Obama campaign representatives reach out to college press

Meghan Bogardus

In Tuesday’s State of the Union address, President Barack Obama focused on outlining a blueprint for America’s future. By Wednesday evening, his 2012 campaign representatives were reaching out to those whose future may be in question.

In the first of a monthly series of conference calls with college reporters, Obama’s deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter and youth vote director Valeisha Butterfield-Jones addressed the group they said clinched the 2008 election.

“Young people fueled the president’s election in 2008, and we intend to do it this year,” Butterfield-Jones said. “The one thing we can do is take your support for granted and we’re not.”

Both Butterfield-Jones and Cutter outlined why college students should care about the election by listing what pledges Obama had already made good on. This included the health care act that allowed people under the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ insurance.

Butterfield-Jones said she recognized the uncertainty of college students graduating in this economy, but assured that the president knew of their struggle.

In the president’s address Tuesday night, he pledged to begin building “an economy built to last, where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded.”

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who delivered the Republican response following the State of the Union, said he found the president’s plan optimistic and called graduating students “the first generation in memory to face a future less promising than their parents had.”

Cutter reiterated Obama’s optimistic attitude for building a better future for young people and read excerpts from his address. She also encouraged young voters to look at what the Republican side is offering.

“You all stand to gain the most from the president’s visions and his policies, and that’s why it’s important you follow the other side closely,” she said.

While Cutter said the Republican contest was currently up in the air, she had remarks about Mitt Romney, particularly about his release of last year’s tax returns.

“His record is finally being exposed,” she said. “I think voters everywhere are reacting to the fact that Mitt Romney thinks he can play by his own rules.”

Cutter reiterated the president’s call for accountability in government by comparing Obama’s release of eight years of tax returns during his 2008 campaign to Romney’s release of only one.

“We think that that’s not fair,” she said. “That’s not playing by the same rules as everyone else.”

Calls with college reporters will continue monthly across the county. Beginning in February, the Obama Greater Together campaign will also visit 10 universities to hold summits with young voters.