ABC News' Mary Bruce Reports: On a conference call with university journalists this afternoon, President Obama made a direct plea to young voters to reengage in the political process and get out the vote in November.
“Even though this may not be as exciting as a presidential election this is going to make a huge difference in terms of whether we’re going to be able to move our agenda forward over the next couple of years,” Obama said. “You can’t sit it out, you can’t suddenly just check in once every ten years or so on an exciting presidential election and then not pay attention during big midterm elections where we’ve got a real big choice between Democrats and Republicans.”
The president admitted that the enthusiasm that young voters showed during his campaign in 2008 has not carried over during his first two years in office.
“Back in 2008 a lot of young people got involved in my campaign… I think people just generally felt that we needed to bring about some fundamental change in how we operate, this was all before the financial crisis.” Obama explained.
“I think a lot of people felt that our campaign gave them a vehicle to get engaged and involved in shaping the direction of this country over the long-term. I’ve been in office for two years. We’ve been in the midst of this big financial crisis. I’ve been having all these fights with the Republicans to make progress on a whole bunch of these issues and during that time, naturally, some of the excitement and enthusiasm started to drain away because people felt like ‘gosh, you know, all I’m reading about are constant arguments in Washington.’”
The President’s comments offer a preview of what is to come at his rally tomorrow at the University of Wisconsin. “What I want to do is just to speak to young people directly and remind them of what I said during the campaign which is change is always hard in this country. It doesn’t happen overnight. You take two steps forward, you take one step back. This is a big complicated democracy. It’s contentious. It’s not always fun and games.”
Asked why he likes to come to Madison so much (he made two stops there during the campaign), Obama jokingly explained that he used to have a lot of fun there when he was younger.
“I love Madison because when I was just out of college and I moved to Chicago to work as a community organizer I still had a couple of friends who were up going to school in Madison. So I used to drive up there and have fun times which I can’t discuss in detail with you,” he said.