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GOP2012: Republican debate, January 19th, 2012
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Fact Check

Romney Will “Say Anything” on Housing

January 26, 2012 at 8:53 pm


Romney will do or say anything to get elected. While criticizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for their role in the housing crisis and slamming Newt Gingrich for his work for them, Romney’s investments and past actions are odds with this harsh rhetoric. For years, Romney has held investments in both Fannie and Freddie and profited off of the very actions he is now condemning. He even served as a “distinguished panelist” at a Fannie Mae forum.

Coming from a candidate who has offered no tangible housing plan except for letting the housing market “hit bottom” and who has expressed more sympathy for big banks than homeowners facing foreclosure, telling Florida homeowners this week that banks are feeling what they are feeling, this hypocrisy shows that Mitt Romney cannot be trusted to stand up for Florida homeowners.



Romney To Florida Residents Concerned About Housing: “Now The Banks Aren’t Bad People, They’re Just Overwhelmed Right Now.” [Romney Event, Lehigh Acres FL, 1/24/12]

Romney Told Florida Residents Concerned About Losing Their Homes: “Banks Are Scared To Death Of Course… So They’re Feeling The Same Thing That You’re Feeling.” Romney told Florida residents: “Well the banks are scared to death, of course, because they think that they’re going to go out of business. They’re afraid that if they write all these loans off that they’re going to go broke. So they’re feeling the same thing that you’re feeling, so they just want to pretend like all this is going to get paid so they don’t have to write it off and potentially go out of business themselves.” [Romney Roundtable, Tampa FL, 1/23/12]



Romney: “Don’t Try To Stop The Foreclosure Process. Let It Run Its Course And Hit The Bottom.” Romney: “As to what to do for the housing industry specifically and are their things that you can do to encourage housing. One is, don’t try to stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom. Allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up. The Obama administration has slow walked the foreclosure process [inaudible] that has long existed and as a result we still have a foreclosure overhang.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/17/11]

·         “Mitt Romney Came To The State With The Highest Foreclosure Rate In The Nation And Said He Wants To Allow Home Foreclosures To ‘Hit The Bottom’ To Help The Housing Industry Recover.” [Christian Science Monitor, 10/20/11]



Romney Blamed The Housing Crisis On Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac. Romney: “And the reason we have the housing crises we have is that the federal government played too heavy a role in our markets. The federal government came in with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and Barney Frank and Chris Dodd told banks they had to give loans to people who couldn't afford to pay them back.” [CNBC Debate, 11/9/11]

Romney: “What Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Were Doing Was Simply Unsustainable And Dangerous To The Economy.” [Romney Roundtable, Salem NH, 6/27/11 (Video)]




Headline: “Romney Was 'Distinguished Panelist' At Fannie Mae Conference” [CNN, 1/25/12]

2004: Romney Was A “Distinguished Panelist” At A Housing Conference Sponsored By The Fannie Mae Foundation. “But Romney was not always so hostile to Fannie Mae. In fact, he agreed to be a ‘distinguished panelist’ at a housing conference sponsored by the Fannie Mae Foundation in 2004. That was before the mortgage slump began, and Fannie and Freddie did not begin dabbling aggressively in risky home loans until 2005 and 2006. But Romney's appearance came right as the subprime lending boom was taking off.” [CNN, 1/25/12]

·         According To A Fannie Mae Foundation Brochure, Romney Talked About The Need To Expand Access To Affordable Housing At The 2004 Fannie Mae Conference. “According to a brochure released by the Fannie Mae Foundation recapping the event, Romney, then the governor of Massachusetts, spoke alongside former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and offered ‘a gubernatorial perspective’ on homeownership. Romney, the brochure summarized, outlined his economic development goals in Massachusetts and talked about the need to expand access to affordable housing.” [CNN, 1/25/12]


One Of Romney’s Top Economic Policy Advisers, Vin Weber “Spent Years Lobbying” For And Had Close Ties With Freddie Mac. “One of Romney’s top economic policy advisers, Vin Weber (whom Politico described as a ‘former Minnesota congressman and certified member of the D.C. power elite), spent years lobbying for the group. According to the AP, in 2006 alone, Webber’s lobbying firm (Clark and Weinstock) was paid $360,297 by Freddie. And according to the AP, Weber made no bones about his close ties to the failed mortgage giant: ‘I personally met with the CEO several times and with Hollis and his team regularly,’ Weber said in the e-mail. ‘Clark and Weinstock worked effectively and intensely for Freddie Mac under Dick Syron [Freddie Mac's then-chairman and chief executive] and [Senior Vice President] Hollis McLoughlin.’” [Daily Caller, 1/25/12] 

Romney Surrogate And Adviser Susan Molinari Was One Of The Former GOP Lawmakers Paid Quite Handsomely By Freddie Mac To Help Stop “Any Meaningful Regulation In The Years Before The Housing Mortgage Giant Crashed.” “Mitt Romney’s campaign is attacking Newt Gingrich as an ‘influence peddler.’ But it turns out that some of Romney’s closest advisers (or the firms they lobbied for) were paid hundreds of thousands — maybe millions — of dollars on behalf of failed mortgage giant Freddie Mac. The Romney campaign did not respond to requests for comment. According to the AP, former Rep. Susan Molinari — a top Romney surrogate and adviser (watch her attacking Gingrich in this video) — was one of the former GOP lawmakers paid quite handsomely to help stop ‘any meaningful regulation in the years before the housing mortgage giant crashed …’” [Daily Caller, 1/25/12]

·         Former Congresswoman Susan Molinari Was Paid $300,000 TO Lobby For Freddie Mac. “Internal Freddie Mac budget records show $11.7 million was paid to 52 outside lobbyists and consultants in 2006. Power brokers such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were recruited with six-figure contracts. Freddie Mac paid the following amounts to the firms of former Republican lawmakers or ex-GOP staffers in 2006:… Rep. Susan Molinari of New York, at Washington Group, $300,062.” [Associated Press, 12/8/08]



Romney’s Reported Owning Between $250,000 And $500,000 In A Mutual Fund That Invests In Debt Notes Of Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac – Unlike Like Many Of Romney’s Holdings It Was Not Though A Blind Trust. The Boston Globe wrote of Romney’s personal investments: “On his financial disclosure statement filed last month, Romney reported owning between $250,001 and $500,000 in a mutual fund that invests in debt notes of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, among other government entities. Over the previous year, he had reported earning between $15,001 and $50,000 in interest from those investments. And unlike most of Romney’s financial holdings, which are held in a blind trust that is overseen by a trustee and not known to Romney, this particular investment was among those that would have been known to Romney.” [Boston Globe, 9/19/11]

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