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Democrats are hoping to save endangered incumbents by getting a national, pre-election foreclosure freeze.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats are considering ways to stop all national foreclosures because of what they believe to have been insufficient care that went into deciding the borrowers on whom to foreclose.
And with new unemployment numbers due out today that are expected to show the economy still sputtering and millions still out of work, Democrats are desperate to show they care.
Plus, President Obama's programs to slow foreclosures had little effect. Even those borrowers who got into a federal refinancing program that paid banks to participate usually ended up defaulting again anyway because the underlying financial difficulty had not been resolved.
And, of the approximately 2.5 million homes in foreclosure right now, many are in California, Nevada and other states where Democratic incumbents are facing surprisingly tough challenges.One former Democratic leadership aide who now lobbies for the financial industry said that Democrats are unlikely to be able to get any kind of official foreclosure freeze, but believes they can successfully pressure lenders to voluntarily suspend foreclosures for a few weeks.
"This is about PR and elections," he said.Congressional Democrats and Democratic attorneys general are examining ways to actually freeze home foreclosures owing to "rubber stamp" signatories who were signing dozens of foreclosure letters a day.
States lending laws require that an actual person sign each notice of foreclosure, and Democrats decry the practice of having professional signers at big mortgage companies
Computer software determines which borrowers are far enough behind and have homes still worth enough to take to determine and then a designated person signs the documents before they go in the mail.
While Democrats have highlighted sad stories about erroneous foreclosure notices, generally the complaints center on the fact that neither sympathy nor discernment was brought to bear on the process. Democrats are calling for Bailey's Savings and Loan practices, not those of Mr. Potter's bank.So far, many of the biggest lenders - Bank of America, Ally and more -- have stopped issuing foreclosure notices for an unspecified period of time while they review their procedures.
Banks don't seem to mind going along with Democratic demands. It's good PR for the companies, and industry analysts say it does little to hurt their bottom lines.
Many lenders had already slowed foreclosures to a trickle. By leaving defaulted lenders in homes, it saves banks from dealing with upkeep and also prevents the kind of foreclosure clusters that can cause prices to crash in neighborhood, leading possibly to short sales, more foreclosures and more lost revenue for banks.
So, the Democratic aim of showing solidarity with the foreclosed upon may have little real effect in places like Harry Reid's Nevada, where ghost town developments haunt outer suburbs and in other neighborhoods, defaulted borrowers live in lender limbo in Houses that they can't sell and can never pay off.
The gambit comes with a downside too. For the 97 percent of borrowers who are current on their home loans, the move to freeze foreclosures may seem unfair.
Thanks to Today's Power Play Crew: Kimberly Schwandt, April Girouard, James Sprankle, Gretchen Gailey, L.A. Holmes, Molly Mathews and Jason Donner
The Day in Quotes
Now, when unemployment is still at 9.5, 9.6 percent, that gives an enormous advantage to whoever is not in power."
-- President Obama analyzes his party's problems (and offers an optimistic number for unemployment rates) at a fundraiser in New Jersey Wednesday night.
"I've been running the country, or at least helping to run it. I've been busy and I got out here just as quick as I could."
-- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) explaining to The Washington Examiner his absence from the campaign trail in his home state."I'd have to lie down! I'm telling you; it would be a remarkable experience."
-- Dan Cronin, chairman of the DuPage County (Ill.) Republicans, describing the prospect of Republicans retaking President Obama's Senate seat, as quoted by the New York Times.
"It is important what kind of Republicans you elect -- just any old Republicans may not do."-- Senate candidate Rand Paul (R-KY) to FOX News colleague Neil Cavuto.
"What they've done is essentially created a monster."
-- Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean on MSNBC talking about Republicans and the Tea Party movement.
"If you like Obamacare, if you like the stimulus plan, you can vote for Charlie Crist or Kendrick Meek. I'm probably not your candidate."
-- Republican Marco Rubio in a Florida Senate debate.
"You haven't been drinking the Kool-Aid, my friend, you've been drinking too much tea."
-- Independent Charlie Crist to Republican Marco Rubio in a Florida Senate debate.
"You want to take us back to Dick Cheney days."-- Democrat Kendrick Meek to Republican Marco Rubio in a Florida Senate debate.
"The man who complained on the night of his election about the ‘pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long' is complicit as candidate after candidate in his party adds arsenic to the nation's political well."
-- Karl Rove in a Wall Street Journal column about President Obama's political attacks.
"When do you see a guy who's gonna be in Congress, crawling on his hands and knees, spraying? This is a guy that knows what work is."-- Jeff Brincat, a campaign for Republican Bob Dold's campaign for an open House seat in suburban Chicago, quoted by the Wall Street Journal discussing a visit to his home by Dold, a professional exterminator, to treat for pests."Obama has never invited me to the Oval Office,
yet we're supposed to be joined at the hip."-- Gov. Joe Manchin (D-WV) expressing frustration to the New York Times while pointing to a picture of himself in the Oval Office with then-president George W. Bush.
"I've been there when you have all the money in the world and you just can't stop the slide."
