Obama makes pitch directly to college students - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Obama makes pitch directly to college students in Charlottesville

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (WWBT) -

In a break from tradition, President Barack Obama was on the campaign trail Wednesday, even though the Republican National Convention was underway. Charlottesville was one of three college towns the president visited over the last two days.

College students are passionate, often a bit more to the left, but also very unreliable. They came out big for President Obama in 2008.

He needs them again in 2012, and the president couldn't have made it any more clear in a direct pitch to that group.

"Even if you don't vote for them because you don't believe what they are peddling," he said. "What they do hope you will is that you get so discouraged that you just stay home."

Staying home is not an option for Obama die-hard supporters like Emily Schenck, a UVA student from Short Pump.

"I think he's done a great job," she said after the president's speech.

Schenck is a political junkie who doesn't need to be convinced, but she has plenty of peers who do. 

"A lot of my friends say they don't care about politics," she said. "But this affects our lives and I'm going to try and convince as many of them as I can."

College towns like Charlottesville often vote Democratic, but Republicans say they aren't ready to give up their fight here quite yet.

"We're not ceding one inch of ground to the Obama campaign," said Curt Cashour, a spokesman for the Romney campaign.

Cashour argues that many of those college students - who voted Obama in 2008 - are now college graduates having a hard time find a job.

"I think that realization is going hit them hard and they are really going to think about who they are going to vote for," he said.

But Emily Schenck isn't one of them. She is motivated to go work for team Obama and that means bugging every friend she has, right up until Election Day.

"I don't want to like annoy them," she said. "But I am going to make sure that I keep talking to them until they say 'okay, I'm going to vote'."

Exactly what the Obama campaign wants to hear.

President Obama's journey to Charlottesville marks his 40th trip to Virginia since being elected. He has been here 13 times just in 2012. He was familiar with Wednesday's venue, the NTelos Wireless Pavilion. He has given speeches there three different times.

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