August 29, 2012
Two years after his last visit, President Barack Obama returned to Charlottesville Wednesday as part of a college campaign tour.
"It only stresses the importance of Charlottesville in this election, especially winning Virginia," University of Virginia fourth-year student Mathias Wondwosen said.
Wondwosen was chosen to introduce the president at this stop.
More than 400 UVa. students stood behind the president on risers at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion as they listened to his message about the importance of the youth vote in the 2012 election.
"It's just really comforting to know the person who's leading us is just like us and really does care about us and has our interests at heart," UVa. fourth-year student Camilla Griffiths said.
U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine and former congressman Tom Perriello both warmed up the crowd before the president's visit.
"Politics has gotten so negative, and he reminded people what we have accomplished and what he wants to do," Perriello said.
Obama's Affordable Care Act was a popular subject for the crowd. Part of the law allows children to stay on their parents' health insurance until the age of 26.
"[Mitt Romney] calls my health care law 'Obamacare,'" Obama said. "I call his plan 'Romney Doesn't Care.'"
"He talked about issues that were directly affecting students," UVa. fourth-year student Edward Smith said.
The president touched on other topics including women's health, jobs and, perhaps most importantly for the crowd, making college more affordable.
"You will decide whether we can keep making college more affordable or whether we take my opponent's advice and just have your parents lend you money," Obama said.
"He was really personable and he was a great listener," Smith said about meeting the president prior to the event. "He looked at us square in the eye and was really excited about what we had to say to him."
In his 30-minute speech, the president amped up his young supporters, acknowledging the importance of casting a ballot.
"If we win Virginia, we will win this election," Obama said.
Following his speech, President Obama made a surprise visit to his campaign headquarters on Charlottesville's Downtown Mall. He then returned to Charlottesville Albemarle Regional Airport to board Air Force One. His plane took off shortly before 6 p.m.
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