Can Romney, Obama Learn to Share on Education?

In September, Obama said in a speech that "the goals behind No Child Left Behind were admirable, and President Bush deserved credit for that."

"But experience has taught us that, in its implementation, No Child Left Behind had some serious flaws that are hurting our children instead of helping them," Obama went on to say.

In a statement backing Romney's plan, even top surrogate Bob McDonnell, the Republican governor of Virginia, conceded that Obama "has expressed some positive ideas on how to reform our schools." (McDonnell's statement also says that Obama "refuses to challenge the unions that will do anything to protect the status quo.")

Perhaps appropriately, education, while being the area where Obama gets maybe the most GOP support, is the one arena in which he has the least power. Schools are controlled almost entirely by local governments, and despite some efforts from the federal government to help — like Obama's "Race to the Top" contest — most of the power lies with the states and cities.

But the campaigns are unlikely to admit they share some of the same ideas. And they are giving the indication that they're opposed to each other's plans, despite the details they may share.

"I'll be blunt," Romney said in his speech. "I don't like the direction of American education, and as president, I will do everything in my power to get education on track for the kids in this great land."

White House press secretary Jay Carney mocked Romney Tuesday, asking reporters rhetorically, "Is that the first time that Gov. Romney has mentioned education since he began running for president this time?"

"It's the first time I've heard of it," Carney said. "As I recall, education never came up in the Republican primaries in any of the debates. Or if it did, it came up almost never."

Carney added: "It's certainly welcome after a long, long campaign season to know that the Republican candidate actually has something to say about education."

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