President Obama’s romance with college students is over — but Obama is trying hard to get it back.
By the end of October, Obama will have spoken on at least five different college campuses, participated in a town hall broadcast on MTV, appeared in Rolling Stone, and answered questions from hundreds of college journalists on a conference call–all in one month.
A new AP/mtvU poll says 44 percent of Americans aged 18-24 approve of Obama’s job performance, while 27 percent disapprove. That’s a marked shift from the results of the same poll in May 2009 when 60 percent approved and only 15 percent disapproved.
Thursday, Obama answered questions from college students and Twitter users during a townhall forum broadcast on MTV, BET and CMT. Despite reports that MTV asked for “light questions” during their “casting process,” the questions asked during the forum were fairly topical, and some critical of the president.
“When you were first elected, it seemed as though the sky was falling in terms of the economy. There was a bailout that you supported, there was stimulus that added to our deficit, but yet it seems as though our unemployment rate still rises. You said it won’t go past 8 percent and now it’s at 9.4 percent,” Adam Hunter said. “So, my question to you is: Why should we still support you going forward with your economic policies and if the economy does not improve over the next years, why should we vote you back in?”
Responding to the question, Obama spoke about the majority of the job loss taking place before he took office and prior to the stimulus bill. “So, it (the stimulus bill) worked, in terms of helping to cushion the fall,” Obama said.
During his conference call with student journalists and in his interview with Rolling Stone, Obama was more focused on voter turnout than politics, however.
“You can’t sit it out,” Obama told student reporters. “You can’t suddenly just check in once every ten years or so on an exciting presidential election and then not pay attention during big midterm elections where we have a real big choice between Democrats and Republicans.”
The White House’s youth vote press blitz will continue next week, with Obama scheduled to appear at Ohio State on Sunday, at the University of Southern California on October 22, according to the Daily Trojan.