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AOC Rips Buttigieg for Adopting a ‘GOP Talking Point’

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Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York slammed 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on Thursday, accusing him of adopting a “GOP talking point” on college affordability.

The South Bend, Indiana, mayor’s campaign started airing an ad in Iowa this week that seeks to set Buttigieg apart from more progressive candidates who want public college to be completely free.

“I believe we should move to make college affordable for everybody,” Buttigieg says in the ad. “There are some voices saying, ‘Well that doesn’t count unless you go even further, unless it’s free even for the kids of millionaires.’”

Both Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren have released proposals calling for free public college.

Sanders’ plan applies to four-year public colleges and universities, while Warren wants both two- and four-year public colleges to be free.

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“I only want to make promises that we can keep,” Buttigieg says in the ad.

The South Bend mayor has proposed making “public college truly debt-free for lower-income families.”

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“We will do this through a state-federal partnership that makes public tuition affordable for all and completely free at lower incomes–combined with a large increase in Pell Grants that provides for basic living expenses and keeps up with inflation,” his website says. “Middle-income families at public colleges will pay zero tuition.”

Under Buttigieg’s plan, public college won’t be free for students from high-income families.

“Look, what I’m proposing is plenty bold. I mean these are big ideas. We can gather the majority to drive those big ideas through without turning off half the country before we even get into office,” he says in the ad.

But Ocasio-Cortez, who has endorsed Sanders for president, said Thursday she doesn’t think Buttigieg’s proposal goes far enough.

“This is a GOP talking point used to dismantle public systems, & it’s sad to see a Dem candidate adopt it,” she tweeted, referring to Buttigieg’s ad. “Just like rich kids can attend public school, they should be able to attend tuition-free public college.”

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For one thing, the New York congresswoman said, “Universal public systems are designed to benefit EVERYBODY! Everyone contributes & everyone enjoys. We don’t ban the rich from public schools, firefighters, or libraries bc they are public goods.”

Ocasio-Cortez said that when certain people aren’t allowed to benefit from these sorts of programs, “cracks in the system develop.”

Moreover, she argued that “it’s GOOD to have classrooms (from pre-k through college!) to be socioeconomically integrated.”

“Having students from different incomes & backgrounds in the same classroom is good for society & economic mobility,” she added.

As the liberal website Common Dreams reported, plenty of progressives have criticized Buttigieg’s plan on similar grounds.

But a senior adviser to the candidate fired back on social media.

Buttigieg “wants to make college affordable for Americans who can’t afford it,” Lisa Smith tweeted.

“He won’t ask Americans who don’t go to college to subsidize it for the children of millionaires and billionaires.”

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