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Obama and Biden to student-age voters: Help!

'You can't sit it out,' President Obama told student journalists on Monday, speaking of the midterm election. He and Vice President Biden will visit college campuses Tuesday to rally student voters.

In this Feb. 12, 2008 file photo, then Democratic-presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama greets supporters before a rally in Madison Wis. President Obama is returning to the University of Wisconsin, on Tuesday, to get young voters and minorities excited about voting in the Nov. 2 midterms.

Rick Bowmer/AP/File

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President Obama and Vice President Biden hit the student circuit on Tuesday, aiming to get that old 2008 campaign feeling back.

It probably won’t be easy. Mr. Obama will be at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Mr. Biden will be at Penn State, in College Station, Pa., for rallies that only two years ago would have attracted thousands.

This year, Obama is not on the ballot, and Democrats are struggling to get their key demographic groups – young voters and minorities – as excited about voting in the Nov. 2 midterms as the Republicans are with theirs, an electorate that skews older, white, and male. A recent ABC/Washington Post Poll found that only 55 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds say they are “absolutely certain” to go to the polls this year, as opposed to 78 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds and 77 percent of those over age 65.

Obama reached out to college journalists Monday, reminding them of the youth-oriented reforms he has implemented – such as taking student loans out of the private sector and allowing young adults to remain on their parents’ health insurance until age 26 – and urging them to keep faith in the political process.

“I want to send a message to young people across the country about how important this election is,” Obama said on a conference call with student journalists. The president acknowledged that the democratic process isn’t always “fun and games,” and referred to the highly partisan battles that have marked his tenure in office.


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