Lantern file photo
President Barack Obama will kick off his re-election campaign at the Schottenstein Center with first lady Michelle Obama by his side Saturday, and Democrat and Republican students will be making their voices heard during the event.
Drew Stroemple, a second-year in economics and political science and president of the Ohio State College Republicans, said although he won’t personally be attending, other members will be there to show their dissatisfaction.
“We are going to get kids out there and have signs,” Stroemple said. “We are going to try to have our voices heard and let people know that we’re not satisfied with Barack Obama and the work he’s doing with our country.”
Obama will be speaking at 1:25 p.m. with doors opening to the public at 10:30 a.m. The rally Saturday will mark Obama’s second visit to OSU’s campus in as many months. On March 22, Obama spoke about his energy policies at the RPAC.
The public event on OSU’s campus is the official beginning of the 2012 election, and Obama has a rally planned at Virginia Commonwealth University later on Saturday.
Republican candidate Mitt Romney has also been in central Ohio in the past week. Romney spoke at Otterbein College April 26 about the economy and his plan to bring the nation back to a world leader.
In October 2010, Obama held a rally on the Oval in which more than 30,000 people attended.
Mallory Kimble, a second-year in business and president of the OSU College Democrats, said she will be at the rally Saturday and is excited to see Obama focusing so greatly on Ohio.
“I think that it’s really good for him to come to Ohio because this is just an important state,” Kimble said. “We’re one of the largest universities (in the country) and the largest in the state.”
“In a lot of ways, it’s great for our school that we have this kind of attention in the election,” Stroemple said. “Obviously I’m hoping that for a campaign visit the school isn’t spending any of their funds, but I think it’s a positive experience to have him here as long as we get Romney here as well.”
Although he thinks the rally is a positive experience, Stroemple said he has several issues with Obama’s progress with health care and unemployment and sees more potential in Republican hopeful Mitt Romney.
“As president you’re supposed to be a leader and you’re supposed to take things seriously, and as a voter nobody can say that he’s taken these issues seriously and worked toward changing them,” Stroemple said. “I’m very excited that Mitt Romney is the nominee. He’s a great candidate and has incredibly more experience than Barack Obama did coming into office in 2008.”
Kimble disagreed and said she’s happy with Obama’s policy changes and the progress he’s made while in office.
“I am just hoping that he will talk about all the accomplishments he’s had while in office so far,” Kimble said. “One-in-eight jobs in Ohio are tied to the auto industry that was saved because of the bailout. Romney criticized the auto industry bailout and said we should have let the auto industry fail.”
Yahye Osman, a fourth-year in chemistry, said he won’t be attending the rally, but supports Obama coming to campus.
“I would go, but the whole process is just not worth it,” Osman said. “You can watch it online if you really want to listen. But it’s still pretty awesome, it shows that he cares about Ohio and knows how important the state is to the election.”
Stroemple said Ohio is an important state for a different reason.
“College Republicans are looking to show that Ohio is not Barack Obama’s to win,” Stroemple said. “He’s going to get a lot of opposition from here.”