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GOP Debate: A Missed Opportunity to Discuss Education?

By Michele McNeil — June 14, 2011 1 min read

If you are wondering why education never came up during last night’s GOP debate in New Hampshire, you aren’t the only one.

So was Jay Carney, President Obama’s press secretary. Although Obama didn’t watch the debate, Carney said he watched replays. He told reporters today:

“I was struck by the fact that over the course of two hours, the phrase ‘middle class’ and the word ‘education’ did not pass anyone’s lips that I heard, which was striking to me because the middle class is obviously, to our mind, the primary focus of everything that we do in terms of the economic policies we pursue and the concerns we have. ...
[A]s the President talks about a lot, education could be ‘the’ key, ‘the’ defining element of whether or not the United States of America can compete globally in the 21st century—compete and win. We think it’s a high, high priority. And I was struck by the absence of attention to that very key issue last night.”

UPDATE: This must be a key talking point for Democrats today, because former press secretary Robert Gibbs sent a fundraising email to folks pointing out the same thing...that “education” and “middle class” were not uttered last night.

As an aside, the word “schools” was uttered by one of the candidates last night, when a questioner asked about whether they would prevent children of illegal immigrants from accessing public services, including education.

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, said: “We shouldn’t have the mandates. We bankrupted the hospitals and the schools in Texas and other states.” (He never expanded on what he meant by that.)

Read the full transcript of the debate here.

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