“Hello, Cyclones!”, President Obama said before a crowd of 6,000, most of them students, on the Iowa State University campus. It was the second trip of 3 for the president in just 2 weeks in Iowa. Two students listening in both consider themselves supporters. But they offer numbers that show some of the challenges before the president for him to again win over young voters this November. Kella Olson, senior from Lake Mills, plans to become an English teacher. She said she recently asked her parents for a loan to help her pay her education bills, which will bring loans to more than $25,000. Olson said classmates worry about the job market, which could calm their enthusiasm for re-electing the president. Olson said, “Making college more affordable is definitely an issue. Then, after graduation, it’s like…what’s next? Do I have a job or not?”
Peter Effertz, a senior from Minnesota, hopes to work for the National Weather Service as a meteorologist. He estimates, “I’ll end up about $40,000 in debt.”
Debt and job worries could challenge young people to turn out in such strong force as they did in 2008 for Obama. Effertz said, “A lot of the recent graduates have a tough time and that's on the minds of everybody."
To win over their minds, the president played the part of professor, of sort, with a history lesson of the past 4 years. The president said, “We doubled grant aid for millions of students. We just won the fight to keep federal student loans from doubling for more than 7 million students.”
And he pointed out he fought to make sure students can stay on their parents insurance plan until they are 26, thanks to his health care act, which he admits, he doesn’t mind now calling “Obamacare.” The president countered that with what he said his opponent, Republican Mitt Romney, would do. He said, “After taking the oath of office and going to the inaugural ball, he'd sit right down, grab a pen and kick 7 million young people off their parents' plan by repealing health reform. Day 1. That’s what he says he's going to do. Maybe we should call his plan Romney doesn't care because I do care."
In his closing statements, the president offered much of the fire on this fiery afternoon that Iowans heard often when he campaigned the state 4 years ago. Before the students, he went old school. He said, “If you’re willing to stand with me, work with me and knock on some doors with me, phone call for me and if you're willing to vote for me in November we will win Iowa. We will win this election. We will finish what we started."
Romney's campaign countered with a full-page ad in the Iowa State Daily. It pointed out more students are unemployed and underemployed, more now live with their parents, and they and the country are more in debt than when Obama took office