Romney himself remains haunted by a statement he made to the Las Vegas Review-Journal last fall, when he said the best housing policy was to let foreclosures "hit bottom." In campaign appearances, Obama routinely tweaks his Republican opponent over the line, and his surrogates bash the Republican candidate for owning three homes and not sympathizing with regular homeowners.
Analysts think the silence is telling. "They don't have any ideas they could sell in Washington," Brown said.
Gabriel added that the candidates' few statements on the issue show they have similar intentions. The unspoken housing issue for the next four years is how to deal with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which now have an outsized role in underwriting mortgages because of damage from the housing collapse. It's a knotty problem that can't easily be discussed in campaign-sized sound bites.
"It's doubtful the candidates have different positions on this," Gabriel said of housing. "It's just not easy to do big, radical things here."
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