Washington (CNN) - Call it the battle for the youth vote.
As President Barack Obama heads to three battleground states this week to push for an extension of a law that cuts interest rates on a popular federal student loan program for low and middle income undergraduates, Mitt Romney agreed with him on the issue.
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"With the number of college graduates who can't find work, or who can only find work well beneath their skill level, I fully support the effort to extend the low interest rate on student loans," said the all-but-certain Republican presidential nominee Monday, while talking with reporters prior to a campaign event in Astor, Pennsylvania.
The president will visit the University of North Carolina, the University of Colorado and the University of Iowa on Tuesday and Wednesday. The three universities are in states Obama narrowly won in the 2008 election and are considered battleground states again in 2012, meaning they are expected to be heavily contested by both parties in the general election.
The president blames Republicans for serving as a roadblock to make college more affordable for middle class families.
"This is a question of values," Obama said Saturday, in his weekly internet and radio address. "We cannot let America become a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of people struggle to get by."
The president wants to extend a provision that keeps interest rates on federally subsidized student loans at 3.4%. The rate passed with bipartisan support five years ago, but is set to expire on July 1. Without the extension, the rate would return to 6.8%.
Obama will also appear on Jimmy Fallon's late night talk show Tuesday to pitch the extension. And his re-election campaign is also pushing for the extension with national and state events.
In a midday conference call organized by the Obama campaign, Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa said, "This is personal for the president, first lady, and me. We all attended college on loans and worked to pay them off."
The senator noted 70% of all Iowa students graduate with a debt load averaging $30,000.
Harkin, the Senate Education Committee Chairman, was joined on the call with Eileen O'Leary, former president of the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and OFA Policy Director James Kvaal.
The push also includes New Hampshire, another battleground state.
In advance of what's being billed by Mitt Romney's Republican presidential campaign as a major speech Tuesday night in New Hampshire, Granite State Democrats are holding an event where they will slam the all-but-certain GOP nominee for supporting the House Republican budget, which Democrats say would double student loan interest rates.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who's making his second bid for the White House, is hoping to make a dent in Obama's support from younger voters.
"Ultimately, what young Americans want and need is a new president who will champion lasting and permanent policy changes that both address the rising cost of a college education and get our economy really growing again," said Romney in a statement Monday.
Then-Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois won two-thirds of the 18 to 29 year-old vote in the 2008 presidential election, according to national exit polls. That was up 12-points from the 54% of the 18 to 29 year-old vote that Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, carried four years earlier.
Making sure that younger voters show up at the polls and cast ballots for the Democratic ticket could be crucial to Obama's chances of winning re-election in November. A CNN/ORC International poll released last week indicated Obama leading Romney by a two-to-one margin among voters between the ages of 18 and 34.
- CNN White House Producer Alexander Mooney contributed to this report.