In a recent editorial for USA Today, Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul clarified his plan to get the federal government out of student loans and derided the media for misrepresenting it:

My "Restore America" budget plan would eliminate five federal departments, including the Department of Education. But the aspect of that department that deals with student loans isn't eliminated — it's simply handled elsewhere in the budget. Yet the many headlines that came out after my interview Sunday on Meet the Press exclaimed that I wanted to "end" or "phase out" all student loans. In the long term — just like Social Security for people under the age of 25 — this is technically true. But to portray my budget plan as immediately getting rid of student loans is simply dishonest.

Paul blames federal student loans for driving up the cost of education to begin with, but sympathizes with students that are "slaves to massive debt simply for trying to get a college education." He believes that federal student loans must ultimately be eliminated, but there has to first be a period of transition. "Our economy is not healthy enough, nor are most Americans in a financial position at the moment, for any of these programs to be significantly altered now," he writes. 

He also criticized the media for attacking bold approaches to problems like funding Social Security and Medicare:

Anytime someone dares to seriously address the major problems posed to us by a government program, many in the news media accuse that person of wanting to hurt citizens in a reckless manner....

But constantly frightening Americans anytime someone dares to offer serious solutions is the easiest way to make sure there is never any transition, never any real reform, and never any recovery.

Read the whole thing here.

Reason's candidate profile on Paul is here. Recent Reason on Ron Paul here, here, and here; and on student loans here. Nick Gillespie discusses student loans on Freedom Watch below.

(Hat tip to the indefatigable Joe M.)