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Michelle Obama courts student vote

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 1, 2008

BOULDER, Colo.

Michelle Obama urged University of Colorado students to register to vote at an event here Wednesday, underscoring the importance of both Colorado and the youth vote in her husband's presidential campaign.

"We are just weeks away from the election and we need to kick some butt," said Mrs. Obama, echoing a voice in the crowd of about 1,000 students and locals at an outdoor rally at Farrand Field on the university campus.

Mrs. Obama, who was joined on the podium by former Denver Broncos receiver Rod Smith and Colorado First Lady Jeannie Ritter, focused much of her speech yesterday on getting out the vote.

"Colorado is what we call a battleground state -- that means what happens here can set the tone for the rest of the nation," Mrs. Obama said. "This is a swing state, and we need to do some swinging."

A Princeton University graduate, Mrs. Obama empathized with the struggles faced by students attempting to afford a college education.

"You come out so mired in debt, as Barack and I did. We just paid off our student loans a few years ago, and that was because Barack wrote two best-selling books," said Mrs. Obama. "Don't we want a president who understands what its like to carry debt?"

That message struck a chord with Julie Brown and Paul Albert, a married couple still working to pay off their graduate-student loans while raising a young family.

"It really limits your freedom," said Mrs. Brown, who said she was forced to drop out of a doctorate program due to the expense. "The Obamas have been through that, and that really spoke to us."