Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended her college affordability initiative Monday by criticizing her opponent Bernie Sanders' proposal and name-dropping Republican front-runner Donald Trump, Politico reported. Speaking at a "Today" show town hall event Monday morning, Clinton suggested she wanted students to have debt-free tuition, not free college overall, the latter of which could benefit people like billionaire Trump's children.
Clinton was responding to a question from an audience member who attended Monday's show with her grandson. The grandmother asked Clinton how she would make college more affordable, and Clinton brought up her $350 billion New College Compact. The New College Compact, released in August, would give free tuition to community college students but make public college families "do their part" in paying for higher education, like making "realistic contributions" and having students work 10 hours a week.
That differed from Sanders' plan, which would eliminate tuition at all public four-year colleges and universities. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, also running for the Democratic nomination, has proposed his own debt-free college plan.
"I think everyone who goes to a public college or university should be able to do that without having to borrow a penny to pay tuition," Clinton said Monday. "I'm a little different from those who say 'free for everybody.' I'm not in favor of making college free for Donald Trump's kids. I'm in favor of making college free for your grandson by having no-debt tuition."
Politico noted that two Trump children have graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and one was a student there now. Another Trump son attended Georgetown University. Penn and Georgetown are both private universities, so the Democratic candidates' public college plans wouldn't affect them.
The Washington Examiner reported that Monday's "Today" show appearance was one of Clinton's first times publicly criticizing Sanders, but her refrain was not new. She previously told the Des Moines Register she was "not going to give free college to wealthy kids" or people who don't "put their own effort into their education." On the campaign trail, she frequently mentions that she took out a student loan to attend Yale Law School and worked while in college.