WASHINGTON — Daily Show comedian and anchor Jon Stewart has finally succeeded where others failed.
Following two presidential debates where the subject just did not come up, Stewart was able to get President Obama talking about the housing crisis during Thursday night's episode.
A comprehensive discussion about how to turn around the sagging mortgage market, which is still contending with millions of underwater borrowers, has been largely missing from the contest between Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney. But in an albeit brief exchange with Stewart, Obama started talking about mortgages as part of a discussion about how Congress could help get the economy moving faster.
"Right now we could make sure that families whose homes are underwater … if they refinance they typically get 3,000 bucks in their pockets a year. That's $3,000 they're spending or $3,000 that they're putting back into the equity of their home. The housing market would be helped, employment would be helped. Even Gov. Romney's own advisor says this is a good idea and yet Gov. Romney opposes it," Obama said.
But Obama sidestepped a follow-up question from Stewart, who asked whether it was true that the administration has only spent about $5 billion of the $50 billion set aside to spur mortgage modifications.
"Actually, what's happened is we've got 5 million homes that we have already seen foreclosures prevented on, and a settlement with the banks that provides another $25 billion to help the housing market," Obama responded.
"The central question is, there are a whole bunch of things we can do right now that will make the recovery even stronger, and put more folks back to work," he said.