President Barack Obama wrapped up a two-day Southern California visit Wednesday by participating in an online discussion on the housing market before visiting troops and their families at the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base.
The housing discussion was on the web site of real estate database Zillow.com. Obama answered user questions during a discussion moderated by Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff and said he wants to simplify the mortgage process to "empower" people during the purchase process.
"We can expect that we're going to try to simply mortgage(s) so that you don't have a lot of fine print, you know exactly what you're getting," Obama said. "Somebody who's involved in a transaction can operate with complete transparency, they can know what they might owe once they get a mortgage potentially approved."
A Zillow representative said the meeting was "behind closed doors" at an undisclosed location. The focus on housing is part of Obama's summertime tour aimed at building public support for his economic proposals ahead of fall fiscal fights with congressional Republicans.
The president arrived in Los Angeles Tuesday afternoon for a "Tonight Show" appearance during which he talked about terror threats, U.S. tensions with Russia and a recent lunch with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The appearance was Obama's sixth on the "Tonight Show."
Obama stayed overnight in the west San Fernando Valley community of Woodland Hills. Crowds lined streets near the hotel to watch as the president's motorcade departed Wednesday morning.
He arrived at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, about 50 miles north of San Diego, aboard a Marine helicopter early Wednesday afternoon to visit servicemembers and their families. White House officials said the president plans to thank them for their service to the country.
"It's just nice of him to stop and take a few minutes to say thank you to the families," said Brigadier Gen. Paul Lebidine.
Obama spoke about recent diplomatic outpost closures and the decision to evacuate the U.S. Embassy in Yemen. He said the United States will continue to be "the greatest force for freedom the world has ever known" and will not retreat from the world in the wake of security threats.
During a "Tonight Show" appearance Tuesday, the president delivered his first public comments on recent terror warnings involving U.S. interests in the Middle East. The warnings prompted the State Department to close 19 diplomatic posts across the Middle East and North Africa until Saturday.
He urged Americans to act "prudently" when planning travel.
Obama's Southern California swing also comes amid tensions with Russia over the case of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. NBC News reported Wednesday morning that Obama has canceled a planned Moscow summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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Obama told "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno that he was "disappointed'' that Russia granted temporary asylum to Snowden. He did not comment on the legality of Snowden's leaks.
"We don't know exactly yet what he did," Obama said. "It's important for me not to prejudge something."
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