Carmona takes a shot at Flake over education comments

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PHOENIX -- Democratic Senate candidate Richard Carmona ripped his potential Republican rival Friday for saying he'd kill the Department of Education.

Carmona said Congressman Jeff Flake's comments were "extreme" and highlight a long history trying to block education funding.

"This extreme view might make sense to an ideologue, but for Arizona families, it would be disastrous – as the Department of Education provides nearly $9 billion a year to Arizona schools," said Carmona's campaign in a press release.

The same statement also says Flake voted against bills to lower the costs of student loans and other financial steps to help college student pay for their degrees.

Flake made his comments about the education department to 3TV on Tuesday. Flake said, "The Department of Education, if we could eliminate that completely, I would do so."

The six-term congressman went on to say that a lot of what the department does can be pushed off onto other government agencies.

Flake is still running in a four-way Republican primary and is considered the front runner, especially now that wealthy businessman Wil Cardon has pulled back on his spending.

The other two Republican candidates are Clair Van Steenwyk and Bryan Hackbarth.

Unlike his Republican challengers, Carmona cleared the Democratic field and is running unopposed in the Aug. 28 primary.

Flake shot back Thursday at Carmona's remarks by attempting to linking him with Democratic President Barack Obama, who is unpopular political figure in Arizona.

"Democrat Richard Carmona’s unwavering faith in big government shows why he is President Obama’s handpicked candidate," Flake's spokesman Andrew Wilder said.

"He’s leading a negative campaign attacking Jeff Flake using tired liberal talking points to distract from the fact that he doesn’t have an original idea of his own to offer Arizona voters."

Flake also noted that he doesn't expect that abolishing education department will ever happen