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The CNN/YouTube Republican Debate: The Confederate Flag Over Education?

By Michele McNeil — November 29, 2007 1 min read

Last night’s CNN/YouTube Republican debate in Florida provided an opportunity for regular people to submit questions to the presidential questions via video through YouTube—and thousands did. As I scanned the questions beforehand, I found that hundreds dealt with education, from how the candidates would change No Child Left Behind and help students better afford college to where the candidates stand on evolution in the classroom and national standards.

But only one of the 33 questions asked during the debate even touched on the subject of education. Perhaps the producers could have swapped out the question about the Confederate flag for a weighty question about the future of K-12 education in this country.

The question that did prompt a discussion about education sparked an exchange between former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney over college tuition assistance for children of illegal immigrants. Romney, who is duking it out with Huckabee for a win in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucus, is trying to paint the former Arkansas governor as a liberal for supporting a proposal several years ago in Arkansas that would have given the children of illegal immigrants the same chance at academic scholarships (if they meet other residency requirements) as other students. Romney argued that children of illegal immigrants were getting a “special deal,” while Huckabee countered that children shouldn’t be “punished” for illegal actions of their parents. Watch their exchange below: