MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Democrat Russ Feingold has launched a new attack against Republican Sen. Ron Johnson over college loan debt with a television ad that comes as Johnson is facing heat for talking about busting up the higher education "cartel."
The Feingold ad released Tuesday replays Johnson comments from a 2015 town hall where he said that student loans were easy to obtain and some students see them as "free money." Feingold's ad says that Johnson wants to eliminate federal student loans and "keep interest rates high."
The ad comes after Johnson last week called for getting rid of the "higher education cartel" and advocated for showing the Ken Burns PBS documentary on the Civil War to teach the subject.
Burns tweeted Tuesday "I'm here to support teachers, not replace them."
I'm here to support teachers, not replace them. https://t.co/AXaSE0z0uD
— Ken Burns (@KenBurns) August 23, 2016
Johnson suggested colleges could cut the number of instructors and increase use of online videos.
"Why do you have to keep paying different lecturers to teach the same course? You get one solid lecturer and put it up online," Johnson said. "If you want to teach the Civil War across the country, are you better off having, I don't know, tens of thousands of history teachers, who, you know, kind of know the subject? Or would you be better off popping in 14 hours of Ken Burns' Civil War tape and having those teachers proctor based on that excellent video production already done? You keep duplicating that over all these different subject areas."
Johnson, of Oshkosh, is locked in a tight re-election battle with Feingold. Johnson ousted Feingold from the Senate in 2010, ending Feingold's 18-year stay in the chamber.