BINGHAMTON, N.Y. —
Before taking questions, Obama gave a prepared speech focusing on his vision to make college education more affordable, repeating many points he had underscored a day earlier at the University at Buffalo.
He criticized Republican proposals to slice spending for science and education programs, saying such cuts would cause long-term harm.
“That’s like eating your corn seed, you know?" he said. "It’s like being penny-wise and pound-foolish.”
The president loosened up during the question-and-answer session, cracking a joke when he took a question from a woman clad in an Obama T-shirt.
"If you want to get called on, wear the president's face on a shirt," he said to a burst of laughter.
A graduate of Harvard Law School, Obama made a bit of news on a surprising front when he opined in response to one question that he believes three-year law school programs could be consolidated into two years.
Before making that declaration, he quipped: "This is probably controversial to say, but what the heck? I’m in my second term, so I can say it."
As for his reasoning, he said, “In the first two years, young people are learning in the classroom. The third year, they’d be better off clerking or practicing in a firm even if they weren't getting paid that much, but that step alone would reduce the costs for the student.”
Joe Mahoney is a reporter for The Daily Star of Oneonta, N.Y.