President Obama makes targeted push with college students at Kent State

KENT, Ohio - President Barack Obama's message from the podium on center court at Kent State University's MAC Center was meant for the voters of Ohio, but the site of this speech served a dual purpose in this battleground state.

College students are a key ingredient in the president's bid to capture Ohio, not just for their vote, but their ability and willingness to play an active role in campaigns.

To that end, the campaign took advantage of the roughly two hours leading up to the president's speech to reach out to this captive audience and remind them through speeches and videos of the importance of the state and the many roles these students can play.

In one video, singer John Legend listed ways to help: "Knocking on doors, calling people, encouraging people to vote, making sure people understand that they can vote early," he said.

"All these things you can really help move the needle because every vote is seriously going to vote in Ohio," said Legend.

The message is especially important now. Election Day may be six weeks off. But this year with early voting expected to account for a large number of votes cast, Election Day is when we will learn the outcome of the race not necessarily when he race will be won.

"I want you to register to vote by October 9, I want you to start voting next Tuesday October 2," Obama said. "And if you do, if you stand with me, if you're knocking on some doors with me and making some phone calls with me we'll win Portage County, we will win Ohio."

Another reason for coming to a college campus filled with many out of state students is to remind them of their ability to register in Ohio and vote here rather than their home state.

"I'm going to register here," said Illinois native Mariah Jennings. The Kent State student said her vote will mean more in Ohio than in her home state.

Melissa Scaglione comes from New York, another state solidly in Obama's column. She said after the speech, though she will likely vote absentee back in Buffalo, admitting she never considered the possibility of voting in Ohio prior to the rally.

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