard ANY incendiary remarks while attending services in his church .. And then gave the race speech in Philly and said Yes he heard those kind of remarks while attending church. OK .. He LIED .. But I feel that Hillary “Misspoke”. get over it.

    March 25, 2008 at 10:22 pm |
  22. mikeb21

    Hey Anderson,

    I just watched the panel and it seemed that the man at odds with Joe Klien was a plant from the Hillary camp. I know this is not so but Anderson the people you bring onto your show should either be unbiased or should be stated as to who they are supporting. I found it a good debate but not one that was a little to one sided for Clinton's campaign.

    March 25, 2008 at 10:17 pm |

    The Clintons just confirmed why I switch to an independent. Barack brought me back but lately I am thinking that I am investing in a pitcher when I think we are going to need a BATTER in order to clean up Washington! Now that I think about it the Clintons are going to take themselves out. Houray

    March 25, 2008 at 10:17 pm |
  24. Judi Smith

    I feel that Hillary was trying to be fair that is why she did not bring up the subject of Obamas peacher until today. He forced her to do this by being the jerk that he is and bringing up her trip. He should have just let it ride as she was doing for the democrate party's sake. He forced her to bring up this subject again by being the no good person that he is.

    March 25, 2008 at 10:15 pm |
  25. Christina Brown

    Hillary has 35 years of lies. she can continue to talk about NAFTA all
    she wants but the truth is she cannot tell the truth about anything.

    March 25, 2008 at 9:56 pm |
  26. Tammy

    Oh my GOD, Did Hillary lie again??????????

    March 25, 2008 at 9:55 pm |
  27. Guadalupe

    Finally I'm happy to read a very well thought out article that actually addresses in very specific terms an important policy issue that affects our economy. McCain gave a fantastic speech today about this issue - the government should not be bailing out everybody - there are unscrupulous lenders and greedy borrowers who share the blame for many of the ills of the subprime mess - there were many borrowers who did all the right things - saved for a downpayment, improved their credit, and didn't buy more house than they could afford. As taxpayers, why should the people who played by the rules be paying for those that made poor decisions? As Leslie eloquently explains, Hillary just doesn't get it that there isn't a government solution to every problem, throwing money at it and rehashing already existing working groups and ideas and packaging them as her own isn't the kind of leadership we want or need.

    March 25, 2008 at 9:34 pm |
  28. Annie Kate

    It seems like to me that the supporters of the candidates do more sniping at each other than the candidates themselves. This election is suppose to bring us together folks – not tear us apart.

    If Hilliary and Obama need new issues why don't they talk about the violence in the middle east this past weekend that raised our death toll to 4,000? What about helping young and old graduates with crippling student loans as they try to start their careers and get a piece of the American dream? For West Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky why don't they educate themselves on the destructive practice of mountain top removal strip mining that destroys some of the oldest mountains in the country to get at just 3% of our coal supply but ruins everyone's life and what little property they have in the vicinity and pollutes their water? Hilliary was asked about this and didn't have an answer. What about fixing the US Fish and Wildlife agency back to where you can get species that are endangered on the list – the Washington Post reported on how the Bush administration has made this almost impossible to do.

    There are plenty of issues out here – pick one or two. We have all sorts of issues to resolve – large and small. There is still a lot to talk about – lets stop sniping and get started.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    March 25, 2008 at 9:16 pm |
  29. bond/ TX

    BILLARY IS A BOLD FACED LIAR! I wish someone in the media would call her what she is instead of tiptoeing around saying "misspoke" and "mistake." Its what the Clintons do best. Now she has Chelsea lying for her as well.

    March 25, 2008 at 9:10 pm |
  30. Tracy

    What happened to objective reporting? Hillary Clinton is a talented, smart woman with a great deal of experience. Obama lacks experience and worse he belongs to church that is clearly racist. Of course that is old news to you folks with barely a word about the new pastor's Easter sermon. I am leaving the Democratic party after 30 years of voting if Obama is the nominee and for the first time in my life I will vote Republican.

    March 25, 2008 at 9:10 pm |
  31. Nat S.

    This really is a disgusting hatchet piece. I can only assume that it was posted to elicit responses.

    Hillary Clinton doesn't have a lot going for her? The "hat trick" is harder to replicate in the Keystone State? She's winning PA in double digits!

    Leslie Sanchez is a Bush shill.

    The media bias is disgusting and CNN is no exception.

    March 25, 2008 at 9:09 pm |
  32. an observer

    Obama released his tax returns today. When will Clinton release hers. Can someone tell me who Peter Paul is ?

    March 25, 2008 at 8:55 pm |
  33. spencer

    You people in the media are at it again(bias). Forgive Obama everything, forgive Hillary nothing, I say bull. You need to be fair with all the candidates if your going to be fair with one. Everyone, including the media misspeaks every so often. Give it a rest already. You in the media are making me angry not the candidates. Stop the bull already. Start reporting the stuff that matters. As for the Obama campaign they are to race sensitive. Grow up already and get on with it.

    March 25, 2008 at 8:33 pm |
1 2