October 26th, 2012
07:52 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama courts young voters in MTV interview

(CNN) - President Barack Obama courted younger voters on Friday by pointing to his support for cutting off federal financial aid to colleges whose students leave with high debt.

"We now have to go directly to the source - the colleges and universities - and say, you've got to work on cutting tuition," he told MTV in an interview.

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"And we're going to reward those schools that do a good job providing good value for their students while keeping tuition low, and we'll stop directing federal aid to those colleges and universities that are loading up their students with debt," the president said.

Obama has proposed using financial aid distributed by the federal government as a way to slow the quickly-rising costs of higher education.

He suggested students consider community college as an alternative to more expensive four-year college programs.

"Young people, if they want to get into being an electrician or get into a trade or train for a particular industry, they don't have to necessarily load up with a four-year college education," he said. "A two-year education may be the best value for them."

Average student loan debt for the graduating class of 2010 at four-year nonprofit colleges was $25,250, including all private and federal loans, according to the Institute for College Access & Success.

Some 35 million graduates have student loan debt, which at $904 billion nationwide, stands larger than outstanding credit card debt, figures show.

To attend an in-state public college for the 2012-13 academic year, the average overall cost for students who don't receive financial aid rose 3.8% to a record $22,261, according to College Board report out this week. Private schools were more expensive.

The White House interview was promoted as Obama's first this election cycle to focus exclusively on issues that matter to younger voters, a large portion of MTV's audience.

Questions ranged from education to gun control and culture.

Asked which artists are making the most significant impact on politics today, he said, "I think the most vibrant musical art form right now, over the last 10, 15 years, has been hip hop. And there have been some folks that have kinda dabbled in political statements but a lot of it has been more cultural than political."

"I'd like to see a more explicit discussion of the issues that are out there right now, because music is such a powerful mechanism," he said, recalling how Bob Marley had raised his awareness of "the struggles for jobs and dignity," as well as the music of the civil rights era and 1970s anti-war movement.

And the First Dad was asked what about his daughters growing up most concerned him - the driver's license, dating, or Facebook.

"I worry about Facebook," he said, because his daughter Malia "is well known. I'm very keen on her protecting her privacy."

"Dates, that's fine," he said. "She has secret service protection."

Filed under: 2012 • President Obama
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. joe

    and well he should. To many old voters who have no idea what is going on and out dated ideas and old fashion notions about women and the world. I here lots of narrow minded comments from older people not willing to look at the world today. Not all older people are uninformed but a good many are. Young people should get involved .

    October 27, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  2. Twenty-Something

    The youth can thank him for doubling the national debt in 3 1/2 years, and taking it to 102% of GDP.

    October 27, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. Anne

    "Dates, that's fine," he said. "She has secret service protection."

    It definitely resonates with me. Thanks for your advice Mr. President. I'll look for some 'change' in my pocket to pay some sort of (secret) service protection for my daughter when she'll start dating. You really understand us ordinary people.

    October 27, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  4. EdD

    If our youth is to have any future we need to reduce this massive burden of debt and eliminate deficit spending. That's just not in Obama's plans.

    October 27, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  5. betterdays

    This guy makes Lyndon Johnson look like a New England socialite. He epitomizes the problem with his confused methodology: You can't buy class.

    October 27, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  6. GI Joe

    If you vote for Romney, the debt will go to $20 Trllion in less than one year. War with Iran, Tax cuts for the wealthiest, more subsidies to the corporations that donated to his campaign – the list goes on and on.

    October 27, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. bob_lawbla

    Perhaps todays youth (18-22) should talk to the youth (23-27) to see how well voting for Owebama in 2008 worked.
    I'm sure that advice would be more meaningful and better received.

    October 27, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  8. Larry L


    The youth can thank him for doubling the national debt in 3 1/2 years, and taking it to 102% of GDP.
    The President didn't create the recession nor did he work to prevent a recovery. The huge increase in debt was a direct result of loss of productivity and revenue from the worst economic downturn in over 30 years. The stimulus spending prevented an economic disaster of unprecedented proportions. It's easy to play Monday morning quarterback after somebody else cleaned up your mess. Remember Bush? Remember his cut & spend economy? Romney has the same plan – but gives us no specifics. He and Lyin' Ryan are lap dogs for the fat cats – nothing more.

    October 27, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F

    If the national debt goes from $12 trillion to $16 trillion, how does a right wingnut conclude that doubles the debt? Romney proposes adding $8 trillion in tax cuts and increased military spending with no additional revenue.

    October 27, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F

    If we had elected the comedy team of McCain/Palin in 2008, we would be in another war and a full blown depression.

    October 27, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  11. Matthew

    Obama will go to the least informed electorate and to those he can easily manipulate and fool! Obama, remember that you can fool some persons some of the time but you cannot fool everybody all the time. You have fooled the American people once with you empty promises and bogus truths. You can no longer fool the majority as you are a total failure!

