COLUMBUS, Ohio — President Obama charged rival Mitt Romney with being oblivious to the burdens of paying for college Tuesday, telling young voters in battleground Ohio that his opponent’s education policies amounted to having students borrow from their parents or “shop around” for the best deal.
“That’s his plan. That’s his answer to young people who are trying to figure out how to go to college and make sure that they don’t have a mountain of debt,” Obama said at Capital University in Columbus. “Not everybody has parents who have the money to lend. That may be news to some folks.”
Turning to young voters, a key part of his 2008 coalition, the president sought to draw a bright line with Romney on education policy in his latest attempt to meld Romney with the House Republican budget blueprint offered by Representative Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate.
Romney’s campaign countered the president’s education critique, saying college costs had skyrocketed under Obama’s watch and his economic policies had made it difficult for recent college graduates to find work. Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said Obama’s policies were “just more of the same from a president who hasn’t fixed the economy or kept his promises to the young people who supported him four years ago.”
Democrats have tried to use Ryan’s budget proposal to undermine Romney’s pitch to blue-collar voters, and Obama’s appeal on higher education was no different.
Democrats contend that Ryan’s budget proposal, which failed to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, would cut $115 billion from the Education Department, costing 1 million college students their Pell Grants over the next decade. Democrats argue those moves would punish many middle-class and low-income families trying to gain an education.
Those estimates, however, assume the cuts in Ryan’s budget are applied evenly across all programs starting in 2014 — something Ryan aides say would not happen. His budget does not directly address Pell Grant funding, and his aides say the cuts would not take a one-size-fits-all approach.
Ryan, who prefers that students take loans instead of receiving grants, would keep the top Pell Grant award in the coming school year at $5,500 but in future years reduce the number of students eligible, not the award sums. Fewer students would receive them but the neediest would not see their awards changed. - ASSOCIATED PRESS
N.Y. lawmaker, not skinnydipping, under FBI scrutiny
The reported FBI investigation into a trip made by House Republicans to Israel that included skinny-dipping by Representative Kevin Yoder of Kansas was not aimed at the trip itself but was merely part of an investigation of Representative Michael Grimm of New York and his supporters, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Citing an unnamed person familiar with the investigation, the Journal reported late Monday that the FBI learned of Yoder’s now-infamous naked swim while scrutinizing Grimm’s trip to Israel and a later trip to Cyprus.
The New York Times reported earlier this month that Grimm neglected to file appropriate paperwork about his visit to Cyprus, which was sponsored by the Cyprus Federation of America. A former Grimm fund-raiser was arrested and charged last week with lying on immigration documents. Grimm has not been charged with any crime and has denied wrongdoing.
Yoder’s skinny-dipping was not relevant to the investigation, the Journal reported, but it has garnered national attention. The first-term representative was one of more than 80 House members who visited Israel last summer on a fact-finding mission sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation. Politico reported Sunday that after an evening that included drinking, a half-dozen congressmen and some of their aides and family members went swimming in the Sea of Galilee.
While the rest of the swimmers remained fully or partly clothed, Yoder stripped naked and jumped into the sea.
In a statement to Politico, Yoder apologized for embarrassing colleagues and constituents, admitting that “regrettably I jumped into the water without a swimsuit.” - CALLUM BORCHERS