Romney blames Obama for fall in school standards
REPUBLICAN presidential candidate Mitt Romney opened a new front on Wednesday in his fight against President Barack Obama, accusing him of presiding over a failing US education system in the grip of union bosses who refuse to accept reforms.
In a rare diversion from his campaign focus on the weak economy, Romney laid out an education plan in a speech that represented his most overt appeal to date to Hispanic voters who have largely sided with the Democratic incumbent.
Although he trails Obama by a huge margin among Hispanics, Romney’s address to a Hispanic business group avoided mentioning a top priority for them: how to overhaul the country’s immigration system.
Romney said millions of American children are getting a “third-world education” and offered proposals that he said would reward teachers for their results instead of their seniority. And he would give parents greater choice of where to send their children to school and take other steps to reduce the influence of powerful teachers’ unions.
“I believe the president must be troubled by the lack of progress since he took office. Most likely, he would have liked to do more.
But the teachers unions are one of the Democrats’ biggest donors - and one of the president’s biggest campaign supporters.
So, President Obama has been unable to stand up to union bosses - and unwilling to stand up for kids,” Romney said.
Meanwhile, at a series of fundraisers , Obama kept hitting at his opponent’s record as a job-cutting private equity executive - a prime target for his re-election campaign - and touted his own economic plans to “move the country forward.” “I think he has learned the wrong lessons,” Obama told 550 supporters in a hotel ballroom in Denver, taking aim at what he called Romney’s bad ideas for the US economy while anti- Obama protesters outside held signs reading “Out of Hope, Ready for Change” and “Bye Bye on November 6th.” “His working assumption is: if CEOs and wealthy investors like him get rich, the rest of us automatically will too,” he said, later presenting a similar message to 1,100 supporters in Redwood City, California, near the tech hub Palo Alto.
“We believe in the free market, we believe in risk-taking and innovation. This whole area is built on risk-taking and innovation. But we also understand that it doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” Obama told the event which featured singer Ben Harper.
“It happens because of outstanding schools and universities, it happens because of a well-regulated financial market, it happens because we have extraordinary infrastructure.
It happens for a whole host of reasons.
Governor Romney doesn’t seem to understand that.” Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, is neck-and-neck with Obama in polls, a prelude to what could be a close vote for the White House in November.
His pivot to education comes during a battle in Washington over student loan programs, with Obama’s Democrats pushing for extending low interest rates for federal loans and Republicans calling for careful spending at a time of high deficits. On Wednesday’s speech also let him challenge a key pillar of the Obama reelection campaign: that the president is more tuned into middle class concerns, like education, than Romney is.