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Romney Campaign Releases Housing Paper Amid Roundabout

With gaffes and down polls reportedly embroiling his campaign, Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Gov. ""Mitt Romney"":http://www.mittromney.com/forms/welcome-0 unveiled a housing white paper on Friday to reposition his message and salvage his campaign.

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The ""document"":http://www.mittromney.com/blogs/mitts-view/2012/09/securing-american-dream-and-future-housing-policy, titled ""Securing the American Dream and the Future of Housing,"" prescribes several conservative policy must-haves.

For starters, there's much ado about the return of private capital to the secondary mortgage market, devolution for ""Fannie Mae"":http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/index.html and ""Freddie Mac"":http://www.freddiemac.com/, and a strong emphasis on the 12 million jobs the Romney administration pledges to create, even while it skirts the details.

The paper shifts away from a hard-nosed look at the foreclosure crisis by waxing with concern about homeowners in distress, underscoring the fact that Floridian households account for the one in four delinquent mortgages across the country today.

Important passages sought to link the still-recovering housing market to a myriad of relief programs under the Obama administration.

""The weakness of the recovery has left many in America struggling to make ends meet, pay their bills, or stay current on their mortgage payments,"" the paper reads, complaining about more than 3 million delinquent households ""[d]espite an alphabet soup of federal housing assistance programs.""

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The white paper marks a shift in tone from past remarks about the foreclosure crisis, such as an interview with the _Las Vegas Review Journal_ in which he posited that foreclosures should ""run [their] course and hit the bottom.""

It also represents one in a slew of recent pivots by the Romney campaign as it attempts to steer clear of repeated gaffes on the campaign trail.

Political analysts chalked up the release of his tax records as a way for the Republican ticket to change the conversation about a ""secretly recorded video"":http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/18/mitt-romney-47-percent-full-video-_n_1893615.html that showed the former Massachusetts governor saying that ""47 percent of the people will vote for the president no matter what.

""And so my job is not to worry about those people,"" he adds in the video, which ""_Mother Jones_"":http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/full-transcript-mitt-romney-secret-video received from an anonymous attendee at one of the candidate's earlier fundraising functions.

In past interviews with _MReport_, seasoned politicos dismissed any promise of serious housing policy reform from either of the major party candidates.

""Lawrence J. White"":http://people.stern.nyu.edu/lwhite/, a professor of economics at New York University's Stern School of Business and a past member of the now-defunct Federal Home Loan Bank Board, told us back in May that it will likely take an ""independent political appointee"" with the elbow-room needed to deal with bigger-than-life issues like government sponsorship for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

""It's easy to say Fannie and Freddie are mistakes and let's get rid of them - that's campaign material and there's broad consensus there,"" he told us. ""The difficulty is: What replaces them?""

In the video, Romney himself seems to dismiss white papers like the one on housing policy.

Responding to an audience member, he says that ""[w]e have a website that lays out white papers on a whole serious of issues,"" adding, ""I don't think this will have a significant impact on my electability.""

*Do you think either Obama or Romney will tackle serious housing finance reform?* Give us your two cents in an email to editor@themreport.com for a chance to appear in the next issue of our monthly magazine.

About Author: Ryan Schuette

Ryan Schuette is a journalist, cartoonist, and social entrepreneur with several years of experience in real-estate news, international reporting, and business management. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where he freelances for DS News and MReport.
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