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Bush Announces Mortgage Plan

President Bush is announcing a private-sector plan to help many thousands of strapped homeowners whose mortgage payments are scheduled to rise in the coming months.

The plan would freeze interest rates on certain loans for five years. But there are tough new requirements, including that borrowers can't have missed any payments at the old, lower rates.

 Bush says the plan isn't a bailout of real estate speculators or anyone who made a "reckless'' decision to buy homes they couldn't afford. He calls it a ``sensible response to a serious challenge.'' More than a million people could be eligible for help under the plan, developed in negotiations with the mortgage industry. But Bush says help will only come to those who ask for it.

He's urging people to call a new hot line: 1-888-995-HOPE.

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