Colleges across the country were allowed to participate in a press conference call with Jill Biden, Stephanie Cutter and Cecile Richards Oct. 25 to discuss their stances on a few issues the nation is facing.
The three women held the press meeting to share their positions on hot topics ranging from Planned Parenthood to the war in Iraq. They also answered questions presented to them by different college students across the country.
Jill Biden, educator and wife of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, began by saying that tuition for college students is lower today—scholarships included—than it was five years ago and that the current administration has worked toward doubling the funding for Pell Grants.
Biden said there is a “restructured” student loan program so students can pay back their student loans at a fixed percentage of their income and “go after that job they’ve been dreaming of instead of one that just pays the bills.”
Biden also spoke of her stepson, Beau Biden, “Teaching isn’t the only part of who I am. I am also a military mom. Our son, Beau, served in Iraq for a year with the Delaware Army National Guard. When Joe and Barak were elected, like so many of us, one of my biggest hopes was that we would end the war in Iraq. The president kept his promise. Our troops are home from the war in Iraq, and we’re on our way to responsibly ending the war in Afghanistan.”
Biden said that the country has seen the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and jobs are being created, not lost. She said that “forward”— which is the Obama campaign’s slogan — means that unemployment is at its lowermost since the president took office, and foreclosure is at its lowest level since 2007.
“Forward means that no matter what, we keep fighting so that everyone has a fair shot at building a better life for themselves, no matter who they are or where they come from, what they look like or who they love,” Biden said.
Political consultant Stephanie Cutter, who currently serves as deputy campaign manager for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, said “The president says this all the time, ‘If you work hard and play fair, you should have a shot at things like a good education, a good paying job, the chance to own your own home, start a business and live your dream.’”
She said that during the last four years both the president and vice president have been fighting for the middle class and a sense of security for them. Cutter also talked about how Obamacare will benefit citizens, “If you get sick, you won’t go broke.”
“The president and vice president also know that we have a lot of work to do,” Cutter said.
“Throughout the year the president has been on the campaign trail, outlining a ‘concrete specific’ plan for a second term in office.”
Cecile Richards, a Democratic Party activist and president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America since 2006, said she is on leave from Planned Parenthood to campaign full time for Obama.
“Under the Affordable Care Act, I think as many of you know, you can stay on your parents insurance until you’re 26,” Richards said.
She said that when she visited college campuses across the country, every student she spoke with said they were on their parent’s insurance.
Richards also said under the act, women don’t have to pay out of pocket for birth control. She said the president has been “unrelenting” in his beliefs that the “constitutional rights” women have to privacy stand, and women, not politicians, can make their own decisions concerning healthcare.
Allison, a student from the University of Colorado at Boulder asked Richards how the act benefits college students and how Planned Parenthood helps young men.
“Parents can save money by keeping their children on an insurance plan. As far as planned parenthood goes, a service already provided by the group allows men to get tested for STDs and treatment for those diseases. Also, many of them join their partners in this service or they come in with girlfriends when the women go in for birth control,” Richards said.
Benjamin, a University of Wisconsin-Whitewater student, asked Richards what her take is on the survival of Planned Parenthood if Gov. Mitt Romney wins the election. He noted that the program has survived for years under other Republican presidents.
“Even though it has survived under the other Republican administrations, those presidents never defunded the program,” Richards said. “Federal funding is only provided for preventive care such as breast exams, pap smears, STD testing and birth control.”
“Vice president candidate, Paul Ryan, has already voted to cut funding for the program and Gov. Romney has pledged to do the same thing,” she said.
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