AMES, Iowa - As Mitt Romney readies to formally accept his party's nomination, President Obama is courting young voters on the trail, telling students in Iowa today that come November, "Your voice will matter more than it ever has before."
"Your generation chooses which path we take as a country. Your votes decide where we go from here," the president told a crowd of 6,000 at Iowa State University.
Bucking tradition, the president is spending today and tomorrow counter-programming the GOP convention with campaign rallies in college towns in the battleground states of Iowa, Colorado and Virginia.
"This week in Tampa my opponents will offer you their agendas. It should be a pretty entertaining show," he said to laughter. "I'm sure they will, you know, have some wonderful things to say about me."
"But what you won't hear from them is a path forward that meets the challenges of our time," he said.
As he tries to recapture the support of young voters that helped propel him to victory in 2008, Obama told students that his opponents hope "you'll get discouraged" and sit this election out.
"My opponent's campaign went so far as to write you off as a lost generation," he said.
The president was referencing a release from the Romney campaign last week, entitled "The Obama Economy's Lost Generation," that hit the president for the rising cost of college.
"Under President Obama, the costs of college have skyrocketed - making it more difficult for students to attend college - and his economic policies have made it harder for graduates to get jobs," a Romney campaign spokesperson said in the release.
"They'll tell you over and over again how bad everything is - then of course, they'll add that it's all Obama's fault and they'll tell you that if you believed in change four years ago, your faith was foolish and you were being naïve," Obama said today.
"What they hope is that by telling you these things … you'll just stay home this time," Obama said. "But you can't believe it. I don't believe it."
- Mary Bruce, Jake Tapper, Devin Dwyer