(CNN) – Steps by both political parties to court younger voters on Tuesday proved it's the youth voting bloc's turn to come under the national spotlight, attention that will continue through the November general election.
President Barack Obama will spend Tuesday and Wednesday at Universities in North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa to push for an extension of a law that cuts interest rates for a student loan program for low and middle income undergraduates. Although Mitt Romney on Monday said he agrees with the proposed extension, his campaign dispatched supporters ahead of the president's travels to explain why young voters should back the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
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The group has been a reliably Democratic voting bloc and turned out in record numbers to support Obama in 2008. But Team Romney unsurprisingly predicted a shift toward their candidate given the economic climate for young people in the United States.
Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois, who is currently the youngest member of Congress, said the president's rhetoric has not translated into a better culture for the targeted voters.
"The reality is there's not been opportunity for young people as they've graduated from college," Schock said on a conference call with reporters. "Half of the young people who graduated last year are still unemployed or underemployed. Nearly the same percent still live with their parents."
The chairman of the College Republican National Committee said his demographic has been "disproportionally hurt" by the president's administration. The current youth unemployment rate is double that for all Americans, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"Young people who are sitting here, not better off three and a half years later will see that they didn't get the hope and change they were sold in 2008," Alex Schriver said on the same call.
Voters between the ages of 18 and 29 supported then-candidate Obama over then-Republican nominee Sen. John McCain in 2008 66% to 32%, according to CNN exit polling.
But former senator and University of Colorado President Hank Brown said Romney is a "younger and more dynamic Republican candidate" than McCain.
However, Obama has maintained his lead among the group according to the latest CNN/ORC International poll, with 64% to Romney's 32% support.
The president will advocate this week on behalf of an extension to a bill that will keep student loans at 3.4% during his university swing through battleground states he captured in 2008. Without the extension, the rate would return to 6.8% when the current legislation expires on July 1.
Obama blames Republicans for serving as a roadblock to making higher education more affordable. While he has pushed to expand access to college for low- and middle-income students, members of Congress have taken steps to chip away at student aid, including cutting billions from the Pell Grant.
All signs now point to the president using his position to urge lawmakers to prevent a doubling of interest rates on federally subsidized student loans.
"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."
– CNNMoney’s Charles Riley contributed to this report.
I can't wait (on second thought, I can) to see Willard's five HEALTHY son's out there on the campaign trail explaining why they HAVE NEVER served this country and how TOUGH it is to go to college these days when you ONLY have a 20 million dollar trust fund. It should really be entertaining.
Young people will NOT trn out for romney. NO WAY. He will also not get get a single ron paul vote either. He has NO shot at winning, heck, even bohner knows it, and is getting ready to hand over the gavel...
I suspect Romney is assuring himself that his position on college loan interest costs will win him the Presidency, so he can try to change his tune after he is elected. How can this man be trusted?
And that tacky sales job is supposed to work, Mitt?
Mitt Romney – or any GOP candidate – get the youth vote – LAUGHABLE!
Man, this guy is more delusional than Gingrich....didn't think it was possible.
Mitt Romney could be very popular with younger voters if he goes to campuses and does that C3PO stump speech of his.
So this is Robmeys plan? To send people to where the POTUS is going to be before he gets there and lies? This guy is unbelievable and his supporters are idiots. He has no clue at all about anything but he is white. And the rethugs do love their puppets.
This will be the hardest group to win over – they expect real change – not more rhetoric. Many of them have already found their candidate and it's not Mitt.
Jobs went bye-bye..
The real estate crash of 2007, that followed a GOP controlled congress from 1994-2006 (coincidence?)
The financial crash of 2008 " "
Anyone with half a brain knows what has caused this mess....we are gradually getting out of it......It took 15 years to recover from the great Depression, so Obama is ahead of schedule....An 8 trillion increase in the stock market has been the engine so far......increased housing starts will be needed to get us back to 6% unemployment. Things are looking up!
Mr. Romney- when your "young people" defend this nation by joining the military, you might get more young American voters. As long as you see young Americans primarily as cannon fodder for your upcoming war in Iran (you promised!), I don't think you'll get many votes from that audience.
Now Romney is going to start supporting what his GOP congress doesn't want because Obama propose it.
He might get Alex P. Keaton to vote for him, if it was 1982 and Alex P. Keaton wasn't a fictional character.
I'd love to see this guy explain how the lack of employment is due to his raking in all the cash and being able to turn a million dollars into tens of millions of dollars of tax free gifts for his grifter sons. Not to mention how going to college makes you a 'snob' and explaining how you're not working hard enough in school if you have student loans. You know those other GOP comments about students. And as far as the Dream Act, his father was born in Mexico and came here at the age of 6 or something. Oh yeah, and his grandfather got $100k for being displaced from Mexico due to the Revolution?????
Sniffit you nailed it as usual. This sums Willard up perfectly.
so which Mitt Romney will the young people vote for? The NEW one that is in favor keeping loans rates low or the other Mitt that claimed if they want free money from the government to go to school then go vote for the other guy?
Yeah. I don't see much support around here for Mittens. I think they've been using the EtchASketch again.
The more Romney talks the more I like Ron Paul. Romney should be selling used cars..
Only if you buy them, Mitt...
Sniffit – Love the Orwell quote. Mitt to a tee. Although it seems like a large part of the GOP propaganda machine drinks from the doublethink cup. Reality suspended as much as it takes to make their case.
the policies that you state as failures by president obama are because of the GOP, not his policies. this president has tried to get us of the mess that the failed policies of the GOP has had since the reagan administration. and, with the economic conditions the way that they are, young people are feed up. they are tired of good jobs being sent overseas. they are scared that they interest rate is going up, thanks to the GOP (sure mitts came out just today in saying that rate should not change, but in the past he has not supported that. our president has). this is a smart group of people and they will be voting to keep this president because of the fact that if we elect another tax the middle class and poor, out source jobs, and let the rich keep their tax breaks, they know that our country will fall into a depression that will make the one in 1929 look like a day at the beach.
Romney you a joke the young people will not come out strong for you or the republican party..
The republican are destroying our country.
"The reality is there's not been opportunity for young people as they've graduated from college,"
Well if your Republican governors had utilized the stimulus monies that they were allocated to put people back to work int heir respective states maybe more of these students would've been working, ya think?! You people are truly "works of art' in the lying and spin arena.
64%-32% THUS FAR in favor of Obama. Our young people are smart. They know what time it is, and it sure isn't time for the Party that caused and blocked our recovery by any means necessary to come back anywhere the power seat.
My youngest son is graduating this May from a highly accredited HBCU in Washington D.C. Thankyou Mr. President for making it possible for him to move on to graduate school without the weight of huge student loans hanging from his neck.
Students for Obama 2012. Because Robmey doesn't know what it is like to pay your way through college.
How could Romney get the youth vote, when Obama has been brainwashing our youth, and pandering to teachers, and left wing Professors, for the past 3 1/2 years. Obama has shamefully exploited the naive, gullible, inexperienced, idealism of our young people. He has no scruples. All he cares about is getting reelected.
Now folks, Mr. Romney WILL GET THE VOTE OF THE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO THINK THAT THEIR TREES ARE JUST THE RIGHT HEIGHT.
Also, all of the YOUNG PEOPLE IN UTAH and IDAHO!
Does he really believe he can get the youth vote??? What a dreamer! Delusional! The young people still believe in our president and the direction he is taking us.....looking out for middle Americans, not just the Richies! Bet Mittens sons didn't have to get student loans! We know they didn't serve in our armed services either!