CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- California Attorney General Kamala Harris said in her Wednesday speech at the Democratic National Convention that the $25 billion settlement between the government and the nation's largest banks shows President Barack Obama's leadership.
"President Obama stood with me and 48 other attorneys general in taking on the banks and winning $25 billion for struggling homeowners," Harris said, noting that Obama also supported credit card and Wall Street reform.
"That's leadership!" Harris continued. "That's what President Obama did. And that's why we need to give him another four years. We need to move forward. President Obama will fight for working families. He will fight to level the economic playing field and fight to give every American the same fair shot my family had."
The Obama administration joined state attorneys general in negotiating a February settlement with the nation's five largest banks following revelations in 2010 that banks had been forging documents in the foreclosure process. The settlement is supposed to provide relief to homeowners in the form of mortgage modifications, reduced principal, and even small cash payments in cases of wrongful foreclosure.
Homeowner advocates have taken a dim view of the settlement, claiming that banks' mortgaging servicing divisions continue to abuse homeowners as before. The California Reinvestment Coalition said last week that settlement progress reports indicate "banks have made little progress on providing principal reduction to California homeowners, and instead have prioritized short sales -- a tool that represented business as usual for banks before the settlement was ever announced."
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, for his part, has alternated between saying the government should let the housing market "hit bottom" and that the government should "help people" deal with their banks. The housing issues page on Romney's website is vague.
"That's not leadership," Harris said, referring to Romney. "Doing nothing while the middle class is hurting. That's not leadership. Loose regulations and lax enforcement. That's not leadership. That's abandoning our middle class."
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