Give President Obama some credit — when he was asked to comment on the wave of protests sweeping colleges across the country, he didn't fully capitulate.

While he did praise the protesters, he noted that they needed to hear the other side and make sure they were "engaging in a dialogue."

"The civil rights movement happened because there was civil disobedience, because people were willing to go to jail, because there were events like Bloody Sunday, but it was also because the leadership of the movement consistently stayed open to the possibility of reconciliation and sought to understand the views, even views that were appalling to them, of the other side," Obama told ABC host George Stephanopoulos.

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Obama said he teaches his daughters to stand up for those who lack a voice, but also to hear the other side of the argument.

"I don't want you to think that a display of your strength is simply shutting other people up, and that part of your ability to bring about change is going to be by engagement and understanding the viewpoints and the arguments of the other side," Obama said.

This is the second time Obama has publicly defended free speech on college campuses. At a town hall event on Sept. 14, the president told an audience that speakers should be allowed to give speeches on college campuses, even if students don't like what they'll say.

"I've heard of some college campuses where they don't want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative or they don't want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African-Americans or somehow sends a demeaning signal toward women," Obama said. "I've got to tell you, I don't agree with that, either. I don't agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of view."

Obama made similar comments to Stephanopoulos, but left out the part about students needing to be coddled. He suggested students argue with those they disagree with rather than try to keep them from speaking.

"You don't have to be fearful of somebody spouting bad ideas," Obama said. "Just out-argue them. Beat them. Make the case as to why they're wrong."

Obama said he was "worried" that young people were becoming "trained" to think that if they disagree with someone, that if their feelings get hurt, their "only recourse is to shut them up."

(h/t The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education)