Obama encourages Barnard grads to lead their generation
President Barack Obama spent most of his time in the city Monday working to keep his job, but, in a commencement address at Barnard College, he urged female graduates to take aim at the presidency themselves.
Obama kept politics to a minimum as he spoke to the nearly 600 Barnard seniors, urging the students to work hard and lead their generation.
"Don't just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table," he said to a roaring crowd.
Obama, who graduated across the street from Barnard at Columbia College in 1983, noted that women have come far professionally since then. In particular, he touted the success of female leaders such as Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who spoke at Barnard in recent years. The president, however, added that women still needed progress in other fields.
"If you earned your degree in areas where we need more women, like computer science or engineering, reach back and persuade another student to study it too," he said.
The commencement was the start of the commander in chief's long agenda in the Big Apple Monday that caused presidential gridlock throughout Manhattan.
After speaking with the graduates, Obama taped an appearance for "The View" that will air Tuesday and is set to attend two fundraisers Monday night, including one for a LGBT group that was hosted by pop singer Ricky Martin.
Last week, the president officially endorsed same-sex marriage in a TV interview, while his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, proclaimed during his commencement address at Liberty University in Virginia on Saturday that he believed marriage should be between a man and a woman .
The president has attended 27 fundraisers in the city since last April, when he filed for his candidacy, and has raised more than $147 million overall for his re-election, according to FEC filings.