Ben Carson rips lawmaker after 'Oreo' testimony

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson fired back on Wednesday after an intense moment during a three-hour House Financial Services Committee hearing on Tuesday when he misheard a housing term as “Oreo.”

“You can see that some of the networks are only interested in those kinds of sound bites that they can use to ridicule,” he told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on Wednesday. “The fact of the matter is I was having difficulty hearing her.”

The exchange began after California Democrat Rep. Katie Porter asked Carson to explain the gap in REO rates.

“Do you know what an REO is?” she asked.

“OREO?” Carson replied, referring to the cookie by that name.

“No, not an Oreo—an REO,” countered Porter, who then explained that she was asking about real-estate owned properties.

Carson said that he is very familiar with foreclosed properties and REOs and has not only read “extensively” about them but even knew about them as teenager of where he grew up in Detroit. He believes that Porter is not up to date on the current REO portfolio.

“When a family gets into a problem with their mortgage and it’s backed by our agency we go through a lot of procedures with the banks to make sure that they don’t get foreclosed upon and the few cases where they do obviously we are able to sell those properties very quickly,” he explained. “And the REO portfolio just over the last 10 years has dramatically decreased by ten-fold you know 65 thousand down to 65 hundred.”

“So I suspect when Katie Porter was an expert in this area things were very different that’s why I invited her to speak with our staff that deals with these so they can bring her up to date -- maybe she would then be able to understand what’s going on,” he added.


Carson was also accused of favoring Americans over illegals in public housing. He believes that they were just trying to get him to violate the law.

In his opinion, some of their testimony aligned with well known community organizer Saul Alinksy.

“If you read Saul Alinsky’s book “Rules for Radicals” you can see exactly what they are doing—Look at rule 5 and rule 13—they don’t even know that they are being used.”

In the book, which details a vision into movements for change, rule No. 5 says "ridicule is man's most potent weapon" and rule No. 13 states "pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."