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'Parks and Rec' stars stump for Obama at UI

BY CASSIDY RILEY | SEPTEMBER 10, 2012 6:30 AM

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While both presidential candidates continue to lobby for the youth vote in the upcoming election, President Obama’s campaign has made several recent attempts to appeal specifically to University of Iowa students.

“Parks and Recreation* costars Adam Scott and Rashida Jones visited the IMU Sunday to stump for Obama, asking students to volunteer for his campaign.

“We believe in the president and the job he’s doing so far,” Scott said. “I think it’s really important to continue down the road we’re on.”

Scott and Jones spoke to a ballroom full of students about the importance of not only voting but also re-electing Obama because of all he has done for students, citing Obama’s efforts on health-care reform and making college more affordable. They also stopped at Drake University, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa before stopping at the IMU.

Their visit comes after Obama addressed more than 8,000 community members on the Pentacrest Sept. 7, where Obama was accompanied by First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden.

Scott and Jones encouraged students after a brief speech to get involved immediately by splitting into two groups — those willing to make calls and those willing to go out around campus and register voters.

“Keep fighting the good fight,” Jones said. “Vote and vote early.”

UI sophomore Storm Miller, who has volunteered for the Obama campaign before, believes volunteering efforts are important.

“There are so many people who can say they will show their support, but there’s never enough people to get together and actually do the dirty work,” he said.

Out of the group of students preparing to make phone calls to voters, UI student Caroline Allen said she believes in what Obama is trying to do and thinks volunteering for his campaign is worthwhile.

Obama signed a bill into law July 6 after Congress voted to extend the interest rate for federal student loans for at least the next year. Beginning in 2014, the law would allow any outstanding debt to be forgiven after 20 years.

However, officials from Romney’s campaign maintain that Obama has failed to help college-age students and young adults.

“President Obama was elected largely in part by college students hoping for more jobs waiting for them upon graduation, but under his leadership, the cost of college has hit an all-time high and college graduates face dismal employment prospects,” Shawn McCoy, the Iowa communications director for Romney’s campaign, said in a statement.

The Romney/Ryan plan would create 12 million jobs as well as opening up job opportunities for college graduates by cutting taxes, regulations, as well as spending, and increasing trade, Romney’s website contends. Romney campaign officials maintain that the rising costs of college tuition is directly related to the national debt, which recently surpassed $16 trillion.

While many students did not expect to be asked to volunteer and left, there were two large groups gathered and ready to participate.

UI student Alina Upreti said she didn’t plan on volunteering but was persuaded to stick around.

“I was inspired to make a difference by the words of famous people,” Upreti said.


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