Addressing an eager audience of students at N.C. Central University’s rally for President Barack Obama Tuesday night, actress Gabrielle Union began a cheer: “Fired up?”
“Ready to go,” the students answered with unfading enthusiasm, which the Democratic leaders present at the event hope will last through November.
The NCCU auditorium seats 500 — and all seats were filled. The line to get in still reached around the front of the building and down the street until the students moved into two overflow rooms.
While Union was the crowd favorite, Barack Obama’s senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and campaign manager Jim Messina also participated.
And U.S. Reps. G.K. Butterfield and David Price, D-N.C., gave short speeches urging students to turn out and keep the state Democratic.
“There’s not a game plan we have where you’re not absolutely critical,” Price said.
NCCU’s event was the first stop in a tour of National HBCU Obama Student Summits, an effort to re-energize one of Obama’s reliable bases in students of historically black colleges and universities.
In 2008, the state turned blue largely thanks to a massive turnout of young voters, 70 percent of whom voted for the president.
Still, Democrats won the state by a margin of just 14,000 votes.