CHARLOTTE, N.C. - President Obama has visited colleges and high schools one out of every 10 days since taking office, a key signal of how important the youth vote is to his reelection and how determined he is to rebuild the lost enthusiasm young voters had for his 2008 hope and change campaign, according to a new study.
But the magic isn't working, in part because good jobs are hard for college grads to find and the Romney-Ryan campaign has stepped up belittling the president's job-making tactics. Obama won 66 percent of the youth vote in 2008. A July Pew poll had 61 percent of younger voters favoring Obama.
From the day he took office until Monday, August 27, the former college professor has visited campuses 132 times over 1,316 days, an unofficial presidential record, according to a new report provided to Secrets by American Majority Action.
Last month alone, as his anxious campaign has kicked into high gear and heads to Charlotte, N.C. where he'll officially accept the Democratic nomination for reelection, he has spoken 13 times on college and high school campuses, more than any other month of his presidency. And over the weekend he hit the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Even more stunning, he has increased his campus presence 175 percent in 2012.
Last year the president appeared 31 times total, 16 times from January through August. This year, Obama has already appeared on campus 44 times.
His topics at the 132 visits according to the conservative group, which has posted this web page detailing the trips: campaigning/rallies-30; commencement addresses-15; economy-23; education/college affordability-18; energy-9; healthcare-16; jobs-19.
And in a sign of how politically-motivated those trips have been, of the 44 speeches this year, 37 have been in key battleground states, including the last 26. Obama just concluded a two-day college tour through Virginia, Iowa and Colorado. Vice President Biden has also visited campuses, his last to York, Pa.'s, West York Area High School. And the Democrats are featuring a heavy contingent of younger delegates at their convention here.
While the campaign sees benefits in the trips, critics charge that the president has let younger Americans down. "Obama's campaign is targeting campuses to make young people believe he has given them something for nothing," said Celia Bigelow, campus director of the conservative American Majority Action. "The president's policies have left young Americans without jobs, without affordable health care, without affordable tuition, and without a fair shot at the American Dream."
Campuses have been a good place for Obama to talk up his Obamacare health plan, which covers students in their parent's insurance plan until they turn 26 and his efforts to lighten the impact of student loan debt.