From NBC/NJ's Athena Jones
The Obama campaign has been cautious in its response to market concerns that government-sponsored mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are under stress.
The companies, which guarantee roughly half of the country's $12 trillion mortgage market, have been hit hard by the mortgage foreclosure crisis. Their shares are falling and some investors are concerned the two giants could default on their debt, which would send ripples through the economy, since their securities are held by financial institutions and investors all over the world.
The Obama camp released a statement earlier (see below post), but the statement does not address whether the government should intervene to help Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should it become necessary and whether the Treasury should make an explicit statement that it would back these loans, in order to avert the kind of crisis of confidence that sank Bear Stearns.
The Associated Press reports that John McCain has said the government cannot let Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac go under, but it's unclear what Obama thinks about that.
When pressed for more, Obama spokesman Bill Burton sent this response: "In a rapidly evolving situation, it does not make sense to comment on each and every one of the many specific actions that could potentially be taken to this end."
Obama himself has not publicly addressed the matter. He is in the battleground state of Ohio today where he just finished a town hall in Dayton on America's energy security.
Calling for a bailout may be seen as a big step, given the moral hazard issues involved, but there's also the question of whether the government can afford not to help the two companies.