Obama swipes at Santorum, says college not a 'partisan' issue

President Obama took a swipe at Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Monday, days after the GOP candidate called the president a "snob" for saying all Americans need a college degree.

In an address to the National Governors Association at the White House, Obama aimed to clarify his earlier comments at the State of the Union and during other recent appearances when he said a college degree was essential for an economy "Built to Last."

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"I have to make a point here: when I speak about higher education, we're not just talking about a four-year degree," but basic training for manufacturing jobs and vocational training at community colleges, Obama told the governors in the State Dining Room.

"We can't afford to make higher education a luxury in this country," Obama said, adding that it shouldn't be a "partisan" issue. "All families ought to be able to afford it."

In a campaign stop in Michigan over the weekend, Santorum criticized Obama for his education plan.


"Some people have incredible gifts with their hands," Santorum said. "Some people have incredible gifts and ... want to work out there making things. President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob."

On Monday, in an education-heavy speech, Obama called on the governors to invest in the classroom.

"We all want Americans getting those jobs of the future," the president said. "So we're going to have to make sure that they're getting the education that they need."

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said "I don't think any parent in America who has a child would think its snobbery to hope for that child the best possible education."

But Carney said he didn't know if Obama was taking a direct swipe at Santorum.

"He was making clear what his position is," Carney said, adding "I don't know if it was specific to that statement."

This story was updated at 2:28 p.m.


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