Warren: I'm not telling parents 'tough luck' if they already paid off student debts

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Budget hawks frustrated by 2020 politics in entitlement reform fight MORE (D-Mass.) denied saying she is telling parents who have already paid their tuition "tough luck," continuing to tout her promise to forgive student loan debt. 

Warren made the comments on "CBS This Morning" on Friday, less than a day after video surfaced of a man confronting Warren at an Iowa town hall to vent his frustration over how her plan to wipe out student loan debt would not reimburse him for the tuition that he’d already paid.

 

 

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"We build a future going forward by making it better," Warren told CBS. "By that same logic, what would we have done? Not started Social Security because we didn't start it last week for you, or last month for you?"

"Think of it this way, when I was growing up, I wanted to be a public school teacher, my family had no money," she continued. 

"Are you saying tough love to these people, senator?" host Tony Dokoupil interjected. 

"No, what I'm saying is there was a $50 a semester option for me. I was able to go to college and become a public school teacher because America had invested in a $50 a semester option for me," she responded.

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"Today that's not available, and our kids have taken on a trillion and a half dollars in student loan debt. We have got to back that up, and say we're doing better going forward. That we're not going to say the next generation has to take on 2 trillion dollars in debt, and what? The next one 3 trillion or 4 trillion, or 5 trillion?" she continued. "We don't build an America by saddling our kids with debt. We build an America by saying we're going to open up those opportunities to kids to be able to get an education without getting crushed by student loan debt." 

The senator's comments come after conservatives circulated video of Warren's exchange with the man in Grimes, Iowa, who asked if she would reimburse him as president since he saved money to pay off his student loans. 

“Of course not,” Warren responded.

Warren has pledged to cancel existing student loan debt for roughly 42 million Americans on her first day as president if elected. She has also introduced legislation that aims to forgive up to $50,000 in loan debt for those with a total household income below $100,000.