AUSTIN (KXAN) - Speaking to an energetic crowd on the University of Texas atAustin campus on Monday, President Obama said he is "absolutelycommitted" to making college affordable for everyone and financialaid for higher education easier to get.
"I’m absolutely committed to making sure that here, inAmerica, no one is denied a chance to go to college, no one isdenied a chance to pursue their dreams, no one is denied a chanceto make the most of their lives because they can’t affordit," Obama told the crowd of about 3,000 - most of them dressed inthe burnt orange colors of their Longhorns team. "We are a bettercountry than that, and we need to act like it."
PresidentObama's remarks also touched on minority education, the end ofthe war, and the economic crisis in his Monday speech to students,faculty and invited guests - the second stop on his whirlwind threehours in Austin
According to Rhonda Weldon with UT police, four people werearrested for criminal trespassing. She said no other incidentsoccurred that did not result in an arrest.
The presidenttouched down at Austin Bergstrom International Airport just beforenoon on Monday, greeted Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and headed towardthe first of two stops in Austin.
His office saidthe meeting at the airport comes after Perry originally requested asit-down meeting with the president, but WhiteHouse officials reportedly never got back to him. Democraticgubernatorial candidate Bill White was in West Texas for the dayand had no plans to meet up with the president at any point duringhis Texas visit on Monday.
From there, the president headed to a DemocraticNational Committee fundraising event at the Four SeasonsHotel in DowntownAustin. According to an e-mail to local Democrats, attendingthe fundraiser begins at $5,000 per person. For $30,400,contributors get special seating and a photo with thepresident.
On the menu: watermelon salad with tomato and basil crèmefraiche, duo of beef tenderloin with mushroom sauce and crab cake,chive-lemon risotto and sugar snap peas. Dessert was chilledlemon-vanilla bread pudding and blueberry compote.
From his Four Seasons speech, according to a pool report:
Obama criticized GOP economic policies, saying Republicans' bestplan was keeping the Bush tax cuts. He used a "car-in-ditch"analogy to describe economic situation and the R vs. D role infixing the problem.
"It's as if these guys took the car, drove it into the ditch,"he told the Democratic crowd. "So we put our boots on, walked downinto the ditch and the mud, we pushed and shoved. Meanwhile,they're standing back, they're watching us, drinking a Slurpee orsomething, saying, "Well, you're not pushing fast enough. Youshould push that way instead of that way.' They had a lot ofcommentary, but they sure weren't putting their shoulder behindpushing."
"Finally, we get this car up on level ground. Finally weget it back on the road. And these guys turn to us and say, 'Giveus the keys back.' Well, no, you can't have the keys back, becauseyou don't know how to drive."
He joked: "In a car, when you want to go forward, you put it inD. When you want to go backward, you put it in R. That's nocoincidence."
During the speech, three people were detained outside the gym.One anti-war protester, and Robin Schneider of Texas Campaign forthe Environment, who was trying to get people to sign a petitionfor reduction of water bottles. Information was unavailable on thethird detention.
Four people were arrested by campus police and all released at midnight on $20 bond each.
Hundreds of UT students stood in line early Saturday morning fora chance to get free tickets to the event.
During the speech, Obama is expected to remind people about thesteps he's taken with the Democratic-led Congress to funnel moremoney to colleges.
Following the UT speech, Obama will fly to Dallas for anotherfundraising event.
KXAN Austin News will carry the UT speechlive on KXAN-TV and KXAN.com at 2 p.m.
Karen Brooks, Chrissy Mazzone, Jackie Vega, Kimberly Reeves and Kate Weidaw contributed to this report.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
The chairman of a House committee mulling impeachment of embattled University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall says it's a "slap in the face" that he refuses to testify.
Personally identifiable information of unemployment insurance benefit claimants may have been breached from JP Morgan Chase servers.
The all-new Mac Pro, assembled in Austin, will be available to order starting Thursday.
North Texas prosecutors are trying a second time to imprison a teen who was sentenced last week to 10 years' probation for drunkenly driving his truck into four pedestrians, killing them all.
After three months of sitting in the middle of Lady Bird Lake, the art installation known as the "Thirst Tree" is being taken down.
Some parents have raised concerns that a lockdown drill at an Austin school surprised and unnecessarily scared children and teachers.