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The candidates: housing industry takes spotlight

The unprecedented shake-up on Wall Street has put an even brighter spotlight on the housing market, mortgage foreclosures and the entire home channel. As the November election draws closer, how the respective presidential candidates would handle the current housing and economic issues has become a major question.

The Treasury Department’s $700 billion bailout plan received mixed reviews from the two presidential candidates. The plan drew particular attention from Sen. John McCain, as he voted to suspend his campaign and push back the first presidential debate to focus completely on the deal in Washington, asking opponent Sen. Barack Obama to join him. Obama responded by promoting the importance of multi-tasking, and said the economic problems facing the country make the debate even more important to go ahead as scheduled.

(At the last minute, McCain agreed to participate in the first presidential debate as scheduled.)

As for the issues, Obama and McCain have not been terribly far apart in their respective opinions of the Paulson plan. The candidates, keenly aware of the unpopularity of the bailout with voters, skirted around some issues and emphasized oversight and protections for taxpayers in their comments on the issue. (See table below.) 

The candidate’s positions regarding the latest credit crisis are just one area of comparison as the election reaches the critical final stretch. There’s the related issue of mortgage foreclosures, and the always critical stance on small business.

And once the smoke clears from the current economic firestorm, there will be other important issues to deal with—in the home channel, “green” building reforms will be especially notable. Many cities are enacting new green building codes, and how the federal government responds with its own regulations bears watching. This issue is also particularly important to the home channel, as both campaigns have tied their stances on green building and other green reforms into job creation. And in an industry that is seeing a wide swath of cutbacks, mill closures and consolidations of all kinds, job creation is paramount.

We’ve taken a snapshot of some of the candidates’ opinions and plans on those issues that dramatically affect the home improvement industry.

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