Obama vs. McCain: The Budget Battle Lines Are Drawn
Even in the face of a federal bailout of the financial services industry that could cost $700 billion, Sen. Barack Obama strongly suggested in tonight's debate that he would not want education to be sacrified because of it.
Moderator Jim Lehrer's question, which focused on how the uber-expensive bailout would affect their proposals, allowed the candidates to stake out their budget priorities. Sen. John McCain said he would further rein in spending--a spending freeze his advisers have said applies to education. Obama said some things would suffer, but not energy independence, health care, education, and electricty infrastructure.
Specifically, Obama--who listed education third in his list of priorities--said: "We have to make sure our children are competing in math and science." In addition, he said college must be affordable. In all, he wants to spend an additional $18 billion on education.
And a little later, Obama said he would prefer to see more investments in early education rather than subsidies to private companies that participate in Medicare.
Obama's answer tonight seems to put to rest--at least for now--the good question my co-blogger Alyson posed earlier this week in her post: "Would Bailout Affect Obama's Education Spending Plan?" Of course, making a promise in a debate and following through as president are two different things.