White House Pushes Back on Santorum ‘Snob’ Remark and Incorrect Underlying Charge

Feb 27, 2012 3:20pm

The White House today sought to rebut a charge made by former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn., suggesting that President Obama’s call for post-high school education was elitist.

Over the weekend, Santorum said “President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob. There are good decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor to try to indoctrinate them. Oh, I understand why he wants you to go to college he wants to remake you in his image.” The president’s actual call, made in his first address to Congress in February 2009, was: “tonight, I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be community college or a four-year school; vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma.”

At the White House today, President Obama, addressing members of the National Governors Association, clarified what he’d actually said.

“I have to make a point here,” he said, in an address that urged the nation’s governors to focus on education. “When I speak about higher education, we’re not just talking about a four-year degree. We’re talking about somebody going to a community college and getting trained for that manufacturing job. We all want Americans getting those jobs of the future, so we’re going to have to make sure that they’re getting the education that they need.”

Specifically asked about Santorum’s remarks, White House press secretary Jay Carney said, “I don’t think any parent in America who has a child would think it snobbery to hope for that child the best possible education in the future, and that includes college. As you know, the president has always made clear that he believes higher education is important for everyone, and that includes if not a four-year degree — bachelor’s of arts degree — then a two-year degree from a community college or vocational training through a community college.”

-Jake Tapper and Mary Bruce

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