President Barack Obama held a conference call Tuesday afternoon with 24 U.S. university news outlets, including the CU Independent, to touch base with college students on the importance of their votes and opinions for the upcoming election.
“There has been some talk about whether young people are going to get involved or turn out [this election], but the fact of the matter is that we’ve seen in the past, and we’re going to see again this time, the kind of difference that young voters make,” Obama said.
President Barack Obama discusses Stafford student loans at the Coors Event Center during a visit to CU last spring. (CU Independent File/Robert R. Denton)
In his remarks, Obama owed his successes in the White House to the young voter turnout in the 2008 election. According to Pew Research Center, 45 percent of citizens ages 18-29 registered under Democratic affiliation and 66 percent voted for him.
“I’m visiting college campuses today and tomorrow because I see the kind of changes that you’ve been able to bring about,” Obama said, referring to his late-Tuesday event at Colorado State University and Wednesday event at Iowa State University.
Erik Veal, a senior at North Carolina A&T State University, inquired about the president’s plans for securing college students’ jobs after graduation. Obama responded that ensuring a strong manufacturing base and, “making sure that young people have greater awareness of where the new jobs are going to be,” is how he plans to continue job growth for young people in America.
Identifying “cutting-edge businesses” and partnering them with institutions of higher education will allow young people to be “keyed into what the next wave of the economy is going to be,” Obama said.
His Community College to Career Fund is estimated to establish 2 million jobs by fulfilling positions in high-demand industries such as nanotechnology.
“On every issue, just about, young people are going to see a real clear choice, whether it’s on affording college, where Gov. Romney’s main advice was ‘borrow money from your parents’ – an option obviously not available to a lot of people, or do we take the approach I’ve suggested which is making sure you guys get help and we’re keeping tuition low,” Obama said.
Obama said negative political advertisements contributed to the declining turnout of young voters often seen in elections.
“The other side knows that its position on a lot of these issues just isn’t very popular, so they’re going to put just millions of dollars of negative ads and false attacks on the air and they’re hoping that young people, if they don’t vote for them, just don’t vote at all,” he said.
“I hope all of you let your readers know that this election has consequences,” Obama said. “Regardless of who they support, I want to make sure that as many students as possible are voting this year, I hope, once again young people take their futures into their own hands, and if they do then I’m optimistic that we can rebuild the economy and protect the promise of this country and remind the world why America’s the greatest nation on Earth.”
The president arrived in Fort Collins, Colo. hours after the conference call, where he spoke to a crowd of 13,000 people.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Alison Noon at Alison.email@example.com.
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