Ohio Senator Rob Portman visited an Ohio State College Republicans meeting and left them with a central message: college students have the ability to make a difference.
“I hope you reach out to some of your friends on campus who haven’t decided (who to vote for) yet. The pollsters tell us that only about 10 percent, in fact some say even less, voters who are truly undecided. Everybody else is decided, they’re either for (Mitt) Romney or (Barack) Obama. I don’t believe that,” Portman said.
Portman spoke to a crowd of about 275 students at the US Bank Conference Theatre in the Ohio Union. The meeting was scheduled to begin at 7:45 p.m., and Portman began speaking about 8:05 p.m.
He emphasized the importance of talking to people and spreading the word on voting in order to help Republican presidential candidate Romney in what he called the “most important election in his (Portman’s) lifetime.”
“I think there are a lot of people who might say they’re voting for President Obama who are really not happy. Who could be happy in this situation? They’re receptive to your input, they want to hear from you. Talk to them about this. Give them the facts. Let them know that the record is a record of failure,” Portman said.
Obama spoke to a crowd of about 3,300 at Capital University on Tuesday, and also highlighted the importance of the youth staying motivated.
“They’re counting on young people to sit this one out,” Obama said. “But I’m counting on something different, I’m counting on you. I’m counting on the fact that when the American people focus and push aside all the nonsense, that they remember the fact that whatever success we achieve, we achieve together.”
Portman was elected to the Senate for Ohio in 2010 and will be up for re-election in 2014. He also served as a United States Trade Representative from 2005 until 2006, after serving in the House of Representatives for Ohio’s second district from 1993 until 2005.
Niraj Antani, the communication director for OSU College Republicans, re-emphasized Portman’s message for college students.
“I think what he was trying to get across was that it is critical for the youth to get involved,” Antani said. “Enthusiasm for Obama is down, and enthusiasm for Romney is up among college students.”
Another point Portman accentuated was the importance of college students being able to find a job after graduation. He said if students want to be able to find jobs after graduation, electing Romney would be a step in the right direction.
Portman called Romney’s vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan a “reformer” who has “pushed the Republican party to not just say no, but in fact to say there’s a better way.”
Portman said Obama has been unwilling to work with Republicans to accomplish goals in Washington.
“There are so many great opportunities for us to do the right thing and to turn this around, but it won’t happen under this president. It won’t happen unless we make a change,” Portman said.
Matthew Pham, a graduate student in agricultural economics, said he agreed with Portman’s central message.
“Essentially he said how all college students have to get involved and do something to affect the future,” Pham said.