At CPAC, Limbaugh distorted Frank's position on affordable housing

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

During his speech at CPAC, Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed: "Congressman [Barney] Frank's definition of affordable housing is you get a house that you don't have to pay for, that everybody else in the neighborhood will pay for. And why? Well, because it's unfair that some people can have a house and some people can't. See, it's just unfair." In fact, Frank has advocated for the expansion of affordable rental housing, rather than advocating for, as Limbaugh suggested, universal home ownership.

During his February 28 speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed: "Congressman [Barney] Frank's [D-MA] definition of affordable housing is you get a house that you don't have to pay for, that everybody else in the neighborhood will pay for. And why? Well, because it's unfair that some people can have a house and some people can't. See, it's just unfair." In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted, Frank has advocated for the expansion of affordable rental housing, rather than advocating for, as Limbaugh suggested, universal home ownership.

Contrary to Limbaugh's claim that Frank's "definition of affordable housing" includes universal home ownership, in a 2006 speech on the House floor, Frank stated: "I always want to make it clear to people that while homeownership is very important, it should not be considered all of our goal in the housing area. A large number of people, for economic reasons and other reasons, will be renters." Similarly, during a February 13, 2002, hearing on the Housing and Urban Development budget for fiscal year 2003, Frank stated (retrieved from the Nexis database): "[H]ome ownership is a very good thing, and I want us to encourage it. It is a grave error to make that the central focus of housing policy from the standpoint of the government. ... [A]lmost by definition, the large majority of poor people are in rental housing, and we will never alleviate the terrible housing crisis that affects so many people in this country if we do not do a much better job of building decent, affordable rental housing."

Further, in a profile of Frank for the January 12 edition of The New Yorker, staff writer Jeffrey Toobin wrote: "According to Frank, at the root of the real-estate crisis was a misguided notion that homeownership should be available to all people -- what President Bush has called 'the ownership society.' " Toobin quoted Frank saying in a speech that home ownership "is not suitable for everybody." In the profile, Toobin also addressed Frank's efforts to preserve and expand housing for low-income renters.

As Media Matters documented, during the January 7 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Limbaugh falsely asserted that Frank "created the problem" of the subprime mortgage crisis. Limbaugh claimed that Frank's "definition of affordable housing was to make sure that people who couldn't pay the loans back got the loans, the mortgages. He forced Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to do this." Later in the broadcast, Limbaugh played a parody song titled "Banking Queen" featuring an impersonation of Frank by comedian and frequent contributor Paul Shanklin. In the parody, Frank, who refers to himself as "the banking queen," threatens banks to make loans or they'll "be fined," adding: "My friends at Fannie sure need it, do it my way or beat it."

In addition, during the same speech, Limbaugh claimed that President Obama's house in Chicago was "purchased by Tony Rezko." In fact, documents posted on Obama's campaign website indicate that Obama purchased the house himself.

From the 5 p.m. ET hour of CNN Newsroom on February 28:

LIMBAUGH: You think Obama has any intention of paying for all of this spending? Folks, if he had any intention of paying for it, he wouldn't do 90 percent of it, because we don't have the money. They don't care about paying for it. All that's just words.

All that's just rhetoric -- paying for it -- because he knows you have to worry about paying for it. He knows we all have to be concerned about -- oh, except -- wrong again. Except the words of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd who were getting -- giving homes that everybody knew they could never pay for. And now Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, the architects along with Bill Clinton of the policy that gave us the whole subprime mortgage crisis, get to sit around and act as innocent spectators to investigate what went on when they largely had the biggest role in causing it?

[applause]

Barney's -- Congressman Frank's definition of affordable housing is you get a house that you don't have to pay for, that everybody else in the neighborhood will pay for. And why? Well, because it's unfair that some people can have a house and some people can't. See, it's just unfair.

So here we have two systems. We have socialism, collectivism, Stalin-- whatever you want to call it, versus capitalism.

[...]

LIMBAUGH: John Kerry [laughter and boos] -- served in Vietnam. [laughter and applause] Now, stop to think of this. And by the way, Barney Fwank [sic] got involved in this, too. [laughter]

Northern Trust, a bank in Chicago -- by the way, which holds the mortgage to the Messiah's house purchased by Tony Rezko. Northern Trust holds the mortgage. Northern Trust was forced, like Wells Fargo was forced, to take TARP money. The Wells Fargo CEO said they were taken into Paulson's room and they were given till 5 o'clock to sign it and they weren't getting out till they did. They wanted it spread all over the banking business. Northern Trust was in there. They didn't want it. They took $1.6 million.

Posted In
Economy, Housing
Person
Rush Limbaugh
Stories/Interests
Attacks on Barack Obama, Propaganda/Noise Machine
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