KU students welcome Obama to Kansas City

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, left, poses with Clarissa Unger, center, a Kansas University junior from Colby, and Marc Langston, president of KU College Democrats, outside the Westin Hotel in Kansas City, Mo.

Presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama received a surprise visit Monday from Kansas University students.

“Barack Chalk Jayhawks,” he told the crowd late Monday night at Kansas City’s Westin Hotel.

About 80 students, led by KU College Democrats President Marc Langston, organized an impromptu rally for the Illinois senator.

About 70 others joined them in welcoming Obama, who spoke Tuesday at a national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

“I’ve never seen him that happy,” said Langston, who met Obama when he visited Kansas City in May. “He was glowing.”

Langston said Obama seems to be the clear favorite among college Democrats.

“There are a few Hillary (Clinton) supporters, but not many,” he said.

Clarissa Unger, a junior from Colby, attended the rally.

“I thought there was no better way to make him stand out as a candidate who has a lot of support in this area,” she said. “He represents a change in our country and a change in politics that has never been seen before.”

Julia Groeblacher, a McPherson sophomore and president of the KU Young Democrats, took it one step further.

“I’ve heard him more than once called the next JFK,” Groeblacher said, comparing Obama to President Kennedy, who reached out especially well to students. “We want him to know he has a huge base of support in Kansas.

“At least at the University of Kansas.”