The Washington Times - April 20, 2012, 03:53PM

The White House Friday attempted to brush off concerns that President Obama’s decision to travel next week to Iowa, North Carolina and Colorado — all considered swing states in the 2012 election — was motivated by political interests.

The president plans to speak at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Iowa on Tuesday and Wednesday to urge Congress to pass legislation to keep student loans at the current low rate of 3.4 percent.

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Facing a barrage of reporters’ questions about the travel to the three swing states, White House spokesman Jay Carney argued that the press is spending too much time focusing on Mr. Obama’s travel to battleground states, noting that he had given major speeches in non-swing states such as Oklahoma and Kansas in recent months.

Kansas, Mr. Carney said, is “generally not viewed as up for grabs,” he said.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who called the three colleges “major flagship universities,” said he could “care less about politics and ideology” and instead was solely focused on trying to ensure that middle-class Americans can afford a college education.

“We have to educate our way to a better economy,” Mr. Duncan said. “That’s not a Republican issue, that’s not a Democratic issue.”