Washington: US President Barack Obama travelled to North Carolina to urge African Americans and college students to cast their ballots for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“So I hate to put a little pressure on you, but the fate of the republic rests on your shoulders. The fate of the world is teetering and you, North Carolina, are going to have to make sure that we push it in the right direction,” he said on Wednesday in front of over16,000 people on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Efe news reported.
The Clinton campaign has come to regard North Carolina as a potential counterweight in case of losses in traditionally Democratic states.
Polls show North Carolina voters are almost evenly divided between Clinton and her Republican rival Donald Trump with just days to go before the November 8 election.
Obama narrowly won the Tar Heel state in 2008, but lost there in 2012, a defeat attributed to a decline in turnout among black voters.
The president acknowledged on Wednesday that he was concerned about the levels of African American participation this year as reflected in figures on early voting.
The number of blacks in North Carolina taking advantage of early voting is down 16 per cent from 2012, according to an analysis by The New York Times.
Besides making an appeal to African Americans, Obama addressed the many students in the crowd at UNC.
“It’s not often that you can move the arc of history. Don’t let that chance slip away. Young people here, it’s not often that you know your voice will have an impact. Don’t give away your power. Don’t fall for the easy cynicism that says my vote doesn’t matter. That’s what Hillary’s opponent wants you to think because they don’t want you to vote,” the president said.
Invoking the struggle for voting rights, Obama accused the Republicans of seeking to keep young people and minorities from casting ballots.
“There are groups that are not even making secret plans. They are just saying that they will try to suppress the African-American vote on Election Day. Or the youth vote on Election Day,” he said.