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Clinton Talks on Mortgage Woes to Wall St.

Clinton addressing the foreclosure crisis at NASDAQ in Times Square.(Bloomberg).

In an act of striking synchronicity, two leading Democratic candidates introduced proposals to help stem the national mortgage crisis just as President Bush prepared to unveil his own program this week.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Wall Street on Wednesday to speak to business leaders and deliver what her advisers described as a major policy address. She also appeared on the business network CNBC for an extended interview about her economic viewpoint with anchor Maria Bartiromo.

Clinton described a litany of economic worries plaguing Americans far from lower Manhattan -- including rising gas prices, stagnant wages and, most significantly, the housing crisis that she said risks forcing people out of their homes.

Clinton said "these economic problems are certainly not all Wall Street's fault -- not by a long shot."

"But the reality of our interconnected economy is that what happens on Wall Street impacts main streets across America," Clinton said. "If we're honest, we need to acknowledge that Wall Street has played a significant role in the current problems," she said, citing a flawed bond rating system and irresponsible lending practices as among the industry's contributions.

"Wall Street helped create the foreclosure crisis, and Wall Street needs to help solve it," Clinton said in her speech. She proposed suspending any changes on subprime loans -- often made to borrowers with weak credit -- for five years to avoid new foreclosures caused by adjustable rate mortgages.

In a similar move, but one his aides said is more sweeping, former Sen. John Edwards proposed requiring lenders to help homeowners who have fallen behind on mortgage payments, either by changing adjustable-rate mortgages to fixed-rate ones, lowering interest rates or another method. "Dangerous mortgages have put millions of families in jeopardy of losing their homes," Edwards said in a statement. "It's time for Washington to stop taking care of banks and their lobbyists and act decisively to help regular families."

With a month until the Iowa caucuses, Clinton took valuable time away from campaigning in early primary states to make her address; her advisers, however, said it is a message that they expect to resonate among middle-class workers in the early states and help bolster her image as a strong, experienced leader. She campaigns in New Hampshire on Thursday, and back in Iowa on Friday and Saturday.

--Anne E. Kornblut

By Washington Post editors  |  December 5, 2007; 7:06 PM ET
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Why did Hillary wait this long to talk about the mortgage crisis. News aboutthe crisis started surfacing months ago. She waited until the White House made some suggestions. She is not a leader. She is just a follower. She probably did a poll to figure out whether she should even address the issue. All Hillary is about is attack, attack, attack. She wants to be known as the person who can attack the republicans. I don't want a president whos main goal of getting into the white house is to attack half the population of USA. Hillary does not get my vote.

Posted by: janetwombat | December 7, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey friends... Senator Obama spoke the painful truth to Wall Street on SEPTEMBER 17th... a number of months prior to S. Clinton... She didn't want to risk any big CONTRIBUTIONS from her Wall Street buddies so she waited till the very last moment to make a weak speech... she panders and she follows... no leadership from her...

Obama hits Wall Street in Times Square

By: Mike Allen
Sep 17, 2007 08:30 AM EST

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) went to the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square this morning to call for greater openness and transparency on Wall Street - an approach that echoed his choice of Detroit for a speech in May taking on auto companies.

Pointing to the bundles of subprime mortgages that received rosy ratings and later experienced a high rate of defaults, the Democratic presidential candidate called for "an immediate investigation of the relationship and business practices of rating agencies and their clients."

"The failure of government to exercise adequate oversight over the rating agencies will cost investors and public pension funds billions of dollars - losses we have not yet fully recognized," he said in prepared remarks. "If the public comes to view this like the accounting analyses of Enron, the markets will be ravished by a crisis in confidence. ... We must take steps to avoid that at all costs."

Obama was scheduled to speak at the corner of 43rd Street and Broadway to a networking group called the Executive Council, which includes senior executives, board members and capital markets professionals.

"I know some may say it's anathema to come to Wall Street and call for shared sacrifice so that all Americans can benefit from this new economy of ours," his remarks said. "But I believe that all of you are as open and willing to listen as anyone else in America. I believe you care about this country and the future we are leaving to the next generation. I believe your work to be a part of building a stronger, more vibrant, and more just America. I think the problem is that no one has asked you to play a part in the project of American renewal."

Obama's text said he'll be laying out a three-part economic agenda in coming weeks:

--On Tuesday morning in Washington, he'll talk about tax fairness, and release what he calls "a plan to modernize and simplify our tax code so that it provides greater opportunity and more relief to more Americans."

"For far too long, our tax code has been so riddled with special-interest loopholes and giveaways that it's shifted the tax burden to small businesses and middle-class Americans," he said.

--Next will come steps that he says will "ensure America's competitive edge in the 21st century."

"This starts with providing every American with a world-class education from cradle to adulthood," he said. "China is already graduating four times as many engineers as we do and that our share of twenty-four-year-olds with college degrees now falls somewhere between Bulgaria and Costa Rica."

--Finally, he will offer what he calls a plan "to modernize and strengthen America's safety net for working Americans."

"Like all of you, I believe in free trade," he said. "But we have to acknowledge that for millions of Americans, its burdens outweigh its benefits. ... I believe we all have a stake in embracing policies that will provide them with a sense of security. That means health insurance and a pension that they can always count on. That means skills and training that can actually help people find a job. And that means wages that actually make work pay."

Posted by: Big_Blue | December 7, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

"With a month until the Iowa caucuses, Clinton took valuable time away from campaigning in early primary states to make her address; her advisers, however, said it is a message that they expect to resonate among middle-class workers in the early states and help bolster her image as a strong, experienced leader."

Seriously, I think Anne has some sort of compulsive disorder. Someone has got to look into Anne's Junior High record and find out what Hillary did to her because no adult interaction could engender such unreasoned Heather-itude.

Posted by: zukermand | December 6, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Good report.Clinton needs to get back into a policy debate instead of an attack role with her opponents. Voters would benefit from a debate that solely focuses on economic issues, a la the most recent NPR radio debate.

Posted by: rdklingus | December 6, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Do you believe the foreclosure aid from the government is justified?


Posted by: jeffboste | December 6, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

At issue is the fact that banks do not own the at risk mortgages. Foreign investors and pension funds own the mortgages. The White House proposal is a joke. And the joke is on our pension funds. Once again, the working class gets stuck with the tab... Thank you GW Bush...

Posted by: frank | December 6, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Hillary has to DEFEND herself from these attacks; otherwise voters might believe that obama crap!
just wait, obama will come out in the next day or with a proposal very close to Clintons, he cannot come up with anything on his own. He doesn't know politics yet... Also can someone explain what's wrong with Oprah? How can her support not be based on Race... And she is one of the out spoken personalities who was against race and gender biased, it's what helped propel her to the wealth she has today, what a true shame is now her True colors have shown and I think it will effect her viewers in time. Wise up daytime woman viewers...Id never watch or support anything Oprah has a hand in ever again...

Posted by: dyck21005 | December 6, 2007 7:11 AM | Report abuse

One other comment. If both Clinton & Edwards made proposals why does your headline only mention Clinton?

Posted by: pmorlan1 | December 5, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Anne, I've read articles in other newspapers where they state that the Edwards plan IS more sweeping. Is it? You don't let the readers know much in your article, why not?

Posted by: pmorlan1 | December 5, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse


We need to throw money here, throw money there!

That George W Bush! Just can't control spending!

Last I checked, the President can't spend a dime!

Yeah Billary, we are suffering MAJOR Wage Stagnation/ Recession-Wanna guess WHY?

Posted by: rat-the | December 5, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

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