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Mortgage Woes on Table in Texas, Obama Finds

By Jonathan Weisman
SAN ANTONIO -- Perhaps, as he said, it was because his voice wasn't used to the warmer weather. Perhaps it was the withering criticism he has been absorbing for a campaign his detractors charge is long on inspiration and short on substance.

Sen. Barack Obama came here sober, soft-spoken and ready to discuss the intricacies of the nation's burgeoning credit crisis -- and his prescriptions to fight it.

"That's an outage," he said of the subprime lending crunch, reading from notes and speaking at first from a podium. "And it's time we had a president who sees it's an outrage."

Obama and his rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, have similar proposals for solving the credit crunch. Both want to force more transparency in lending, mandating that banks be clearer in the rates they charge. Both say banks must warn lenders of changes in rates, and both would forbid lenders to change rates on past transactions.

Clinton has, in fact, been more aggressive, proposing a temporary freeze on mortgage rates. Obama homed in on that, saying that the proposal might be well-intentioned, but that it would prompt banks to send refinanced mortages and new home mortgages "through the roof."

"We shouldn't be doing things that hurt honest people," he said.

But it was his guests at a roundtable discussion that provided all the emotion. Teresa Molina, a foster parent with 2-year-old twins who are legally blind, told of her nightmare: a low teaser rate that offered her family mortgage payments of $400 a month that lasted just two weeks, sending her payments to nearly $800; attempts at foreclosure assistance that cost her $800 in fees but yielded no aid; an 11th-hour bailout that cost an additional $3,000; and payments that now stand at $900 a month.

"I was on the verge of packing," she said. "We didn't know where we would go, but we'd go together."

As she choked up, Obama remained subdued, offering up a quiet indictment of the mortgage industry and the $185 million he said it has spent on lobbying in recent years, but steering clear of Clinton and their increasingly bitter contest.

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 19, 2008; 2:51 PM ET
 
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Next: Clyburn Pooh-Poohs the Power of the Superdelegates

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Obama is a FRAUD!

Posted by: ermias.kifle | February 19, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

If this is all about democracy, no matter how the Clintons and their surrogates try to characterize Obamas success, it is upto the majority of the American people to decide who is going to be the next president. If he loses because the majority didn't vote for him, that is fine, but we don't let the select few to play the usual tricks to keep the white house in their family as if the state is run by monarchy. Go Obama!

Posted by: firdu.bati | February 19, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Cleocat, you post the same anti-Obama blah-de-blah on every website you visit. You must sit and refresh your news page constantly to see where new Obama stories are posted so you can immediately insert your irrational, off-topic, nothing of a comment. Why not try visting barackobama.com/issues to see that there is so much more behind the candidate that so many of us are supporting than just "change." Just a thought...

Posted by: ncash | February 19, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, cleocat, that was insightful! Thanks for the update!

Posted by: squintz | February 19, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Their different approaches are why I support Obama over Clinton.

Quite honestly, I'm concerned Clinton will destroy the whole forest in her well-intentioned efforts to save a few trees.

Teresa Molina clearly appears to be a victim, but her problem won't be solved by Clinton's misguided freeze efforts.

I want a serious President guided in economics by a serious economist. imo that would be Obama and his chief economic advisor Austan Goolsbee.

What concerns me is so much attention is paid to campaign staff, and so little to the advisors. I know lots of people think 'the dismal science' is well named, but it's important.

Posted by: TomJx | February 19, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Blah blah ...hope.. blah blah.. change.. blah blah.. hope and change..blah

NOBAMA

Posted by: cleocat | February 19, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Woops, I said above, "...hiding variable rates should be a must..."

Should read, "... it should NOT be allowed to hide variable rates..."

I apologize. Back to your regularly scheduled programs... (Breaking News just in- Oil leaps to $100 barrel in surge at close. That just came across the wire.)

Posted by: davidmwe | February 19, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

It is an outrage, yet the problem is two, perhaps even three-fold. Indeed hiding variable rates should be a must, yet it is the core of the monetary system that is in crisis, coupled with high oil.

Ron Paul is the only candidate that I have seen that is talking straight on this issue and the economy in general:

Ron Paul & Economics - Saving the Economy; Saving America:
http://ronpaul.myfeedportal.com/viewarticle.php?articleid=37

Patches and fixes are great, but we need a cure. Can Barack provide that?

Posted by: davidmwe | February 19, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

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