Politics & Policy

Obama Dings Ben Carson and Liberal College Students

President Obama speaks in Des Moines, Iowa. (Steve Pope/Getty)

President Obama weighed in on the debate about political correctness on college campuses, warning liberal college students that they don’t “get to be protected from different points of view.”

Obama took up the issue during a town hall at an Iowa high school.“I’ve heard of some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative,” he said on Monday. “Or they don’t want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African Americans, or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women. And I’ve got to tell you, I don’t agree with that either. I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of views.”

Obama’s comments place him on the conservative side of a debate that is playing out across the country, as everyone from comedians to college administrators monitor the boundaries of acceptable discourse. 

Comedian Sarah Silverman, a longtime supporter of Obama, took the opposite approach. “You have to listen to the college-aged, because they lead the revolution,” Silverman told Vanity Fair in an interview published Monday. “They’re pretty much always on the right side of history.”

#share#Obama offered his view after a high-school student asked, without mentioning his name, about Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson’s suggestion that schools that show “extreme bias” ought to lose federal funding. “First of all, I didn’t hear this candidate say that,” Obama replied.“I have no idea what that means. I suspect he doesn’t either.”

And, in a reminder that not all revolutions are good, he suggested that such a government policy “might work in the Soviet Union, but it doesn’t work here.”

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