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Originally published Saturday, May 4, 2013 at 10:54 AM

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Obama: Unsure whether expanded pre-K will pass

President Barack Obama says he's not sure whether he can get Congress to pass his plan to dramatically expand pre-kindergarten in the U.S.

The Associated Press

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SAN JOSE, Costa Rica —

President Barack Obama says he's not sure whether he can get Congress to pass his plan to dramatically expand pre-kindergarten in the U.S.

He says it's difficult to pay for it and that quality control is a challenge.

Obama this year proposed paying for expanded pre-K by nearly doubling the federal tax on cigarettes. He says you get two benefits from the tax: Lower health care costs and improved early education.

Obama says early education shouldn't be an add-on to the U.S. education system, but part of the larger strategy. He says pre-K has the biggest, in his words, "bang for the buck" in improving educational outcomes.

Obama spoke Saturday at an economic development forum in San Jose on the last day of his trip to Costa Rica and Mexico.

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