Obama Campaign Addresses Students with Conference Calls
Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2012 22:11
Last Thursday, the Obama campaign hosted its weekly campus reporter conference call, featuring Dr. Jill Biden, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund Cecile Richards and Deputy Campaign Manager of the Obama for America campaign Stephanie Cutter ’90. The call covered a range of topics, focusing specifically on why the election matters for young people.
The call began with a brief message from Biden, who expressed her belief that the election was especially important for students. “I’m inspired by my students every day, and as a teacher I want to make sure we continue to invest in quality education,” she said. Biden went on to detail the falling costs of tuition at many community colleges in the past five years, the doubling of Pell Grants and the reform of student loans. “People can [...] go after that job they’ve been dreaming of instead of taking a job that just pays their bills,” she said.
Biden went on to talk about the importance of “moving forward” over the next four years. “Forward means no matter what, we will keep fighting [...] so everyone has a better shot at fighting for themselves, no matter who they are, where they come from, what they look like and who they love,” she said.
Cutter detailed in her speech the accomplishments of the Obama presidency that directly affected student lives. She worked on a number of campaigns, including Bill Clinton’s and Ted Kennedy’s, before going on to the work for the Democratic National Committee in 2003. She became Chief of Staff to Michelle Obama in 2008 and became deputy campaign manager for Obama for America last September.
“When you graduate, there’s a stronger economy waiting for you, but we still have a lot more work to do,” said Cutter. She spoke of intentions to add a million more manufacturing jobs, recruit more math and science teachers and cut the growth of tuition in half within the next 10 years.
“Make an informed decision about what’s at stake with this election,” Cutter advised. She referred to Obama’s plan as a “new economic patriotism,” and criticized the Romney campaign. “Romney said so many things in so many different ways, he has a hard time keeping track of what he means,” she said, speaking of the third and final debate between the presidential candidates.
After Cutter’s speech, Richards spoke about reproductive health and the election. She spoke mostly about the Affordable Care Act and its benefits for women, specifically in terms of preventative care and access to contraception and abortion, but stressed the importance of these issues in a larger context. “These are not just healthcare issues, but economic issues, and they’re important for men as well,” said Richards. “They’re not just women’s issues, they’re American issues.”
Richards detailed the possible consequences of a Mitt Romney administration for organizations like Planned Parenthood. She cited the “only three positions he’s consistently taken,” including repealing Roe v. Wade, getting rid of Planned Parenthood entirely and allowing companies to make healthcare decisions for women.
In response to Richards’ claims, a student on the call from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater asked why a Romney/Ryan presidency would be more harmful than past Republican presidents. According to Richards, no other GOP president has ever called for the completely defunding of Planned Parenthood, which would result in the loss of access to healthcare for millions of low-income people.
The call ended with an urge for listeners and audiences to vote on Nov. 6 and stressed again the importance of this election for young people in America.