Obama woos youth vote as Republicans tout appeal


President Barack Obama speaks during his appearance at the University of Chapel Hill on April 24, 2012 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The President delivered remarks as part of an effort to get Congress to prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling in July.


Sara D. Davis

On the first stop of his three-campus tour to appeal to young voters, President Obama focused on the burden of student loans in an attempt to recapture the youth vote that had propelled him to office four years ago, according to The New York Times.

Speaking to students at the Chapel Hill campus of the University of North Carolina, Obama personalized the issue by talking about his and Michelle Obama's struggles with academic loans when they first got married.

He said, "We only finished paying off our student loans about eight years ago … We’re supposed to be saving up for (our daughters’) college educations and we’re still paying off our college education," according to The Los Angeles Times.

Obama also criticized Congressional Republicans for not acting to stop the interests rates on federally subsidized student loans from doubling to 6.8 percent come July 1.

Obama said, "We can't make higher education a luxury; it's an economic imperative," according to Bloomberg.

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Republicans, including presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney, have said they would like to reach a deal on student loans. However, some Republicans have said Obama has no plan to pay for the lower student loan rates, while others have pointed out that the lack of jobs is the real issue, according to The LA Times.

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, said, "This is just another effort by the president to distract from his economic record that is leaving 50 percent of new graduates jobless or underemployed," according to USA Today.

Romney, speaking on Monday before the primaries held in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut and Delaware, said, "I think young voters in this country have to vote for me if they're really thinking of what's in the best interest of the country and what's in their personal best interest," according to The Christian Science Monitor.

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According to data provided by the Republican National Committee, Republican registrations between the ages of 18 and 24 in North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa have all increased since 2008, reported Politico.

Hank Brown, a surrogate for Romney, said on Tuesday, "We have a younger, more dynamic Republican candidate. Gov. Romney obviously has a strong appeal, for a Republican to get elected in Massachusetts … [Romney] is a much stronger candidate with regard to youth and personal qualities," according to Politico.

A survey released by the Harvard Institute of Politics today showed Obama leading Romney by 17 points among voters between the ages of 18 and 29.

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