The Last Word | February 27, 2012
>>> i don't think any parent in america who has a child would think it snobbery to hope for that child the best possible education in the future.
>> well, there is one parent in america who thinks that is snobbery.
>> president obama once said he wants everybody in america to go to college . what a snob. there are good, decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test that aren't taught by some liberal college professor trying to indoctrinate them. i understand why he wants you to go to college . he wants to remake you in his image.
>> of course the president never said that he wants everybody in america to go to college . here is what the president actually said on february 24th , 2009 .
>> tonight i ask every american to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. this can be a community college or a four-year school. vocational training or an apprenticeship. but whatever the training may be, every american will need to get more than a high school diploma .
>> vocational training or an apprenticeship is not college . republican governor chris christie , who is, of course, a romney supporter and looking for ways to humiliate rick santorum , sided with president obama .
>> we need to have an education system in new jersey and over the country that makes all of our kids, either college or career ready. it should be their choice. every kid doesn't want to go to college but i think we should aspire to let every child reach his maximum or her maximum potential. if senator santorum 's against that, i don't think that makes my sense and i certainly don't think the president's a snob for saying that. i think that's probably over the line.
>> and just minutes ago on fox news, here is rick santorum repeating his lie about what president obama said.
>> and then he comes out and says, everybody should go to college . i mean, this is the kind of stuff that i think people have had enough of. we can manage our lives very well, mr. president. just give us opportunity.
>> joining me now is los angeles mayor antonio villaraigosa , national co-chair of the obama 2012 campaign and the 2012 democratic national convention chairman. mr. mayor, it seems whenever we hear a republican candidate begin a line with "the president said," the audience should assume what they're about to hear is a lie. and the president has never actually said that. or even a cousin of that or anything close to that. the president couldn't be more clear that of course we're not going to have everyone go to college , there are apprenticeships, there's vocational training , there's all sorts of things other than college , he just wants people to maximize their workforce potential.
>> absolutely. the idea that somehow a parent wanting the best for their child is wrong, the president wanting the best for his nation, particularly in these tough economic types, is nonsensical. there was a recent gallup poll that said 75% of american parents want their kids -- think that it's important for their kids to go to college . the idea that we wouldn't want them to go to college or get career-ready or get a skill to succeed in the world of work just doesn't make sense to most of us.
>> this is the same republican party that's constantly telling us how bad our public schools are and they're not preparing our high school graduates for the workforce. and for santorum to then come out and make fun of the idea of getting something beyond just a high school diploma , i mean, santorum and these kinds of candidates don't even notice their own inconsistency in these things.
>> not only that. i think what you see there is he's clearly out of the mainstream what was most people think.
>> he's making this easy for you democrats, isn't it? that is such an alien thing that he's saying, it's alien to the american dream , american expectation.
>> alien to the reality today that when you look at who's disproportionately out of work the longest? it's folks that don't have a high school degree . then after them, it's folks who only have a high school degree . the people who are getting back to work the quickest are people with a college degree or some college , some skill. so it doesn't reflect where we are in terms of unemployment it'ser and where we are in terms of the new economy.
>> mitt romney was just on fox news kind of echoing santorum . let's listen to the way he put it.
>> not everybody's going to go to college and people have different courses in their life they ought to pursue. college is not right for everybody. some folks have other ambitions and want to go in different directions. we want people to have freedom in this country and opportunity to pursue their happiness in the way they think is appropriate for them.
>> the problem is his little laugh about not everyone is going to go to college . that is true, not everyone's going to go. but there's nothing as operational in what he's saying there.
>> yeah, no question about it. and interestingly enough, both of them went to college . both of them got a great education. why shouldn't that be good for the rest of us? the fact is, you know, we work hard so our kids will have a better life . in a global economy , predicated on intellectual capital , we know that more and more, college is becoming critical to success in that economy.
>> and -- but we should recognize that there are plenty of jobs that don't require college . really, truly, everybody working at l.a.x., los angeles international airport , virtually no jobs there that require college , and they are crucially important, high-paying -- airline mechanics and so forth. and what should we be doing in government to help the flow of people into those kinds of jobs?
>> well, very important. as you said, as you clarified, the president didn't say everybody has to go to college , they have to get a skill set. they have to get a year of community college . they need to get the skills that they need to succeed in the world of work. we've been saying for a long time, here in l.a. unified and school districts across the country, that we have to get folks career-ready or ready for college . and there's nothing -- that is what we absolutely have to do in this economy and i think that's all the president said.
>> there's not a job down there that doesn't require a high-tech orientation that isn't available in public high school classrooms.
>> well, that's true. look. i'm someone that believes my kids should go to college , and they have. and i believe that strongly. but it's clear from the economy and where the economy's going that to the extent that kids at least have a skill set, they're going to be more employable, they're going to be out of work for a shorter period of time. that's just a fact.
>> did you have a late night last night, as mayor of los angeles , on oscar night? you have semi-official duties. making sure everything is proceeding out there.
>> we had a late night .
>> plenty of parties and the governor's ball and all of that. and the winner "the artist" turns out to be the only movie that was shot entirely in los angeles . the only one.
>> well, remember, what's great about this industry is that it's 210,000 jobs. what i like to say, the people behind the camera, even more important than the people in front of it. that's why we should celebrate the academy awards and film and music in this town because it's really the lifeblood of the l.a. economy.
>> and keep the quality production in los angeles .
>> that's right.
>> los angeles mayor antonio villaraigosa , thank you very much for joining me tonight.
>> great to be with you.