CNN Features College-Age Supporters of Obama, Clinton; None From GOP

NewsBusters.org - Media Research CenterCNN’s senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, in a report on Thursday’s "Newsroom" program about college student participation in the Iowa caucuses, featured two supporters of Democratic presidential candidates, one for Barack Obama, and the other a supporter of Hillary Clinton. While host Kyra Philips, in her introduction to the report, highlighted how "all presidential supporters want all the support they can get, and that includes the under-30 crowd," the report did not feature any young supporters of Republican candidates.

Crowley’s report, which aired 16 mintues into the 1 pm Eastern hour, focused on the Obama campaign’s outreach to the "under-30 crowd," and described him in glowing terms. "Barack Obama is a hit on college campuses. He's young. He's new. He campaigns against status quo politics."

The report also featured two sound bites from John Mahoney, a Obama supporter at the University of Northern Iowa, and one from Chris Hasstedt, a "Clinton man" who is a senior at Iowa State University.

The full transcript of the report from Thursday’s "CNN Newsroom:"

KYRA PHILLIPS: It's an irony of politics. The group with the biggest stake in the future is often the least likely to vote. In Iowa, with the caucuses now exactly two weeks away, all the presidential hopefuls want all the support they can get, and that includes the under-30 crowd. One candidate in particular is counting on a big caucus turnout from college kids. Here's CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Josh Mahoney, a junior at University of Northern Iowa, is caucusing for Obama. It's a logistical nightmare.

MAHONEY: I'm going to drive 4 and a half hours from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in my Toyota 1993 model. It's terrible, and I'm embarrassed. I'm going to come all the way down here, and I'm going to caucus.

CROWLEY: If they'll be 18 by the 2008 election, and are registered to vote where they will caucus, Iowa college students, regardless of where they're from, can participate.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you're going to be out of state for the holidays, come back on January 3.

CROWLEY: Counting on students to trek back to college in the middle of winter break, two days after New Year's, is an iffy proposition. Even in-state students who can caucus at home are a tough get.

PROFESSOR ARTHUR SANDERS, DRAKE UNIVERSITY: You have to identify where they're going to be on January 3 and somehow, communicate that to your field offices there, here's some people who you won't be able to contact now, because they're not there yet, but they're going to get there soon.

CROWLEY: Barack Obama is a hit on college campuses. He's young. He's new. He campaigns against status quo politics. More than any other campaign, Obamaville counts on the Joshes of Iowa.

MAHONEY: And I think we're, you know, at the right age. We're kind of get on board with, you know, a new strategy.

CROWLEY: One Obama strategist says the under-30 crowd is possibly the most highly-motivated bloc of Obama supporters. The campaign has spent the better part of the year collecting cell numbers and e-mail addresses.

John Edwards is targeting proven caucus-goers. Hillary Clinton aiming at middle-aged women, considerably safer bets than the under-30 set.

KRIS HASSTEDT, IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY STUDENT: I just called to invite you to a...

CROWLEY: Twenty-two-year-old Chris Hasstedt, an Iowa State senior, is a Clinton man himself. But he does sense that maybe the younger vote is coming of age.

HASSTEDT: I work at one of the grocery stores, which is mainly college students, and a lot of them, every time I go in there, it's a buzz about the candidates: who they're supporting, why -- where they're going to caucus, and stuff like that.

CROWLEY: Some Iowa colleges are planning to open up part of campus over the break so students can caucus.

OBAMA: Thank you so much, Cornell (Cornell College in Iowa, not Cornell University in New York).

CROWLEY: At Camp Obama, they believe -- they hope -- if college is open, they will come.

CROWLEY (on camera) A cautionary note of which the Obama campaign is well aware. In 2004, just 17 percent of caucus-goers were under 30. Candy Crowley, CNN, Des Moines.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center