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Race & Demographics

Obama Visits Greensboro To Help Secure African-American Voters For Clinton

NC A&T, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Black Voters
Leoneda Inge
/
WUNC
Boimah Sandimanie is a student at NC A&T State University. He attended the Barack Obama rally in Greensboro. on Tuesday, October 11, 2016. He said it was exciting to see the President for the first time.

Numbers have consistently shown black voters to overwhelmingly support Barack Obama. And at Tuesday's rally in Greensboro, one would have thought he was running for a third term as President.Instead, President Obama was campaigning for Democrat Hillary Clinton, working hard to secure especially young voters of colors. It’s a group Clinton needs in order to win North Carolina.

Tuesday’s rally at the White Oak Amphitheatre in Greensboro felt a lot like the Barack Obama rallies of 2008 and 2012, with screaming supporters yelling, "I love you!"

“I love you back!" said President Obama. "I love North Carolina, I do. I always used to say, people are so nice in North Carolina, even the people who didn’t vote for me are still nice to me.”

There was even a t-shirt stand along the road outside the rally selling "Hillary Clinton for President" t-shirts and t-shirts featuring Barack Obama’s famous face.

Jarvis Hall, a political science professor at North Carolina Central University, said it was clear the president felt at home in front of that kind of a crowd.

"I think we need more visits like that, more surrogates like that," Hall said. "But nobody can do what Obama and Michelle Obama can do in exciting a crowd like that.”

There have been lingering questions if the Clinton campaign can persuade enough black people to vote for Clinton. Elon University poll results released this month show Clinton has 98 percent support from African Americans.

Hall said while polls are good, neither candidate – Republican Donald Trump nor Clinton – can take North Carolina votes for granted.

“In order for Hillary Clinton to win, she would have to have a very large turnout of African-American voters and especially young voters and that’s where she is having some problems. There’s an enthusiasm gap, especially between her and Obama," said Hall.

And that’s why the president was here, to help make sure his votes in 2008 pass on to Clinton in 2016.

“I can tell you, that the African American participation in this election is going to equal or going to exceed the participation in 2008," Congressman G.K. Butterfield said.

It sounds like Congressman G.K Butterfield has a crystal ball at his office. The Democrat, whose district stretches from Durham all the way to Elizabeth City, says he’s confident Clinton will win North Carolina.

“And I talked to people at all levels in the community. I was at a McDonald’s this morning talking to the lady who was sweeping the floor and cleaning the tables. And she is so upset about this election, she said she cannot wait to vote in this election," said Butterfield.

And it’s been a nasty election. Politicians and political scientists say Clinton’s lack of enthusiasm and lack of grassroots campaigning in black communities has nothing on Trump's documented attacks on women and minorities.

Taylor Bullock, 18, is a freshman at North Carolina A&T State University, one of hundreds of cheering Aggies at the Obama rally. This first-time voter admits she came out to see the President.

"I came to see President Obama, I’ll vote Hillary," Bullock said with some hesitation. "Well, I’m not going to vote for Trump.”

An unenthusiastic vote is the same as an enthusiastic vote – it still counts. Democratic Congresswoman Alma Adams made sure this Obama crowd got the message.

“So join us at the ballot box, get registered to vote, cast your vote early and let’s turn this mother out!” said Adams.

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