Eric and Kumar go to UA

“Last week, campus was buzzing with the news that Chelsea Clinton was in town. Logic and the close delegate numbers made it clear that it would only be a matter of time before Barack Obama sent his secret weapon, or weapons, to Akron. Sure enough, the University of Akron received a visit from Obama’s special supporters on Wednesday afternoon.”

Last week, campus was buzzing with the news that Chelsea Clinton was in town. Logic and the close delegate numbers made it clear that it would only be a matter of time before Barack Obama sent his secret weapon, or weapons, to Akron.

Sure enough, the University of Akron received a visit from Obama’s special supporters on Wednesday afternoon. While actors Kal Penn and Eric Balfour may not be as close to Obama as Chelsea Clinton is to Hillary, their appearance certainly caught the eye of many UA students.

Tension rested in the crowd prior to their speech. Penn and Balfour had been on their way from Kent State University, and arrived nearly an hour after their scheduled appearance. The group of nearly 100 students, however, gave them an appreciative welcome as they climbed the small stage decorated with a single sign for Obama.

Balfour jumped right into his point. I don’t want to have to go to Europe and put a Canadian patch on my back, he joked. There was a time that being an American meant something.

His suggestion for change? Epitomizing Barack Obama’s campaign slogan, ‘Change we can believe in,’ he told his story of his involvement in the campaign and his reasoning behind his belief that Obama could be the change we need.

We need to make America great again, he said. As the youth of America, this is our time to do it.

Obama, he explained, is the only candidate who has not taken any money from special interest groups.

Penn added that Obama is also the only candidate to originally speak out against the war, even though he had been advised against it.

He said, ‘if lying about foreign policy is the way to get reelected, then I don’t want to be elected,’ Penn said.

They stayed on the general topic of appealing to the youth vote, and empowering the students to be interested in voting.

Facebook was recently valued at 1.6 billion dollars. That is wealth that our generation is created in a matter of years just sitting in front of our computers, Penn said. If we can do that, think of the power we have to change the way the politics work in this country.

Penn, probably best known for his role as Kumar in the cult classic Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, was asked after the speech if his role in the movie could negatively impact his representation of Obama.

I think that’s a very different thing, he said. I don’t actually smoke weed. He referenced Anthony Hopkins’ famous role as a cannibal in Silence of the Lambs. I hope that college students realize that Anthony Hopkins is not a cannibal, and I am not Kumar, he said.

He also pointed out the fact that all the questions asked in the speech had to do with Obama, rather than himself.

Many people came out today, but they were focused on Obama, he said. Every candidate has surrogates–some are celebrities, some are religious members, and some are academics.

I think that any awareness that you can bring to the campaign is necessary whether you’re a celebrity, a coach or a teacher, Balfour added. I think if you believe in change, then you have to show your views. You have to get out there, get people motivated, and tell people what’s going on. If you’re a celebrity and it helps, great.


” #1.1361277:4075951759.jpg:20080221_kal.jpg:Eric Balfour and Kal Penn speak for Obama in the Student Union.:Allison Strouse”