BOULDER, Colo. - President Obama is pitting two collegiate arch rivals against each other in a campaign competition aimed at maximizing turnout of the college-age vote.
Obama dubs it the "Rocky Mountain Rumble."
The president told a crowd of 13,000 on the University of Colorado campus here that he had a way for students to avenge a football loss Saturday to Colorado State University, the first in three years.
"I know the Rock Mountain Showdown did not go down the way you wanted," Obama told the crowd, which became subdued at the mention of the loss.
"So I'll tell you what, we are going to give you a chance to get even. We are giving the Buffs and the Rams a second chance to go at it this fall," he said, referring to the two schools' team nicknames. "We've set up a Rocky Mountain Rumble to see which school can register more voters - C.U. or Colorado State."
Obama rallied on the Colorado State campus in Fort Collins last week, where volunteers registered hundreds of new voters, gaining a 41-voter edge, Obama said.
"Today we are in Boulder, so let's get it done," he said.
The Obama campaign is banking on an estimated 8 million first-time voters - mostly college age students - to hit the polls in key swing states, like Colorado, and tip the balance against GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
"You ain't seen nothing yet," said an Obama campaign official last month of plans to target younger voters.
Obama has already made an aggressive back-to-school push, rallying with students on eight college campuses over the past three weeks alone, including four in Colorado.
Polls show that the president will need the votes, particularly in Colorado. A Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News survey from mid-August showed Mitt Romney leading Obama in the Rocky Mountain state by 5 points, 50 to 45 percent.