GOP presidential challenger Rick Santorum faced three tough questions from high school students Friday afternoon on his education, health care and economic policies.
The questions he faced afterward from reporters at an Italian restaurant in suburban Chicago about the year he lived in Illinois seemed almost gentle by comparison.
Seventeen minutes into his speech, the faculty advisor interrupted him.
“Excuse me — I know we’re on a tight schedule here. We have some students who would like to ask some questions if you’re ready to entertain those,” the faculty member said. Santorum nodded.
The 3 questions students got to ask:
“You recently commented on how you don’t believe everyone should go to college,” Becky Pauwels, 17, told Santorum. “Yet countries such as Germany and Japan, whose governments offer college to any motivated student, experience high rates of socio-economic mobility, which, by your own admission and all academic studies, is lagging in the United States.”
Since President Barack Obama proposes expanded access to college and training programs, how do his proposals differ from Obama’s, she asked.
“Your main competitor, Mitt Romney, donated 16.3 percent of his income to charity and you donated only 1.7 percent of your $923,000 salary to charity,” Vucicevic said. “Your explanation was that you have to provide for seven children, one of which has special needs. … How do you expect middle-class Americans who are in similar situations to pay for it? Isn’t your situation the exact reason why we need a universal health care system like most other nations have?”
The auditorium erupted in applause at the question.
Hannah Johnstone asked if Santorum’s economic policies weren’t “just giving the upper 1 percent more of the advantages they had under George Bush’s lower tax rates and deregulatory policies which is very similar to what you are proposing?”