If you were in line at the Greenprint station on first floor Berry Library this Thursday night around 11 p.m., you may have caught a glimpse of Chris Walla, the hoodie-clad guitarist for alternative rock band Death Cab for Cutie.Walla addresses supporters at a campaign stop Thursday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Andy Fate / The Badger Herald.
Walla, who recently told Rolling Stone he’s using his “J-list” celebrity status to help get President Barack Obama re-elected, stopped by Baker-Berry Library as part of a 24 Hour “Around the Clock for Barack” tour organized by the New Hampshire Obama campaign.
Whether Romney or Obama holds the attention of youth voters has been contested again and again by various news outlets through various polls. Regardless, the Obama campaign’s 24-hour tour throughout New Hampshire a mere 18 days before the election shows that even late in the game, it is not taking any chances.
Walla was joined by former New Hampshire Congressman Paul Hodes ’72, Manchester alderman Garth Corriveau, former Mass. treasurer Shannon O’Brien and Newton, Mass. mayor Setti Warren.
“Because we only have 18 days to go, we’re using every minute of every day to work to get Barack Obama elected,” Hodes said.
The tour kicked off at 5 p.m. on Thursday, with stops at New Hampshire campuses and diners culminating at a phone bank stump in Manchester at 5 p.m. on Friday.
New Hampshire Obama for America communications director Holly Shulman said the campaign selected Dartmouth to target college-aged voters likely to be awake and (hopefully) ready for discussion at 11 p.m. on a Thursday night.
“People know what’s at stake with this election,” she said.
Dozens of students showed up in Baker Hall to grab a slice of free pizza, some leaving immediately, others writing their name down on a sign-up sheet and several sticking around to speak with campaign representatives about Obama’s platform.
Schulman and other Obama campaigners say young voters will rally around issues like equal pay for women, funding for Pell Grants and Planned Parenthood and the repeal of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
But not all students seemed so sure. Several asked campaign volunteers pointed questions about Obama’s record, revealing that even in the last few days before the election, many may remain undecided.
In response to a question about Obama’s economic record, Hodes said many of Obama’s efforts were stymied by lingering Bush-era decisions.
“He faced a Medicare benefit that had not been paid for, deficits heading in a very bad direction and a collapsed economy,” Hodes said, touching on an argument Obama has repeated often – and Mitt Romney has challenged – in recent debates.
But for Walla, who began his political activism in the 90s as a teenager trying to repeal Seattle’s Teen Dance Ordinance, this election represents a critical, generational moment for young voters.
Traveling on a tour bus across blurry state lines with Death Cab for over 15 years, guitarist-turned-Obama activist Chris Walla said he “realized that there’s so much more that binds us together than separates us.”
Walla said he found himself captivated by this “firey” vision during Obama’s 2008 election, one which he hopes to stoke in last-minute campaign stops around the country. So far, Walla has traveled to New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Ohio and Virginia for stops at college campuses and other youth-frequented stops, and hopes to travel more in the foreseeable future.
Walla said one of his main goals is to help clear up “misconceptions” about the “largely misunderstood” Obamacare, pointing to its promise of coverage for young adults up to age 26, as well as for all individuals with pre-existing conditions.
“It’s all very meaningful for me,” Walla said before he headed upstairs to third floor Berry Library.
Note: The title of this post is a play on the Death Cab for Cutie album “We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes.”
Tags: chris walla, death cab for cutie, marina villeneuve