Biden: "Ideological divide" between Santorum and America on higher education

Vice President Joe Biden.

(CBS News) Nearly a week after Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum called President Obama a "snob" for encouraging all young people to go to college, Vice President Joe Biden fired back, arguing that there's an "ideological divide between" Santorum and "all of America" on the issue - not just between Republicans and Democrats.

Biden is visiting Iowa State University on Thursday to discuss the administration's proposals to reward businesses that return manufacturing jobs to the United States.

In a radio interview with Radio Iowa, host O. Kay Henderson asked the vice president if his trip was meant to "highlight what may be a developing ideological divide between the two parties over the value of college education," in light of Santorum's comments.

"Senator Santorum recently said there's a bit of snobbery involved in suggesting every American should take at least one year of vocational training or a year of college," Henderson said. "Are you making a trip to a college campus today to sort of highlight what may be a developing ideological divide between the two parties over the value of college education?"

"Well, I think there's an ideological divide between Rick Santorum and all of America on this," Biden said. laughing. "I don't think it's between the parties."

"Look, I've been going college campuses and high schools all across America for the past six months talking about what the facts are," he added. "Six out of the 10 jobs over the next 10 years are going to require an advanced degree, a degree beyond, either a certificate or a degree beyond high school. It's that simple."

He also argued that people who have attended college are likely to achieve more economic success than those who have not.

"People with a college degree today make, on average, will make the rest of their life $21,000 a year more than someone with a high school degree," Biden said. "People with a two year degree from a community college will make, are making $8,000, will continue to make $8,000 a year more. This is about living a middle class life."

Mr. Obama has repeatedly defended his stance encouraging young people to pursue higher education, arguing that America cannot pull ahead unless high priority is given to cultivating innovation among students. He has said that pursuing higher education does not necessarily mean attending a four-year university, and has touted community colleges and vocational schools.

In remarks to reporters earlier this week, White House press secretary Jay Carney arguedthat most parents would not object to providing young people with the opportunity to go to college.

"I don't think any parent in American who has a child would think it snobbery to hope for that child the best possible education in the future, and that includes college," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters in a Monday press briefing.

Santorum defended his comments last weekend, telling NBC that everyone should be able to either go to college or seek a "higher level of training skills" but that "it doesn't mean you have to get a four-year college degree."

He also argued that colleges tend to promote "the dominant values and political values and overly politicized values and politically correct values" that he says Mr. Obama shares.

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