President Obama called out a U.S. Senate candidate on Wednesday for suggesting that federal student loans are a sign that America has "stage three cancer of socialism."
In a GOP Senate primary debate on Saturday, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin argued that the federal government should get out of the business of providing student loans of any kind. "America has got the equivalent of stage three cancer of socialism because the federal government is tampering in all kinds of stuff it has no business tampering in," he said. "The government needs to get its nose out of the education business."
This week, President Obama is touring campuses to push Congress to extend subsidized lower rates on federal student loans which will expire this summer without Congressional action. Speaking at the University of Iowa on Wednesday, President Obama made an example of Aiken:
Sometimes I like just getting these quotes because I am always interested in how folks talk about this issue. You have got one member of congress who compared these student loans, I am not kidding here, to a stage three cancer of socialism. Stage three cancer. I don't know where to start. What do you mean? What are you talking about? Come on. Just when you think you heard it all in Washington, somebody comes up with a new way to go off the deep end.
Akin, asked specifically about keeping federal student loan rates at 3 percent -- a vote he will have to decide about if Congress takes up a renewal -- responded, "obviously my choice would be get government out of the business to start with." Aiken seemed unfamiliar with the program, but added "I'd have to take a look and see how the numbers work out, but I think it would be probably leaving it at three is a lot more reasonable with where the economy is right now. But I don't like the idea at all."
Watch Akin and Obama: