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Chelsea Clinton

C. Clinton

Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton, emphasized to a Madison crowd on Thursday that her mother was the Democratic presidential candidate who could make progress with lawmakers of both parties.

Part of that was being able to develop a realistic way to fund a plan to make college more affordable — a contrast from her mother’s opponent, independent Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Chelsea Clinton said.

Sanders has proposed providing free college tuition to any student at a public university or community college. The price tag is estimated at $750 billion over 10 years, paid in part through imposing fees on stock trades, bonds and derivatives with the rest coming from state funding.

“One of the things that I’ve heard really resonates with voters is his now quite famous pledge to give free college tuition to anyone at a public university or community college,” Chelsea Clinton told reporters on Thursday. “Yet I think when people really look at how he would do that, it’s partly through (fees), but largely through expecting states to come up with hundreds of billions of dollars Day One.”

She said the bill for Wisconsin alone would hit $11 billion.

“Your governor and state Legislature cut $250 million from public funding in 2015 alone, so it’s hard to imagine they would want to or even have the budget capacity to come up with $11 billion to fund his pledge,” Chelsea Clinton said.

“It matters to me that (Hillary Clinton) doesn’t commit to things that she doesn’t have direct control over and that she knows kind of aren’t likely in the current political environment, in which we have 31 Republican governors, all of whom have cut public education the last couple of years.”

Hillary Clinton has her own college affordability plan that would cost about $350 billion over 10 years. It would be paid for by limiting tax expenditures for high-earning taxpayers.

Chelsea Clinton said her mom would be visiting Wisconsin before the April 5 primary but was not sure when.

Capital W: Plug in to Wisconsin politics

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