A day after Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum called President Barack Obama "a snob," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Santorum clashed over the validity of those remarks.
First the background: the Associated Press reported that, during an address Saturday in Michigan to conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, Santorum "called Obama 'a snob' for saying every American child should be able to go to college. 'Why does Obama want everybody to go to college? So his liberal college professors can be indoctrinating people like he has,' Santorum said, drawing a long ovation."
On Sunday morning, Christie — who is backing Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination and is frequently mentioned as a potential vice presidential candidate if Romney wins the GOP nomination — verbally slapped Santorum for the "snob" comment during Christie's interview with CBS News program "Face the Nation."
Politico reported that Christie essentially dismissed Santorum's comment by telling "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer, "I think that's probably over the line. I don't think the president is a snob for saying that."
CBS News added, "(Christie) noted that not every child wants to attend college, but 'we should aspire to let every child reach his maximum or her maximum potential.'"
Santorum, however, staunchly stood by his remarks during a Sunday interview with ABC News' "This Week."
As the Washington Post reported, Santorum told "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos, "I think because there are lot of people in this country that have no desire or no aspiration to go to college, because they have a different set of skills and desires and dreams that don’t include college. And to sort of lay out there that somehow this should be everybody’s goal, I think, devalues the tremendous work that people who, frankly, don’t go to college and don’t want to go to college because they have a lot of other talents and skills that, frankly, college, you know, four-year colleges may not be able to assist them. There’s all sorts of things that people can do to upgrade their skills.”
Santorum then poured more fuel on the controversy by alleging that higher education persecutes religion and conservatives.
“You talk to most kids who go to college who are conservatives, and you are singled out, you are ridiculed, you are — I can tell you personally. ... I went through a process where I was docked for my conservative views. This is sort of a regular routine. You know the statistic ... that 62 percent of kids who enter college with some sort of faith commitment leave without it. This is not a neutral setting.”
For those of you scoring at home, here are the educational backgrounds for Obama, Santorum and Christie — each of whom majored in political science and became an attorney.
- Obama: Columbia University, B.A. in political science, 1983; Harvard Law School, J.D., 1991.
- Santorum: Pennsylvania State University, B.A. in political science, 1980; University of Pittsburgh, M.B.A., 1981; Pennsylvania State University's Dickinson School of Law, J.D., 1986.
- Christie: University of Delaware, B.A. in political science, 1984; Seton Hall University School of Law, J.D., 1987.