The Democrats and the Republicans are engaged in a smackdown over who is responsible for the devastated housing sector and who has the solutions to spur a recovery. Both sides agree that the housing issue will be one of the most important themes in next year's election, so the jockeying this week offers a preview of the attacks that voters can expect in 2012.
The Democratic National Committee is running a TV ad in Arizona, where the foreclosure rate is extremely high, blasting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for taking a hands-off attitude on foreclosures. Romney, considered by many the GOP frontrunner, wants to allow the market to improve on its own.
But the ad takes a very negative twist to make the former Massachusetts governor look heartless and aloof. It focuses on Romney's recent comment to the Las Vegas Review-Journal's editorial board: "Don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom." The narrator of the DNC ad says Romney's message is, "You're on your own."
Romney supporters say the Democrats are using the ad to divert attention from the administration's disastrous economic policies.
Meanwhile, President Obama is promoting a new plan to help homeowners refinance their loans and hold onto their residences. His political goal is to contrast his advocacy of federal action with the GOP's eagerness to reduce the role of government.