Discuss as:

Obama to Ohio students: 'Grab your friends' and go vote

COLUMBUS, OH – As the presidential race heats up in Ohio, President Barack Obama took to the state the same day as Mitt Romney to urge young people to vote -- and to hammer his rival’s positions on foreign policy and cuts to popular government programs.

Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images

President Barack Obama greets supporters after speaking during a campaign event at the Oval at Ohio State University October 9, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio.

Telling a crowd of about 15,000 at Ohio State University to take advantage of Ohio’s early voting period, Obama said, “Grab your friends and grab everybody in your dorm, grab your fraternity or sorority” and go to a polling place after his speech, adding that buses waited around the corner to shuttle voters there.

Obama’s appearance here comes at the end of a three-day trip that consisted mostly of fundraising events in California, while Romney, who arrived here this afternoon, will hunker down in the state for the next three days, making up for his previously light footprint here.

At Ohio State, Obama also decried Romney’s foreign policy speech Monday during which he criticized the president’s policies and said he would have kept a troop presence in Iraq.

“If (Gov. Romney) got his way, those troops would still be there,” Obama said. In a speech yesterday, he doubled down on that belief. He said ending the war was a mistake,” Obama said.

The president also added some new embellishments to his now-routine warnings that Romney would cut funding for PBS programs like Sesame Street.

“He's decided we're going after Big Bird. Elmo's making a run for the border – and Oscar's hiding out in a trash can. And Governor Romney wants to let Wall Street run wild again, but he's going to bring down the hammer on Sesame Street,” he said.

To hammer home the point, rapper will.i.am, who performed before the president arrived at the event site, blasted the Sesame Street theme song over the public address system.