Oct 262008
Authors: Johnny Hart

Zach Braff, the star of the show “Scrubs” and the movie “Garden State,” along with Democratic candidate for the 4th Congressional District, Betsy Markey, spoke to a crowd of more than 150 students Saturday, pushing students to vote and vote early.

The event, which was held to push Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign, focused on Colorado as a major swing state in the upcoming election.

“Colorado is the new Florida,” Braff said in his speech. “This is ground zero. This is the center. This is the battleground state.”

Markey likened Colorado to Florida by reminding the crowd that President George Bush won Florida in 2000 by approximately 500 votes.

Kelly Carnal, co-chair of the CSU Republicans, said she agreed with Braff on that issue, saying, “Colorado is so important.”

Braff, a surrogate campaigner for Obama, said he felt that most college-aged voters relate to Obama and support him for the upcoming election much like he does.

He jokingly compelled the crowd to vote for Obama, using his celebrity status by offering autographs as a catalyst.

“If you vote for Barack Obama, I’ll sign anything — and I’ve signed a lot of strange things,” Braff said.

Carnal said the trend of college-aged voters supporting Obama depends on location, and that in her home state of Missouri support trends may be different.

“I think it depends on where you are,” she said. “In Fort Collins, I think that a lot more college kids support Obama.”

Although campaigning for Obama, Braff said his purpose for being here was to “rally the youth to vote —- even if it is for McCain.”

“If you don’t agree with me, that’s awesome — that’s what America is about,” Braff said in a press conference after the event.

Braff said he believes the youth vote was not as energized four years ago as it is now.

“You cannot not participate in this election,” Braff said.

But at all three universities Braff visited, including the University of Denver and the University of Colorado-Boulder as well as CSU, he said there was tremendous energy about the election among the students.

“With a battleground state you can’t sit back. You can’t be apathetic,” Braff said.

Carnal said the college vote is important, but warned the demographic is not the only group vital to the election.

“Obviously the vote of the college student is important — we’re the future,” Carnal said. “But it’s not like we’re the only voters that matter.”

News Editor Johnny Hart can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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