Nevada Governor Rebukes Mitt Romney’s Call For Speedy Foreclosures: He Doesn’t ‘Fully Understand What’s Going On’

ThinkProgress filed this report from the Western Republican Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-NV)

In an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal, presidential candidate and former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) said he believes that the government doesn’t have a right to “try and stop the foreclosure process.“ Romney, apparently ambivalent about widespread fraudulent foreclosures and the robo-signing scandal, seemed to be echoing Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, who made similar comments earlier this month.

At an event at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-NV) — who oversees the state that has led the nation in foreclosures for years — rebuked Romney’s comments. Romney “didn’t fully understand what was going on in the state of Nevada,” Sandoval said, before adding that the government should require programs like mandatory mediation to ensure a fair foreclosure process:

REPORTER: Gov. Romney said the other day that he thinks the government shouldn’t interfere with people getting foreclosed upon. What is your opinion of that?

SANDOVAL: Well we have a different process in the state of Nevada. We have a model program, and it’s a program that requires mediation between the homeowners and the financial institution. That system has been working very, very well and I want to continue to encourage that.

REPORTER: Do you think Gov. Romney was wrong to say that?

SANDOVAL: Well, I think he didn’t fully understand what was going on in the state of Nevada in this process that we have. […] That’s part of the debate. And I look forward to hearing each of the candidates, talking about what their solutions are going to be. But I’m proud of the system we set up in Nevada.

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Asked about what the federal government should do about the mortgage crisis, Sandoval said, “Well, I think they should look at Nevada.” The first-term governor encouraged Republican candidates to put forward ideas on how to deal with the foreclosure issue, and said he hopes to hear their ideas in the coming weeks. But Sandoval made clear that Nevada’s model works the best.

Sandoval is right that Nevada has a model program. ThinkProgress’ Pat Garofalo, writing for the Nation, outlined the idea of mandatory mediation between borrowers and banks as a way to find “an alternate arrangement before putting the borrower’s home into foreclosure.” The low-cost idea has worked in Philadelphia and other areas where it has been tried.