Obama, Biden double-team Pennsylvania on education

Aug. 24, 2013 at 1:29 AM
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SCRANTON, Pa., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- President Obama and his Pennsylvania-born wingman, Vice President Joe Biden, went to Scranton Friday to wrap up his tour to promote college affordability.

Speaking at Lackawanna College, Biden talked about being a boy in Scranton and touted it as a place where kids grew up believing they could be anything they wanted to be because of "simple opportunity."

"That's the value that sets America apart from the rest of the world -- opportunity," Biden said.

"There are a lot of people who tell you that you have shrink your dreams in this country now; that today's generation of Americans and tomorrow's are just not going to be able to aim as high as we did. That's a bunch of malarkey. I don't believe -- I don't believe, nor does the president believe, that for a minute. And we never will. That has never been the story of this nation. And the president and I are determined to make sure that it's never the story."

Obama followed up by saying his administration is not just trying to "fix the problems created by the crisis," but to "change the fundamentals so that we get back to the day when if you want to work hard, if you are willing to be responsible you can make it. You can succeed."

As he did in appearances Thursday, the president knocked Republicans he said "instead of focusing on what's helping middle-class families succeed, they're spending time arguing about whether or not we should be paying the bills for things we already spent money on."

"They're threatening to shut down the government and have another financial crisis unless, for example, we get rid of the healthcare reform that we fought to pass and that's going to provide millions of people healthcare security for the first time," Obama said.

Obama addressed the problem of skyrocketing debt college graduates face coming out of school, touting his plan to make education more affordable for more young Americans.

"And if you come out with huge debt, what does that mean?" he said. "It means you can't get a mortgage on a house right away because you're paying off your debt. You may put off starting a family because you're worried about paying off the debt. If you've got a good idea for starting a business, you're maybe going to put that off because you're still servicing your debt. And that's bad for the entire economy. That's bad for everybody."

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