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Did Romney Slip by Saying He’d Slash the Dept. of Ed.?

By Alyson Klein — April 17, 2012 1 min read
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So presumed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is taking a bunch of flak for telling a room full of campaign donors that he’d slim down the U.S. Department of Education if he were elected president.

In fact, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat and backer of President Barack Obama, called the statement “a raw moment of candor” according to this news account.

The thing is ... Romney has already said something incredibly similar about the department’s future. On national television, in fact. You can check out this transcript of an interview he did with Fox News, which we wrote about on Politics K-12 here.

Here’s what he said in response to a direct question on Fox News about whether he’d get rid of the department:

Not necessarily. It may be combined with other agencies. There will be a rule, meaning that, for instance, the federal government provides funding to local school districts for care of disabled children, that will be maintained. But the reach of the Department of Education into the states has to be pulled back. Education has to be managed at the state level, not at the federal level. Will there be any flow-through of funds to the states? Yes."

By my reading, that’s pretty similar to what he is being quoted as saying behind closed doors, which is being portrayed by some folks as a super-secret plan only revealed to top donors.

“The Department of Education: I will either consolidate with another agency, or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller,” Romney is quoted as saying at the fund-raiser. “I’m not going to get rid of it entirely.”

So was Romney more candid on the department’s future in speaking to donors than he was on national television? Comments section is open.

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