President Obama has begun campaigning exclusively at universities, basking in the warmth of rapturous receptions from impressionable young things while targeting a key voting bloc that backs him fervently but often fails to make it to the polls.
Including today’s scheduled appearance at the University of Miami, each of Obama’s last five campaign rallies has been staged before students, bringing him to the campuses of Ohio State University, Cleveland State University, George Mason University, and the University of Wisconsin.
Only one campaign rally by the president in October was held off-campus, an appearance at Sloan’s Lake Park in Denver Oct. 4. Otherwise, all of Obama’s traditional campaigning has been at schools.
The president has made other campaign-related appearances this month, but all have involved preaching the the choir at fundraisers at off-campus locations, since students have votes but no money.
The president in this crucial month hasn’t made in-person voting appeals to most of the constituencies he claims to view as so important: no appearances in an inner city or a Hispanic community, none before seniors or union members, and just one rally in a middle class suburb, Sloan’s Lake.
A sampling from a couple of press pool reports makes clear why Obama thinks the Kids are Alright.
After his Oct. 5 appearance at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, the pooler noted:
After a rousing event at George Mason, the motorcade is rolling . . .
Following his Oct. 4 speech before 30,000 students at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, the pooler wrote:
As POTUS’ motorcade sped through campus on the way out, thousands of people lined the streets cheering and waving.
But a pool report earlier in the day at the Sloan’s Park rally suggested the problems that can pop up when Obama is exposed to adults who are out of school and contending with the current job market:
There were a couple of protesters in the crowd. One man held up a grocery bag with “Trade Vote 4 Work” scrawled on it. Another held up a sign that said, “Last job in the USA? No exp needed! Just votes.”
In 2008, 66 percent of those under 30 voted for Obama. With Obamamania at a far lower boil than four years ago, the president will need to do everything he can to get his young admirers to turn out.