Obama con­fronts gen­er­a­tional rifts; sees Hil­lary stuck in ’60s fight

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Brian DeBose

Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Sen. Barack Obama at­tacked his chief ri­val as out of step with the times and too locked in 1960s so­cial and cul­tural bat­tles to deal with new chal­lenges that re­quire a dif­fer­ent and per­haps younger per­spec­tive.

“I think there is no doubt that we rep­re­sent the kind of change that Sen­a­tor Clin­ton can’t de­liver on, and part of it is gen­er­a­tional,” Mr. Obama told Fox News Nov. 7 about the dif­fer­ence be­tween him­self and Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton of New York. “I mean, Sen­a­tor Clin­ton and oth­ers, they’ve been fight­ing some of the same fights since the ‘60s, and it makes it very dif­fi­cult for them to bring the coun­try to­gether to get things done.”

Mr. Obama be­gan his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign with the mes­sage that a new gen­er­a­tion of Amer­i­cans needs to as­sume lead­er­ship and con­tinue the progress made by the baby boomers who fought for civil rights.

For the first six months of the cam­paign, that mes­sage helped carry Mr. Obama to record fundrais­ing num­bers far ahead of Mrs. Clin­ton’s. The sen­a­tor from New York did not catch up un­til the sum­mer.

Last month, Mr. Obama said he would be­gin to chal­lenge Mrs. Clin­ton di­rectly. He and other Demo­cratic can­di­dates pep­pered her dur­ing a de­bate last week with tough ques­tions about im­mi­gra­tion and Iran.

Mr. Obama, Illi­nois Demo­crat, kicked off sev­eral days of cam­paign­ing in Iowa yes­ter­day with a speech in Bet­ten­dorf. He touted his pro­pos­als in­tro­duced ear­lier this year to ex­pand health care cov­er­age, elim­i­nate the in­come tax for re­tirees mak­ing less than $50,000 per year and cut taxes up to $1,000 for fam­i­lies.

He also pro­posed ways to make col­lege more af­ford­able.

“I’ll cre­ate a new and fully re­fund­able tax credit worth $4,000 for tu­ition and fees ev­ery year, which will cover two-thirds of the tu­ition at the av­er­age pub­lic col­lege or univer­sity,” Mr. Obama said. He pledged to “sim­plify the fi­nan­cial aid ap­pli­ca­tion process so that we don’t have a mil­lion stu­dents who aren’t ap­ply­ing for aid be­cause it’s too dif­fi­cult.”

He said he would elim­i­nate the cur­rent ap­pli­ca­tion for stu­dent aid and in­stead rely on par­ents’ tax data to de­ter­mine el­i­gi­bil­ity. He pro­posed a new Com­mu­nity Col­lege Part­ner­ship Pro­gram to de­ter­mine the skills and tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion needed to help lo­cal in­dus­try, cre­ate de­grees for emerg­ing fields and re­ward schools that grad­u­ate more stu­dents.

Mr. Obama’s higher-ed­u­ca­tion pro­posal con­trasts with that of for­mer Sen. John Ed­wards, the North Carolina Demo­crat who also is seek­ing the pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion.

Mr. Ed­wards has called for a plan to fully cover tu­ition and book costs for more than 2 mil­lion stu­dents in their first year of pub­lic col­lege. He said he would re­form the fi­nan­cial aid sys­tem by elim­i­nat­ing bank sub­si­dies on stu­dent loans and al­low­ing stu­dents to ap­ply di­rectly to the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion. He es­ti­mates his plan would free up al­most $6 bil­lion a year to make higher ed­u­ca­tion more af­ford­able.

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