Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed Pete Buttigieg after he criticized calls for tuition-free public college as too radical.
"I believe we should move to make college affordable for everybody," the mayor of South Bend, Indiana says in a new campaign ad in Iowa, which a Politico reporter shared on Twitter.
"There are some voices saying, 'well that doesn't count unless you go even further, unless it's free even for the kids of millionaires,' but I only want to make promises that we can keep," Buttigieg continues. "We can gather the majority to drive those big ideas through without turning off half the country before we even get into office."
Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren — two of Buttigieg's key opponents in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination — have proposed plans for tuition-free public college and forgiveness of student debt.
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"This is a GOP talking point used to dismantle public systems, & it's sad to see a Dem candidate adopt it," she wrote. "Just like rich kids can attend public school, they should be able to attend tuition-free public college."
"Universal public systems are designed to benefit EVERYBODY!" she continued. "Everyone contributes & everyone enjoys. We don't ban the rich from public schools, firefighters, or libraries bc they are public goods."
Ocasio-Cortez argued an advantage of universal systems is that "everyone's invested," and the risk of "carving people out & adding asterisks" is that "cracks in the system develop."
She added that "many children of the elite want to go to private, Ivyesque schools anyway," which could still charge tuition fees under the policy.
Finally, she argued classrooms benefit from having a mix of wealthy and less affluent students.
"I can't believe we have to remind people of this, but it's GOOD to have classrooms (from pre-k through college) to be socioeconomically integrated," she wrote.
"Having students from different incomes & backgrounds in the same classroom is good for society & economic mobility."
You can watch the Buttigieg campaign ad below: