Romney rejects foreclosure relief

The vast majority of the time, Mitt Romney is a strikingly smooth candidate. After nearly six years of running for the presidency, practically non-stop, the guy is effectively a professional candidate — he’s always on message; he’s prepared for every question; and he has his stump speech down so well, he could probably recite it backwards.

Once in a while, though, he’ll accidentally say what he’s thinking, and in the process, give his rivals valuable campaign ammunition.

Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney suggested he doesn’t support foreclosure relief for the millions of Americans struggling with underwater mortgages, untold numbers of which have been the victims of fraudulent lending or foreclosure practices.

In a filmed interview with the editorial board of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a newspaper serving the hardest-hit foreclosure state in the union, Romney criticized President Barack Obama for not foreclosing on American families fast enough.

“Don’t try to stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom,” Romney said when asked what he would do to jump-start the floundering housing market.

The video of the comments is online here.

This probably isn’t a position that will hurt Romney in the Republican primaries, but if he’s looking ahead to the general election, it won’t help the GOP ticket if the nominee is the pro-foreclosure candidate. The number of voters hostile towards underwater homeowners and foreclosed-upon families is probably pretty small.

As Zach Carter noted, this is especially true given that so many banks have been engaged in outrageous practices, including foreclosing on homes without any authority to do so, and in some cases, approving thousands of foreclosure filings without even validating the claims.

Not surprisingly, it didn’t take long for the Obama campaign to weigh in.

“Mitt Romney’s message to Nevada homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage bills is simple: you’re on your own, so step aside,” Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said in a written statement. “Instead of offering an opportunity, like President Obama has, for responsible homeowners who were scammed by their lender or trapped by falling housing prices to refinance, Governor Romney believes we should instead let the foreclosure process ‘run its course and hit the bottom’ so that investors can come in and make a quick buck after families lose their homes.”

There’s also the larger context to consider. Romney — who pays a lower tax rate than working-class families, despite being a multi-millionaire — is also running on a platform of higher middle-class taxes, more massive tax breaks for the wealthy, and allowing Wall Street to do whatever it wants.

And now Romney thinks policymakers should stop trying to stop the foreclosure process? If the Obama campaign’s goal is to make the Republican frontrunner look like an enemy to the middle class, Romney is making the Dems’ job easier.