President Obama Speaks To Columbus Crowd: But Was He Effective?

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President Obama makes a point on the Ohio State Oval(Photo: Sam Hendren / WOSU)
President Obama makes a point on the Ohio State Oval(Photo: Sam Hendren / WOSU)

President Barack Obama was at Ohio State University yesterday urging college students to vote early, noting that the state’s registration deadline was about to expire in a few hours. Meanwhile a new CNN poll (released Tuesday) shows Mister Obama’s edge in Ohio narrowing against Republican Mitt Romney. The president’s Columbus remarks, however, might have done little to help widen his slim lead.

It was easy enough for the president to stir up the emotions of the thousands of students and others who attended his latest Ohio address … this time on the Ohio State University Oval…

“Hello, Buckeyes!” the president shouted in his opening his remarks.

Flanked by a huge Vote Early sign, the president early-on hammered home a message for those who had not taken advantage of early voting…

“Grab your friends, grab everybody in your dorm, grab your fraternity or sorority,” Mr, Obama said.

The president pointed out that there was free transportation waiting to take the unregistered to the Franklin County Board of Elections’ early voting center.

“There are buses around the corner that can get you there and back,” the president said. “So don’t wait. Do not delay. Go vote today!”

Even as the president again pointed out the differences between himself and his Republican rival Mitt Romney, Mr. Obama never lost the occasion to challenge his audience to cast their ballots.

“And when Governor Romney said that we should let the auto industry go bankrupt, we said no, we’re not going to take your advice,” Mr. Obama said. “Don’t boo, vote!”

But it was not long before the President sharpened his rhetoric and got down to business.

“We can’t afford another round of tax cuts for the wealthy. We can’t afford to roll back regulations on Wall Street banks or insurance companies. We can’t afford to gut our investments in education, or clean energy or research, or technology. That is not a jobs plan, that is not a plan to grow the economy, that is not change, that is a relapse, we have been there, we have tried that, we are not going back, we are moving forward and that is why I’m running for a second term as president of the United States.”

But was the president’s speech effective? Student Kristen Corcoran, an Obama supporter, put it this way:

“It was a lot of what we’ve already heard from Obama,” Corcoran said. I think he just summarized some of the things that he said in the debate last week and in his arguments against Mitt Romney. I may sound critical because it was a very, like, a rally and not an information session, Corcoran said.

Jamie Pardo said he loves the president, but:

“The speech was a speech. Same speech he’s given a dozen times before if not a hundred times before,” Pardo said.

Mr. Obama’s appeal to get aboard buses and get registered did not seem to garner much enthusiasm either, because many were only partially filled. Driver Bill Monroe did his best to solicit riders.

“Early voters! The voting is going to be on Morse Road. Take you over there and you run in and everything and when the bus is full we’ll bring you right back here,” Monroe said.

One of those who took the free ride was George Bell…

“Well, I have a lot of health problems,” Bell said. “And I don’t know whether I will be out of the hospital come time of the election and I want my vote to count. So I get it in as soon as I can whenever I can because I have got to make a difference.”

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