Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has just wrapped up a tour of six Iowa college campuses as his campaign seeks to encourage college-aged voters to participate in the Caucuses. During a rally Wednesday at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Obama issued a direct call to the students there.
"If you’re going to be away for the holidays come back on January 3rd at 6:30 p.m. and Caucus," Obama said, as some in the crowd laughed. "It is something that is critical for you to do." The audience broke out in applause. Obama told the students he will expect more of them than just a vote.
"I don’t want you just caucusing for me, although I want you caucusing for me," Obama said, as the students laughed. "I will ask for your service and your active citizenship when I am president of the United States." Cornell student Heidi Mitchell plans to Caucus in her hometown of Dubuque and she may support Obama.
"I’ve seen a lot of people my age graduate college unsure of what they want to do with their lives, unsure of what direction they want to take with the education they’ve received and I think a lot of his AmeriCorps, EnergyCorps initiatives would provide those youth who seem disengaged after graduation with a better sense of how they might serve their country," she says. Monique Portwood, another Cornell student, is an Obama supporter. She worked the crowd at her college, handing out cards to students seeking their signed commitment to caucus for Obama. Portwood is coming back from Milwaukee to Caucus on January 3rd.
"Wisconsin is a swing state itself, but I believe that my vote will be a lot more effective here in Iowa," she says. Obama rallied with students at Iowa State University in Ames last Sunday and over the past two days he visited with students at Grinnell College, the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa and Wartburg College as well as Cornell. Obama’s drive to encourage out-of-state students like Portwood to return to Iowa and caucus for him has drawn criticism from some quarters.