Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was stumped during his Tuesday testimony before the House Financial Services Committee when asked by Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., about foreclosure rates for real-estate owned, or REO, properties.
After being asked a series of yes or no questions by freshman Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley of MA on the health risks of sub-par housing on tenants, Carson first said, "Yes or no, can you ask me some questions yourself and stop reading this line of stuff".
Carson, however, appeared to have misheard Porter, thinking she was referring to the delicious chocolate sandwich cookie.
"But what is interesting, you know, that we, when a family gets into a problem with their mortgage and it is backed by our agency we go through a lot of procedures with the banks to make sure that they don't get foreclosed upon".
Carson: "Oreo?" a perplexed Carson answered.
Carson guessed correctly that the "R" and "E" stood for "real estate.' But he thought the 'O" stook for 'e-organization'.
He invited Porter to let his staff "bring her up to date" and continued, "Maybe she would then be able to understand what's going on".
Even after Porter explained the term, Carson didn't have an answer for her question, promising to "work with the people who do that". "OH, REO! Thanks, @RepKatiePorter".
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During one particularly contentious moment, Carson said, "Reclaiming my time".
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson seized the opportunity during a Wednesday morning interview on Fox Business Network to explain a blunder that took the media for a spin Tuesday afternoon.
Carson later joked about the back-and-forth, but the joke seemed to be on him. And, of course, I'm very familiar with foreclosed properties. 'Real estate owned.' That's what happens when a property goes into foreclosure.
"My questions were serious - they weren't created to be amusing", Porter said.
Porter later tweeted about her conversation with Carson.
New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney also got Carson to openly admit that he did not have a plan in place for the children living in public housing who would be at risk of being displaced.
"Yes or no, can you ask me some questions yourself and stop reading this silly stuff?"
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