Obama to Kick Off Campaign in Ohio

Joelle Lingat, Staff Writer

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are visiting Ohio State University on May 5 to officially launch his campaign for reelection this November.

“Since we received the news that the President was coming here, our team has been working around the clock. We have been flyering, chalking, making posters, tweeting, posting, literally everything that we can do to get students to the rally,” wrote a spring fellow, Sara, on the Obama for America website.

A recent poll released by Quinnipiac University showed that out of the 1,130 Ohio voters surveyed, Obama has garnered 44 percent favor while Romney has generated a close 42 percent. A historic swing state, Ohio is a popular destination for presidential candidates during their campaigns. President Obama was in Elyria April 18 and Governor Romney visited Lorain April 19.

Oberlin students prepared for President Obama’s campaign and upcoming Ohio visit with the Campus Kick-Off Event on April 29. Volunteers participated in phone banking and data entry from May 2–4 to garner interest for Obama’s Saturday visit in return for a VIP-access ticket. Those who participated will leave early Saturday morning for Columbus and are guaranteed transportation.

Double-degree junior Eric Fischer, the primary student organizer of Obama for America on campus, and Mallory Long, the field organizer hired by the campaign to work at Oberlin spearheaded the kick-off event. Long has experience working with Students United for Reproductive Freedom and Planned Parenthood in northeast Ohio. She currently manages a team of student leaders that are comprised mostly of members of the Oberlin College Democrats.

“Obama’s background is in community organizing in Chicago. That’s the typical job of the freshly graduated college student, showing how he understands where we came from,” said College sophomore Jesse Vogel, co-chair of the OC Democrats. “Mitt Romney doesn’t come from a grassroots community experience. Obama really identifies with students from that personal connection that excites and continues to excite students. Coming to OSU shows that he understands students, cares for students and is willing to fight for students.”

As recently elected communications director of the College Democrats of Ohio, Vogel cites how Oberlin is part of a larger network of politically active students on the collegiate level. In a recent press release, Daniel Rajaiah, president of CDO, said, “The President’s choice to officially begin his campaign at one of Ohio’s many premier public universities signals his clear dedication to Ohio’s students and young people.”

In tandem with Rajaiah’s statement, on May 2 the White House announced the creation of almost 300,000 employment opportunities for 16–24 year olds and an online tool to access these opportunities. In July, 48.8 percent of the nation’s youth were employed in comparison to the 63.3 percent of 10 years ago, according to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Summer Jobs+ Bank brings together leaders in the private sector and the Federal government to provide new breaks for low-income youth.

“America’s young people face record unemployment, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they’ve got the opportunity to earn the skills and a work ethic that come with a job,” said President Obama on the program’s website. “It’s important for their future, and for America’s. That’s why I proposed a summer jobs program for youth in the American Jobs Act — a plan that Congress failed to pass. America’s youth can’t wait for Congress to act. This is an all-hands-on-deck moment. That’s why today, we’re launching Summer Jobs+, a joint initiative that challenges business leaders and communities to join my Administration in providing hundreds of thousands of summer jobs for America’s youth.”

College junior Nick Miller, chair of Oberlin College Republicans and Libertarians, said that he feels unable to support either presidential candidate.

“It’s as if I have a choice between shooting myself in the head from the left side, or shooting myself in the head from the right side. Not sure what the difference is,” said Miller in an e-mail interview. “I will say that it will be very difficult for [Obama] to run on his domestic record, but his foreign policy record will pull many a moderate. The healthcare law does not increase coverage, reduce costs, or reduce the deficit and it is an abject failure. Repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was pretty nice, but he still does not support gay marriage, unfortunately. He escalated the drug war, and his economic record is abysmal. That is the most charitable I can be.”