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JEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photo

Supporters for presidential hopeful Barack Obama discussed plans on the University of Wisconsin campus Thursday to get the Illinois senator elected to office.

Among plans to travel to Iowa in support of the first primary, Students for Obama chair Andrew Gordon announced the candidate would visit Madison within the next couple weeks, although an exact date is yet to be set.

The organization is planning five bus trips to Iowa to support Obama in the first primary election.

Six hundred University of Wisconsin students have signed up as Students for Obama supporters and volunteers, group member Bryon Eagon said.

Eagon beleives Sen. Obama is the best candidate for president because "he has a strong record supporting students."

Obama's first legislation as a senator, Eagan said, was to increase the Pell Grant, something that would offer more money for students to attend college.

"That shows his dedication and support for students," Eagon said. "I think he could really connect with the youth, more then any other candidate because he's energetic, he's personable and he really understands issues that are important to students."

Ald. Eli Judge, District 8, who has endorsed Obama for president as an alder and on behalf of Students for a Fair Wisconsin, said the senator is "a really great advocate for students on a national level."

"I think at a lot of these elections, the students are underestimated in how they turn out," Judge said. "I think that students are resoundingly in favor of Obama."

Judge said Obama's strong and consistent stances on various issues also make him an ideal candidate.

"Aside for supporting civil rights in all of its forms, he's also been a very strong opponent to the war in Iraq," Judge said. "Something that's very near and dear to students' hearts is ending the war, and he's been against it since the beginning."

Gordon was pleased with the event's turnout and said, "There was a lot of passion in the room."

"I think we had a great turnout tonight," Gordon said. "We had 100 T-shirts, and we sold them all, and we had sheets for people to sign up for Iowa, and they're full."

Gordon said right now, Students for Obama is focused on the Iowa primaries.

"We've got five trips planned," Gordon said. "Certainly, we'll be talking to students and doing things that you normally would see students doing, but really our focus is in Iowa."

Gus Doyle, son of the Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, also spoke on behalf of Obama.

"My belief is that in the state of the world today, folks need to believe in something, and this is the man to take us to the next level," Doyle said.

Doyle added his father has yet to publicly endorse a candidate, but will focus on getting a Democrat elected.

College Republicans chair Sara Mikolajczak said she supports student involvement in the election, but suggested students educate themselves before supporting a candidate.

"I highly encourage [getting involved], as long as every student who wants to get involved can educate themselves on the issues and decide from that, not on the party identifications," Mikolajczak said.

Students for Hillary will kick off their campaign Sept. 20, and as of now, no events are planned for the Republican candidates.