    October 27, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. julnor

    Remember to thank Obama for the $5T in additional debt. That's $17,000 for EVERY man, woman and child in the country. And all you college kids who are going to get good paying jobs, guess what, you'll be paying your $17k and someone else's as well.

    October 27, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." --B. Obama

    Did they ask about the Benghazi coverup?

    October 27, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Well, Mr. President: Corporations can't buy my vote. Corporate media pundits can't buy my vote. The Koch brothers can't buy my vote. Karl Rove can't buy my vote. Mitt Romney can't buy my vote. Ayn Rand Ryan would never get my vote.

    You've put yourself out there for all to see these past few weeks. You've answered questions, given interviews. Been upfront. Your opponent, Mitt Romney? Well, he's been hiding behind the Corporations Are People, Too media. Getting them to do the heavy lifting for him because he apparently is too exhausted or to disinterested to really fight for my vote. Mitt Romney's closing argument? Just shove some money at the media and voila he's a sure win with a guaranteed victory. This is what he's telling the media pundits to argue on his behalf and they have more than picked up the slack for him. Not one of those listed above give a dime about me. Other than lying to me to acheive their goals ... none of which concerns me. I've nothing left to give but my vote.

    Obama/Biden 2012.

    October 27, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. Terrence

    Our President clearly reaches out to ALL of the electorate. I think it shows his aspiration/actualitu of being in tune with more Americans by 1. Going on MTV to reach the younger portion of the electorate, 2. KNOWING hip hop and its artists...the most influential musical genre of this time.

    October 27, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  16. larry5

    Great speech?????

    October 27, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. Name

    Keep on rockin in the free world Mr Prez

    October 27, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. Name claire

    Go Obama. 2012. u are smart. we can not afford Romnesia in the white house.

    October 27, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. Darryl

    The CEOs of Wallstreet ect are the FAT-Cats trying to control the Goverment & the Economy only to benifit the TOP Romneys in Wallstreet period. Pres.Obamas will fight them all the way and he should. This country belongs to the people NOT to just a few at the TOP. The scales of balance are way off tilt and it needs to level out and the playing field has to be changed drasticly. I'll stand behind Pres. Obama with no reservations of his commitment and vision of fairness for everyone in this country.

    October 27, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. Texas MD

    Being heavily weighed down by my student loan debt I would think the easiest solution would be to fix the economy so I could get a job to pay off my debt. Instead he wants to regulate how much colleges charge for tuition. Another perfect example of how Obama has no idea how to truly fix a problem. Why do you think tuition is so high to begin with?

    October 27, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. Reality

    Another sign that President Obama cares about 100% of the population. You know when you're sitting in class dreaming if making of someone who can make the world better. Well, my friend, President Obama is doing for all of us. And he has the cred to prove it.

    October 27, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. The Truth Teller

    All I have to say to woman let's say that Romney wins , and they start taking apart the abortion which I hope not I have always thought that you should make up your own minds but if it takes place don't expect me as a man to help in any way to help you stop the pubs from taking your rights away . You'll just have to deal with it on your own as they say you made your bed and now you'll have to sleep in it !

    October 27, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  23. Peacenick69

    It's the young that will be hurt most by Obama. He has spent 6 Trillion in four years; more than any other US president, virtually ensuring the our young people are enslaved to China as indebted serfs.

    Obama has done more to hurt our youth than any republican ever could. Obama has seen twice as many young people killed in Afghanistan in his four years than Bush did in his eight years.

    Its the young that are getting skewered by Obama the most!

    October 27, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  24. on StreetWise

    The future of our nation belongs to the youth, and it their hands. Don't lead hate, fear or race be your standard... Stop Romney/Ryan of their hypocrisy greed, lies and racist policies at all costs and not let them put our democracy at peril. Instead, invest in education, compassion and integrity... here are the fabrics that can build a stronger civic public and a "More Perfect Union." Put a strong ethic and a charitable heart at work for you... and that bright future will be yours.

    October 27, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  25. CRP

    Young voters are not the least informed voters. Judging from what has been written in the comments sections of CNN ticker stories one could not come to the conclusion that folks are not getting their information from reliable sources.

    For instance, Mr. Romney is seen as a savior for those who believe his rhetoric. Mr. Romney and his company Bain merged companies and also helped one company take over another. The direct result was not necessarily larger companies. In many instances people lost their jobs. Many of these companies transferred their call centers overseas or shifted jobs overseas stating that they had to pay workers her to much. THeir goods could be made cheaper overseas, particularly China. Go into Target, Walmart, etc. and you will find the merchandise made in China, THe prices are low and people seem to like that even though our workers are idle.

    October 27, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
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