WASHINGTON -- President Obama on Tuesday kicks off a new campaign push on the issue of education, part of an effort to highlight how a budget proposal offered in Congress by GOP vice presidential pick Paul Ryan would affect key areas beyond Medicare. Ryan's proposals have been the focus of skirmishing since Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney added the Wisconsin lawmaker to the ticket.
Obama is returning to college campuses to make that pitch to voters in crucial states at both ends of the country, Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, and Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno.
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Democratic officials call education "one of the most important economic issues facing our nation." Obama is expected to contrast the Romney-Ryan proposals with steps his administration has taken to bolster education as part of its effort to grow the middle class.
Tied to the education message, Obama's campaign released online tools that demonstrate how administration policies have saved college graduates from burdensome loan payments immediately upon graduation.
New state-specific reports from the campaign also lay out a contrast between what Democrats say Obama policies have meant for higher education and what a Ryan budget model would produce. In Nevada, the campaign argues, Obama's expansion of Pell Grants aided 41,000 students, while Romney and Ryan would cut tuition aid to pay for upper-end tax cuts.
The push has added resonance in Nevada. Earlier this month, the administration approved the state's request for a waiver from No Child Left Behind, becoming the 33rd state to receive such flexibility.
A Democratic National Committee video, set to the tune of "Better Shop Around," also hits Romney for answers to questions about college affordability that included encouraging students to look for the best bargains or borrow money from their parents.
Obama is to round out the two-day campaign trip on Thursday with an event at a North Las Vegas high school before traveling to New York for fundraising events.