BOSTON — Where, oh where have the young voters gone? That's what MTV News has been wondering all day as we wander the capital of Massachusetts on Super Tuesday.
The city with more than 30 colleges may end up being the city with the lowest voter turnout among young people, and that doesn't look good for the man who was a popular governor here and will most likely run away with the state's Super Tuesday contest.
Those who did turn out to vote Tuesday — at least the small number of them we were able to find voting in the "semi-closed" Republican primary here — seemed to be casting ballots for Texas Congressman Ron Paul, though the final and official numbers will tell the full story. Romney, who after the Michigan and Arizona primaries finally caught up to Representative Paul in the number of total young voters received in the 2012 primary elections, hasn't been a runaway hit with the college crowd.
So we figured there was only one man to ask about low young voter turnout in this state where nearly 1 million voters 18-29 are eligible to cast ballots today: Romney himself, the former governor of this great commonwealth and the man who may very well take on President Barack Obama in November. But first, we had to find him.
Romney was scheduled to vote in his home neighborhood of Belmont, Massachusetts, at the Beech Street Center, so we raced from the empty polling places around Harvard University to Romney's 'hood. Two choppers circled the parking lot. The traveling press corps exited their bus. And finally, Romney emerged from his Secret Service-driven armored SUV, waved to us, and walked into his polling place.
After getting a tip he'd be having a press "avail" — or availability, in reporter-speak — we ran over to the soccer field across from the polling place and got our place set. Romney hopped back into his SUV, was driven around the soccer field, and hopped out with his wife Anne to step up to the microphone. They were standing less than 10 feet away from me. I was freezing in my heavy coat, and Romney was just wearing a suit.
After he made brief opening remarks and the first question was asked, I held up my MTV News microphone and blurted out: "Governor, what's your message to young voters, who are not turning out in very high numbers, particularly here in Massachusetts?"
Romney looked me right in the eyes and delivered this message to my fellow young Americans: "We want to get young people from across the country to make sure that they understand that this election is about their future. Right now, we're seeing a government spending massively more money than we take in, and that money is going to get paid back by our young people. They're going to pay the interest. They're going to pay the principle for years. This is a campaign to make sure that we save the future for our young people, and hopefully, as they focus on this election and as it comes closer to the general election, they'll recognize what's at stake."
He wants to save the future. There's a long way to go, but we'll be watching.
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