This story was written by Katharine Lackey, Daily Collegian
As a result of a massive registration push by a student group, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., will be speaking at 11:30 a.m. Sunday on the Old Main lawn, sources close to the campaign confirmed.
As part of his six-day "Road to Change" bus tour across Pennsylvania, the presidential hopeful will be stopping in State College, said Greg Stewart, co-chair of Obama's Pennsylvania field team.
Matt Lehrich, Obama's Pennsylvania spokesman confirmed the event last night
Michael Stewart, president of Penn State Students for Barack Obama, officially confirmed Obama's appearance, and said it is a direct result of the organization registering 7,000 Penn State students in less than a month to vote in the April 22 primary, with an estimated 5,400 registered as Democrats.
"It's everything we could have ever dreamed of, and now it's cool to see our candidate come out and make sure everybody's heard," he said. "I really believe in his message and his candidacy so just to have him here is quite an honor."
Preparation for the event is already in full swing with numerous volunteers helping out, Michael Stewart said, adding that the Secret Service will have to take a look at the location.
His father, Greg Stewart, said he has made repeated requests for more than a year to get Obama to visit State College, but thinks the presidential hopeful would have made a stop even if the Pennsylvania primary hadn't become so pivotal in the race for the Democratic nomination.
"This is a major location here in Central Pennsylvania, so I think this would have been a high priority [especially] given his appeal with young voters," Greg Stewart said.
Even though she is a Republican, Sarah Johnson (graduate-ecology) said she would attend Obama's speech.
"I'd like to see what he has to say -- see what we're running against," she said. "I think he has some good views on education ... but I don't really know much about his platform."
A staunch supporter of Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, Brian Fleming (senior-forest biology) said he's more "pumped" for Paul's appearance on April 11.
"I'd probably go to see what [Obama] has to say, but I'd most likely wear my Ron Paul shirt there," he said.
Lauren England (junior-marketing) also said she would try to attend Obama's speech to get more information about the presidential candidate.
"I think it's great that candidates are recognizing Penn State, and that the Penn State campus has the ability to make a difference in this election," she said.
© 2008 Daily Collegian via U-WIRE