The Republican presidential candidate, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania who holds three college degrees, chided Obama during the weekend for his push for all Americans to pursue a post-secondary education to help them secure their financial futures, calling the Democratic president a "snob."
When asked at his daily press briefing about Santorum's remark, press secretary Jay Carney said most American parents would side with the president on providing the widest educational opportunities possible for their children.
"One is I don't think any parent in America who has a child would think it snobbery to hope for that child the best possible education in the future, and that includes college," Carney said. "As you know, the president has always made clear that he believes higher education is important for everyone. And that includes if not a four-year degree, a bachelor of arts degree, then a two-year degree from a community college or vocational training through a community college.
"In fact, he has very aggressively -- his administration has, and he in particular has, promoted agreements between community colleges and local businesses to have programs in those colleges that allow folks to be trained specifically for the jobs that those employers have open. And that is very much the kind of service that community colleges can provide. So it is, to use a phrase that we've applied elsewhere, an all-of-the-above approach when it comes to higher education."
Asked later if Obama thinks Santorum is out of step with the American public, and even his own party, on the issue of education, Carney said the president's priorities on education are "very clear" and Obama is "focused not just on making sure that higher education is not a luxury, but that it is available for everyone."