News / USA

Obama Reaches Out to Young Voters

President Barack Obama speaks to young voters at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
President Barack Obama speaks to young voters at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

U.S. President Barack Obama is reaching out to young voters, having made midterm campaign stops in a question-and-answer session on several youth-oriented television networks and the social network Twitter.  The president is hoping for the same kind of support from young Americans that he aroused two years ago during the 2008 presidential race, when voters under the age of 30 went to the polls in record numbers.

Still, public opinion surveys show that young voters who support the president are much less interested in taking part in this November's midterm Congressional elections.  According to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, only 27 percent of young Democrats say they are giving much thought to the vote.  The number for young Republicans is 39 percent.

So just a few weeks before the elections on November 2, the president went to George Washington University in the nation's capital and addressed about 250 young people in a theater and a nationwide television audience.  The forum appeared on three national television networks:  BET News, with a largely African-American audience; CMT, whose viewers are mainly white and rural; and MTV News, which programs for young viewers.

The president took questions from the audience and from people using the social network Twitter.

Many of the questions focused on issues of concern to people in the United States, questions like these:

"Why should we still support you going forward with your monetary and economic policies, and if the economy does not improve over the next two years, why should we vote you back in?  What is your administration planning to do to improve comprehensive primary education and address college affordability? I voted for you in the last elections, based on your alleged commitment to equality for all Americans, gay and straight, and I wanted to know where you stood on 'don't ask, don't tell.' "

And, another from this immigrant:

"I come from Colombia, and I am waiting for my green card, and I have been waiting for it for about three years.  My grandmother turned 92, and I am afraid that my green card will not get here in time for me to see her for a last time. "

One audience member asked Mr. Obama about his support for peace efforts in Sudan. The president said a referendum on independence for southern Sudan must be organized within approximately 90 days or risk failure, and his administration is working to meet that goal.

"If you have an outbreak of war between the north and south in Sudan, not only could that erupt in more violence that could to lead to millions of deaths, but solving the problem in Darfur becomes that much more difficult," said President Obama.   The president also urged those watching the forum to put pressure on their lawmakers to support diplomatic efforts for peace in Sudan.

The president told one questioner the "don't ask, don't tell policy," which bans homosexuals from serving openly in the U.S. military, will end on his watch.  But he said he wants to end the policy through legislation, rather than by court orders. He also defended his efforts to strengthen the slumping U.S. economy, saying his economic stimulus legislation has helped put 3 million Americans to work.  Mr. Obama is not the first president to hold a televised question-and-answer session with young people.  Then-president Bill Clinton held the first forum of this kind on MTV in 1994.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs