Campus DNC party gets VP treatment

Students gathered in Rapson Hall to watch the DNC and hear from Walter Mondale.

Students for Obama president Laura Pratt and former U.S. vice president Walter Mondale watch a video stream from the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening in Rapson Hall. Mondale encouraged students to involve themselves in the political process this fall.

Daniel Worku

Students for Obama president Laura Pratt and former U.S. vice president Walter Mondale watch a video stream from the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening in Rapson Hall. Mondale encouraged students to involve themselves in the political process this fall.

Alexi Gusso

Walter Mondale knew he had a tough spot to fill and only a limited time to do it, but that didn’t seem to faze him.

After all, delivering speeches in tough situations was once part of his job description.

The former vice president and University of Minnesota graduate spoke briefly to students Thursday night at Rapson Hall during a Democratic National Convention watch party.

Students for Obama, a campus group focused on re-electing President Barack Obama, hosted the event, which featured a live feed of the Democratic National Convention speeches in Charlotte, N.C., projected on a big screen.

After Vice President Joe Biden’s speech, Mondale had only a brief time to speak before Obama took the stage.

Despite the tight timeframe, Mondale’s speech was well-received. He stressed the importance of voting Nov. 6.

“This election is really close. They’re going to have more money to spend against us than we’ve ever seen before. In fact, it is a disgrace,” Mondale said about the fund difference between the Obama and Romney campaigns.

Mondale also urged students to get involved with the Students for Obama organization and become politically active, much like he did when he was a University student in the late 1940s.

“I started out in politics when I was your age, sitting where you are now,” Mondale said in his speech. “I decided to get involved to make certain that Minnesota — and the country — was progressing and caring and positive and would support the next generation in their efforts to learn and seek opportunity.”

After growing up in a poor family, Mondale said the GI Bill, which aided student veterans, funded his University education.

“My parents had no money; I couldn’t ask them to take Romney’s advice,” Mondale joked, referring to a speech the presidential hopeful delivered in April where he encouraged students to borrow money for college from their parents.

As Obama’s speech drew nearer, Mondale finished with a final push for Obama.

“I know that office well, and I feel so good about him. Let’s give him this chance to be elected for four more years.”

When the president appeared on screen in Charlotte, the room erupted in applause.

Christiana Lim, a freshman and a student intern for Sen. Al Franken, thought the president delivered a strong message.

“Obama’s speech really inspired me to get more involved and to spread the word on what he stands for,” she said. “He’s standing up for equality for students, for women and for the middle class.”

Alex Rosselli, state youth vote director for Obama for America — Minnesota, said he was happy with the event’s turnout.

“The response of students here tonight about the president’s message was overwhelming,” he said.

Rosselli helped organize the event and plans to hold campaign activities around campus that will focus on increasing student voter turnout and raising support for Obama.

“I’m really optimistic. In 2008, students turned out to vote in record numbers,” he said. “In 2012 there’s no reason we won’t blow those numbers away.”