Actor Kal Penn Campaigns For Barack Obama At U. Rhode Island

This story was written by Andy Blais, The Good Five Cent Cigar
You may know Kal Penn from "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle," "House" or "24." But Thursday Penn visited the University of Rhode Island, not to do a stand up routine or to talk about his success, but to talk about presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

Penn talked to a group of about 20 students in the Multicultural Center yesterday about getting out the vote for Illinois senator. He encouraged students there to volunteer a half an hour of their time for Obama.

Penn came to URI because, "It's small, but that doesn't mean it's not important." He continued saying every state and every school is personally important to Obama.

"Often with tears in his eyes, he has said how proud he was that college students were finalizing mobilizing to prove cynics wrong," Penn said.

He continued to say that he knows Obama has a real chance of becoming elected.

"The Democratic National Convention was on TV and I had it on in the background and I sort of overheard some guy say ... 'Especially after 9-11, we shouldn't be divided between blue states and red states, we should focus on being the United States,'" he said. "My ears kind of perked up and I looked at the TV, and I'm like who's this guy with the big ears and the funny name and why is he saying all these amazing things?" Penn told students.

Penn first addressed an issue that most college students deal with on a daily basis: financial aid and money concerns. Penn spoke about Obama's $4,000 college student tax credit. The American Opportunity Tax Credit would cover the first $4,000 of college costs for every citizen.

"Some families have had three, four, five brothers and sisters, and the family has to decide which one goes to college," Penn said. "That's not acceptable to Senator Obama, nor do I think [it] should be acceptable for any of us."

Penn added many thought that the demographic that they fit into, 18 to 30, has often been taken as an age that won't mobilize to vote. He said Obama takes pride in being a candidate who has mobilized and energized the youth demographic.Penn told students about the international policy of Obama. He spoke about his policy beyond Iraq, including securing rogue nuclear weapons around the world and the work he has already done toward that goal.

"He wants to go in front of the United Nations and say that the United States is back," Penn said.

In addition to discussing Obama's platform, he also defended the senator's position against his competitor, New York democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. He spoke about federal lobbyist money and how Clinton continues to take lobbyist campaign donations. He even said that there were people employed at Obama headquarters in Chicago to check every donation for lobbyist money.

Penn also said that special interests will not be able to buy a spot at the table for Obama. "The only people he's going to owe favors to is us," Penn said. "Look at who has overwhelmingly addressed the needs of college students and students in general as part of his service. That goes all the way back to Barack's work in the Illinois State Senate."
© 2008 The Good Five Cent Cigar via U-WIRE