-- Republican strategist Carl Forti, quoted by Roll Call, expressing empathy, but not sympathy, for Democrats at an annual "Foley Friday" gathering of National Republican Campaign Committee veterans, held on the Friday closest to Sept. 29, the date in 2006 on which former Florida Rep. Mark Foley resigned in disgrace after sending sexual emails to male House pages.
"No state thinks it has a problem ... until there's a close race, and you have to open the hood and peer inside."
-- Ben Ginsburg, counsel to George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, quoted by the AP predicting possible problems with election night tallies in tight Senate races.
"It is the biggest bang for the buck when you do food stamps and unemployment insurance -- the biggest bang for the buck,"
-- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a press conference defending against a claim by former Speaker Newt Gingrich that Democrats are the "party of food stamps" while Republicans are the "party of paychecks."
Obama's Day - Chi Town Bound
In the afternoon, President Obama will head to nearby Bowie, Md. to hold his first campaign rally for a candidate this year - an event for Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.
Tonight, Obama will appear at two fundraisers for Illinois Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias in Chicago. Giannoulias is running slightly behind Republican Mark Kirk in the race for Obama's former Senate seat, which prosecutors claim former Gov. Rod Blagojevich tried to auction off after Obama's election to the presidency.
The president is providing so much help to his basketball buddy Giannoulias, the state treasurer who has been bound up in the failure of his family's mob-tied bank, not just for the symbolic significance of protecting the president's former seat. Illinois is part of the firewall of Democratic-leaning states with which the president and his team hope to preserve a Senate majority.
The first lady will hold a fundraiser for Giannoulias next week in Chicago.
Vice President Biden will hold a fundraiser for Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett in Madison and then head to Springfield, Mo. to raise money for Senate candidate Robin Carnahan.
Trail Riders - NRCC is All In; Miller-Palin Patch Up; Nevada Tea Party on Ballot; Rubio Rakes it In
NRCC Goes All In
The National Republican Campaign Committee is making arrangements for a loan of at least $6.5 million to beef up the organization's final push for Democratic-held House seats. The committee is planning to spend more than $45 million on its election strategy.
There Must Be Some Misunderstanding...
Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller and the Palin family, his political benefactors in the state's GOP primary, attributed an email "dust up" between Miller and Todd Palin as a "miscommunication."
Palin sent an angry email to Miller and a group of campaign advisers after Miller appeared on FOX News Sunday and dodged a question about Sarah Palin's qualifications to be president.
The email apparently went public because Palin sent his note to multiple recipients, including one that had an email address with "a similar domain name, unconnected with the Miller campaign" who leaked the testy message to a liberal blogger.
Palin and Miller both now say the rift is closed - Palin in a statement to the Weekly Standard and Miller in an interview with FOX News colleague Megyn Kelly on Wednesday.
In his interview with Megyn, though, Miller still declined to endorse Palin's wife.
Bubba to Hold D.C. Fundraiser for KratovilFormer President Bill Clinton will host a Washington fundraiser for endangered Maryland Rep. Rep. Frank Kratovil on Sunday. No word yet on other Clinton stops while he is back in Washington.
Well, They Probably Didn't Like Him EitherA radio spot intended to target abortion votes taken by Rep. John Salazar (D-CO) got the western Colorado Congressman mixed up with his brother Ken, a former Colorado senator who is now in president Obama's cabinet. The radio spot by Americans United for Life has since been taken down.
On Monday, Sen. Arlen Specter will appear at his first campaign event for Rep. Joe Sestak, the man who defeated him in the Democratic primary in May.Tea Will Be Served in Nevada
The Nevada Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that U.S. Senate candidate Scott Ashjian's name should stay on the November election ballot despite challenges to his qualifications.
The court ruled that it's too late to declare Ashjian unqualified because Nevada law requires ballots for people living outside the state to be prepared 40 days before the general election. The court says some ballots have already been printed and mailed.The decision offers hope to Harry Reid whose campaign is focused on limiting support for Tea Party-backed Republican Sharron Angle, allowing Reid to win with less than half of the votes.
Maes Won't Go in Colorado
After a meeting between Colorado Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes and third-party candidate Tom Tancredo, both candidates said they are staying in the race.
The two met Tuesday at Tancredo's request. Former Congressman Tancredo switched to the American Constitution Party after saying that Maes, who won his party's nomination after GOP primary frontrunner Scott McInnis was felled by a plagiarism scandal, couldn't defeat Democrat John Hickenlooper.
Recent polls have shown Tancredo in second place with Maes, stung by resume problems and a claim that a Denver environmental initiative was part of a U.N. plot, drawing less than 20 percent.
CNN/Time: Angle has 2-Point Edge on Reid
CNN/Time: Blunt Up 13 Over Carnahan in Missouri Senate
CNN/Time: Cuomo Leads Paladino by 14 for N.Y. Gov
Fairleigh-Dickenson: O'Donnell Trails Coons by 16 in Delaware Senate
Rubio's Cash Machine
Florida Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio is ahead in the polls and ahead in fundraising. He reports more than $5 million raised in July, August and September, the best in the nation. Independent Charlie Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek have not released their totals.
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Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C.