With Debate Venue Shifting To Nevada, Will The GOP Finally Address Housing?

In early September, Mitt Romney released his economic plan in Nevada — which has one of the worst foreclosure rates in the nation — without mentioning the housing crisis. And he’s far from alone in the GOP field in ignoring the effect that continued foreclosure is having on the economy. Tomorrow, the latest GOP primary debate will take place in Nevada, giving the whole field a golden opportunity to talk about a subject that, as the Las Vegas Sun noted, none of the candidates have bothered to broach:

When the Republican presidential field debated economic policy in New Hampshire last week, the word “foreclosure” was uttered once. One time.

And that lone mention by former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman accompanied no prescription for the crisis that has reached epidemic proportions in Nevada and that economists agree is among the biggest drags on the economy. Rather, Huntsman mentioned it in a description of the pain felt by Americans.

That’s unlikely to change when the GOP presidential candidates debate Tuesday in Las Vegas, a city ravaged by the bursting of the housing bubble. Republicans running for president have referred to foreclosures as an ugly symptom of the economic recession but offered no remedy.

The one Republican candidate who even bothered to mention foreclosures at last week’s debate — former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman — won’t even be on stage tomorrow, as he is boycotting the debate due to Nevada’s decision to move up the date of its primary.


The GOP field, most prominently Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN) and Newt Gingrich, continues to cling to the thoroughly debunked notion that it was government housing policy that led to the financial crisis. Romney likes to slam Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while profiting from his investments in the two government-backed mortgage giants. And Gov. Rick Perry (TX) gave millions of taxpayer dollars to subprime lenders, lauding their job-creation abilities.

Will being on the ground at the epicenter of the housing crisis entice the GOP to actually address foreclosures in a meaningful way? Or will they continue to ignore the very real weight housing is laying on the economyt?