President Barack Obama offered mortgage relief today to hundreds of thousands of Americans, his latest attempt to ease the economic and political fallout of a housing crisis that has bedeviled him as he seeks a second term. "I'm here to say that we can't wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job," the president declared outside a family home in Las Vegas. The new rules for federally guaranteed loans represent a recognition that measures the administration has taken so far on housing have not worked as well as expected.
Under Obama's proposal, homeowners who are still current on their mortgages would be able to refinance no matter how much their home value has dropped below what they still owe. The Federal Housing Finance Administration estimated an additional 1 million people would qualify. Moody's Analytics say the figure could be as high as 1.6 million. The Nevada stop was the first leg of a 3-day tour of Western states, blending his pitch for boosting the economy with an aggressive hunt for campaign cash. (Read more President Obama stories.)