Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson confused a real-estate term for a popular cookie during questioning by a freshman Capitol Hill lawmaker on Tuesday.
During a hearing by the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., asked Carson "to explain the disparity in REO rates — do you know what an REO is?"
Carson awkwardly responded: "An Oreo?"
"No, not an Oreo. An R-E-O. R-E-O," Porter said, to which Carson then offered, "real estate?"
"Real estate owned – that's what happens when a property goes into foreclosure, we call it an REO, and FHA loans have much higher REOs, that is, they go into foreclosure rather than into loss mitigation or to non-foreclosure alternatives like short sales, than comparable loans" at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Porter lectured.
She said she wanted to know why "we're having more foreclosures that end in people losing their homes, with stains to their credit and disruption to their communities and their neighborhoods at FHA than we are at" the two companies that dominate the mortgage financing market.
She later tweeted out the exchange — while Carson poked fun at it with his own tweet of himself holding the delicious cookies and a note he would be "sending some your way!"
Politico reported Carson's appearance before the panel was the first since Democrats took control of the chamber.
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