President Obama continued pushing his jobs bill in battleground states on Wednesday, telling a fired-up crowd of students at North Carolina State University that, "If you love me, you've got to help me pass this bill!"
Mr. Obama, speaking to a crowd of more than 9,000 people in an unairconditioned auditorium, reiterated the main points of his recently-unveiled American Jobs Act, and urged students to help him get it passed through Congress.
Framing the task as a "homework assignment," the president called on students to "lift your voice, make it heard."
"For those of you who did skip class today, I've got a homework assignment for you," he said, "tell your Congress person that the time for gridlock and games is over; the time for action is now."
"You can write a letter," the president suggested, to laughter from the audience, after listing off a series of (largely Twitter-generation-friendly) methods for students to speak out. "When was the last time you did that?"
The president touted a series of proposals in the bill that he said would help America "get back to a place where we're creating good, middle-class jobs again."
"Jobs that pay well; jobs that offer some security... I know that's what the students are thinking about," he said. "And we can do that if we can finally get Washington to act. If we can get folks to stop worrying so much about their jobs and start worrying a little more about your jobs."
"Pass this bill and right here in North Carolina about 19,000 construction workers will have a job again," Mr. Obama pledged. "Pass this jobs bill and there will be funding to save the jobs of up to 13,000 North Carolina teachers, cops and firefighters."
The president particularly emphasized the bill's commitment to providing jobs in education and improving educational facilities.
"All across North Carolina, all across the country, there's schools with leaky ceilings and lousy heating... [with] ventilation so poor it can make students sick," he said, prompting laughter from the crowd in light of the room's lack of air conditioning.
"How can we expect our kids to do our best in places like that?" he asked. "We've got incredibly talented young people who want to teach, but while places like South Korea are adding teachers... we're laying off teachers left and right."
As the student-packed audience cheered, Mr. Obama urged: "Tell Congress to pass the American jobs act and put teachers back into the classroom where they belong."
"We know what's right: We know what we've got to do to create jobs right now," he continued, to enthusiastic applause. "We've got to give workers new skills for new jobs... We've got to give our young people a chance to earn a college education... We need to build an economy that lasts."
"I love you Barack!" one voice cried out in the crowd.
"I love you back," the president replied. "But if you love me, you've got to help me pass this bill!"