Hillary Clinton declares war on paperwork
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Say goodbye to the FAFSA form if Hillary Clinton is elected president.
Reducing student loan paperwork may not qualify as a marquee issue like ending the Iraq war and establishing a universal health-care system. But it’s one way Clinton can portray herself as a detail-oriented policy wonk who will make voters’ lives easier.
While her rival Barack Obama delivers a broad message of hope and change, Clinton’s speeches are so laden with specifics you can almost see the bullet points.
For voters who deal with the federal bureaucracy on a regular basis, that can be an appealing proposition.
“The day I retired from the military, I became a third-class citizen,” one man told her during a question-and-answer session here. “I just wanted to thank you for what you’re doing for the veterans.”
Fayetteville is located next to the U.S. Army’s Fort Bragg, and Clinton spent much of her time discussing the difficulties faced by veterans. Surrounded by several retired military officials, Clinton promised to bolster a broad range of veterans programs from health care and tuition assistance to home loans.
She was cheered when she mentioned the shortcomings of Tricare, the military health plan.
And she promised to mothball FASFA, short for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, a form evidently much hated by the students forced to fill it out.
Clinton’s willingness to talk specifics was an important asset for Keith Zeigler, a Navy veteran who said Obama’s affluent, youthful supporters don’t have to worry about navigating the United States’ paltry safety net.
“They go to college to party. They have the money to pay their way out of trouble,” said Zeigler, who said he couldn’t afford to go to college and now drives a truck.
“They’re not educated in the ways of the real world,” he said.