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Obama reaches out to younger voters

US president Barack Obama tried to renew his relationship with younger voters on Thursday, holding a live town hall meeting on MTV, in which he accepted questions via Twitter and Facebook.

world Updated: Oct 15, 2010 10:52 IST

US president Barack Obama tried to renew his relationship with younger voters on Thursday, holding a live town hall meeting on MTV, in which he accepted questions via Twitter and Facebook.

Obama's election victory in 2008 owed a lot to his overwhelming popularity among young Americans. But this crucial demographic has found it particularly hard to get ahead in the recession, where entry-level jobs are scarce and tuition fees are rising.

While advance reports claimed that MTV had screened the audience to ensure a friendly crowd, Obama took the first question from a Republican, who blamed him for failing to follow through on pre-election promises of bipartisanship.

Other issues raised by the audience in the studio and online, included the economy, the costs of higher education, internet bullying and the problems facing the government pension system. Obama also acknowledged the concern of the conservative tea party movement over deficit spending, and said that racial diversity was at the basis of his belief in the future of America.

Obama also commented on the role of the internet in radicalising the political dialogue.

"The internet and Twitter are very powerful, but instead of holding a dialogue we just call people names," he said. "We're all Americans, we all want to make sure that the economy is strong, people don't get bankrupt when they get sick and that young people can afford an education. We've got to stop the name calling and stop looking just at the next election and figure out what we are going to do for the next generation."

Obama has also reached out to younger voters at recent rallies at George Washington University and the University of Wisconsin in a bid to urge them to participate in November congressional elections.