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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Democrats use star power to rally youth

Posted By on Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Democrats are trying hard to re-energize the youth vote that put their leader into office four years ago, and they know they can’t do it without help from Hollywood.

Millenials outnumbered Boomers in a crowd at Discovery Place Wednesday afternoon, where the National Journal and The Atlantic hosted a grouping of politically minded movie stars during Conversations with the Next Generation. NBC’s senior White House correspondent and political analyst Chuck Todd co-moderated with former first daughter-turned NBC reporter Chelsea Clinton.

From left, Penn, Ferrera, Woodard and Todd

The pair held separate, back-to-back sessions focused on issues young voters historically carry with them to the polls. Todd led off with actors America Ferrera, Kal Penn and Alfre Woodard. Clinton went one on one with Andrew Jenks of MTV’s The Power of 12.

The IMAX Theater was at capacity filled with mostly college students, some from local universities. Jessica Alba and her husband Cash Warren listened from the second row.

Ferrera, an ambassador with Voto Latino, the country’s leading organization in registering young, Latino voters, used her time on the podium to gain traction for local and statewide elections.

“Young people need to know that there are many local ballot issues and Senate and House races that will impact their communities,” Ferrera said.

Penn, widely recognized for his portrayal of the stoner-dude, Kumar in the Harold and Kumar films, also worked in the Obama administration as director of public engagement. He has spoken at universities across the country on the presidents behalf. He told Wednesday's audience that fifteen million people across the country have turned voting age since the 2008. He insisted that the youth still supports the same candidate they did four years ago.

“There are huge crowds at campaign offices I visit and young people hungry to discuss significant policy issues in detail,” Penn said.

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