Obama targets college message to Scranton, Pa. audience

    Barack Obama

    President Obama puts his hand to his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance at the 102nd Abraham Lincoln Association banquet in Springfield, Ill., in 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

    President Barack Obama is leaving Scranton after a visit to tout his plan for college affordability as a way to keep down student debt and improve the earning power of more young people.

    The Friday evening visit to Lackawanna College was Obama’s first to Pennsylvania in over a year.

    During his speech, he noted that states have been cutting higher education budgets and then singled out cuts to education spending in Pennsylvania under Gov. Tom Corbett as “brutal.”

    Corbett, who’s running for re-election next year, responded in a campaign statement that blamed money from Obama’s recessionary aid to states for “artificially” increasing Pennsylvania’s education budget to unsustainable levels.

    Obama appeared with two Scranton natives, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and Vice President Joe Biden, as he ended a two-day swing through New York and Pennsylvania.

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