Santorum: ‘I agree’ with Obama students should have options for education

GOP contender Rick Santorum backed away Sunday from his comments that President Obama was a “snob” for encouraging Americans to seek higher education, saying he agreed with the president that students should have options.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Santorum conceded he may have misunderstood the president’s position, prompting his remark.

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“I've read some columns where at least it was characterized that the president said, we should go to four-year colleges,” said Santorum. “I've certainly read that. If it was in error, then I agree with the president that we should have options for people to go to variety of different training options for them.”

Santorum said his position was that all students were unique and should consider multiple opportunities and that four-year colleges were not the only path for higher education.

“Not all folks are gifted in the same way,” Santorum had said at a forum in Michigan last month. “Some people have incredible gifts with their hands. ... President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob.”

Obama, during a 2009 address to Congress, urged Americans to commit to higher education or further career skills training. 

"So tonight I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training," Obama said. "This can be a 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." 

Santorum was asked Sunday about a policy statement on his 2006 senatorial reelection bid website which Fox host Chris Wallace said was similar to the president’s position on higher education.

“We looked back at your 2006 Web site, when you were running for reelection back in 2006. Here's what your campaign put up in your Web site,” Wallace said. "Rick Santorum has supported legislative solutions that provide loans, grants and tax incentives to make higher education more accessible and affordable," he read.

“All I can tell you is that I support people being able to go to and have the opportunity to go wherever they want to go, Santorum responded.

“But I wanted to make sure that we focus not just on four-year college degrees and we understand there are a lot of different training opportunities for people both in technical schools and in going to the military, or going to a lot of other places that we need to make sure that we affirm all of those choices.”

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