Make no mistake: President Obama’s new initiative to reduce the burden of student loans for millions of college graduates is as much about winning votes next fall as it is about addressing the rising costs of higher education.
Just hours after Obama formally unveiled the plan in Denver on Wednesday, his 2012 re-election campaign produced a new video to explain it on the Internet and direct viewers to his campaign Web site.
Obama has been eager to reconnect with young Americans whose support in 2008 helped drive his historic sweep to the White House.
As the Post’s Election 2012 blog pointed out: In 2008, young voters backed Obama over McCain by a two -to-one margin. But according to a new poll, fewer than 40 percent of people under 30 approve of Obama’s performance, with 54 percent disapproving. In August, 52 percent approved, with 42 percent disapproving.
The new video about Obama’s student loan initiative redirects viewers to a campaign Web page that offers them an opportunity to e-mail friends with a message that reads: “Student loans can make you feel like you’re drowning in debt and will never recover. President Obama is making two changes that could relieve some of that pressure.”
The Obama campaign’s Twitter account sent out a message to its 10.8 million followers alerting them to the video.
The concerted effort to reach young voters makes one of the lines in Obama’s stump speech on jobs and the economy particularly amusing, as the president calls on his audiences to make their voices heard to Congress and plays dumb about all the new fangled social media technology such as Twitter and Facebook.
While making remarks to thousands of college students at the University of Colorado’s Denver campus, Obama pleaded: “I need your help. Some of these folks in Washington still aren’t getting the message. I need your voices heard. I especially need young people, I need you guys involved. I need you active. I need you communicating to Congress. I need you to get the word out. Like I said, tweet them. Tweet them -- they’re all tweeting all over the place.”
The crowd laughed.
“You tweet them back,” Obama instructed.