This past week, all three presidential candidates gave major speeches on housing and the economy. Hillary Clinton highlighted her extensive work on the subprime housing crisis and Barack Obama emphasized a modernization of the institutions that regulate the financial industry for the federal government. John McCain, in a widely panned speech, offered no new proposals on either subject. In late January, McCain told reporters, "Even if the economy is the, quote, No. 1 issue, the real issue will remain America's security
I am running because of the transcendental challenge of the 21st century, which is radical Islamic extremism."
Clinton and Obama's speeches, though they had slightly different focuses, underscore the difference between the Democrats and the sole Republican in terms of economic aptitude.
Both Clinton and Obama said that trouble on Wall Street eventually hurts Main Street, and vice versa. Both offered sympathy to families going through foreclosures and tough love for bankers and financial types who rode mortgage-backed securities to ruin. Obama was willing to say plainly "our economy is in a recession," while Clinton went only so far as to say "our economy is in serious trouble."
Clinton claimed that she's been on the subprime hunt for a while now, and she's right. In March 2007, she told the National Community Reinvestment Coalition that she wanted to expand and reinvigorate the Federal Housing Authority, so it could offer "more mortgages at better rates." She also called for "more counseling and information" for potential homeowners, so they could avoid high-interest loans. Shortly thereafter she introduced the 21st Century Housing Act, a bill which, if it were to become law, would use these proposals and others to address the subprime mortgage crisis.