President Barack Obama talked student loans and much more at UNC-Chapel Hill this afternoon. For a quick-take story, click here.
Here's a few more scribbles from the notebook:
-- Obama didn't address the two hottest issues in North Carolina politics right now: the constitutional marriage amendment and the state Democratic Party scandal. But the president did meet with Melissa Hodges, who is featured in a new anti-amendement TV ad. And much to Republicans chagrin he didn't nationalize the local party troubles -- and there's no reason to think he would have commented on the matter given his tightly controlled appearances.
--Gov. Bev Perdue received a good bit of love from Obama. And when he introduced her, the crowd didn't boo like a few months ago when she was introduced at a UNC basketball game. But despite what state GOP Chairman Robin Hayes said this morning, the reaction at the game wasn't about students upset about not getting a job.
--Obama admitted to some pandering to start his speech when he reminded the crowd he picked the Tar Heels to win the NCAA basketball championship. "And if Kendall hadn't gotten hurt, you know, who knows ..." Obama did get to meet James Michael McAdoo at RDU airport when he arrived. "It's always good to begin with some easy applause lines," he said.
--Obama got personal about the student loan debt he and his wife carried. AP's Ben Feller has a nice piece on how this is meant to contrast with the wealthy Mitt Romney.
--Spotted in the crowd: former UNC soccer star Mia Hamm and husband Nomar Garciaparra, a former Red Sox star. Less interesting: a bevy of Democratic state lawmakers, including Reps. Joe Hackney, Jennifer Weiss, Verla Insko, Mickey Michaux and William Wainwright., atended as did Congressmen David Price, Brad Miller and G.K. Butterfield.
--Official crowd estimate 8,000
--Republican U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx didn't attend. But Obama made her infamous by repeating (in paraphrase) her line about not having "tolerance" for those graduating with $200,000 in student debt. "She said she had ‘very little tolerance for people who tell me they graduate with debt because there’s no reason for that.’ I’m just quoting here,” Obama said. “The students who rack up student loan debt are just ‘sitting on their butts having opportunity dumped in your lap.’ I’m reading it here. I didn’t make this up.
“Now, can you imagine saying something like that?" he continued. "Those of you who’ve had to take out student loans, you didn’t do it because you’re lazy."
--Spoke to Garrett Jacobs, the chairman of the College Republican club on campus. He said Romney supporters were handing out literature before the speech on campus but they didn't organize any rally or protest. An unrelated interesting note: the UNC College Republicans are abstaining from taking a stand on the constitutional marriage amendment. "We are neutral," he said. "We have members who are strong supports and strong opponents."