Obama Knocks Republicans, Courts Students In Campaign Swing

Students cheer as President Barack Obama makes a point during campaign stop on the campus of Colorado State University in For
Students cheer as President Barack Obama makes a point during campaign stop on the campus of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

* Obama seeks to energize campus vote as students start classes

* Reminds students of healthcare benefits under Obamacare

* Obama says Republicans, supporters "fib" about him

* Republicans says Obama economy has failed young Americans

By Margaret Chadbourn

FORT COLLINS, Colo., Aug 28 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama told college audiences in two political battleground states on Tuesday to beware of the rhetoric from the Republican Party's convention in Florida.

"This week in Tampa, my opponents will offer you their agenda. It should be a pretty entertaining show," Obama said during a campaign stop at Iowa State University.

"I'm sure they'll have some wonderful things to say about me, but what you won't hear from them is a path forward that meets the challenges of our time," he said.

On the campaign trail for a two-day college tour, Obama highlighted differences with the Republican nominee, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, on issues important to younger voters, including alternative-energy sources, tax cuts for wealthy Americans, gay marriage and women's rights.

He reminded listeners that because of his signature healthcare reform, known as Obamacare, students could continue to receive health insurance through their parents. Romney has pledged to repeal the law.

"Maybe we should call his plan, 'Romney doesn't care,'" Obama said.

Obama also accused Republicans and their supporters of stretching the truth in a multimillion-dollar ad effort to get him out of the White House.

"They'll just make stuff up if they have to. They're doing it already," he said at a second event at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. "Sometimes -- how do I put this nicely? -- they will just fib."


Obama, who relied heavily on university student support in the 2008 election, is making a concerted effort to energize the campus vote as the new academic year begins.

On campuses, Obama has highlighted his administration's efforts to increase federal student aid while reducing student debt.

Romney has countered with the claim that Obama's "failed" economic policies are responsible for joblessness among younger Americans. "Under President Obama, 'hope and change' has failed the youth of America," said a full-page ad by the Romney campaign in the Iowa State Daily newspaper.

Speaking at the Republican convention in Tampa, the head of the College Republican National Committee, Alex Schriver, adopted a similar line of attack.

"Half of my generation didn't get up and go to a job this morning," he said. "At the end of the day, Barack Obama has failed young Americans."

Obama took pains during the day to assure Americans he was closely watching Hurricane Isaac and preparing for recovery efforts, implicitly drawing parallels with the widely criticized response to Hurricane Katrina seven years ago by the Republican administration of President George W. Bush.

"We've been getting ready for this storm for days," Obama said as he began his remarks at Iowa State. "America will be there to help folks recover no matter what this storm brings, because when disaster strikes, we're not Democrats or Republicans first, we're one family."

Obama has issued emergency declarations for Louisiana and Mississippi this week because of Isaac.

Campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki deflected any suggestion Obama should put off campaigning to deal with the storm, saying he would change plans if need be, but that with the election less than 70 days away, it was important for him to make his case to voters.

"Obviously, the Republican convention is proceeding as planned," she said.