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UW graduate Micah Peppel decorated signs on Library Mall Monday for President Obama’s visit to campus. Most of the campus area surrounding Library Mall will be shut down for the rally, and students can only exit and enter through Park Street.[/media-credit]

Today thousands of people will file onto Library Mall to see President Barack Obama on the University of Wisconsin campus.

Obama spoke about his upcoming trip to UW in a conference call with student reporters Monday and explained his desire to visit Wisconsin again, which will be his fifth visit in the past year.

“First of all, I’m a Midwest guy, and so whenever I get a chance to get back to the Midwest I’m always happy about it,” he said. “Second, I love Madison because when I was just out of college…I used to drive up there and have fun times, which I can’t discuss in detail.”

In addition, Obama said he wants to re-energize young voters about the upcoming Nov. 2 election.

The importance of the midterm election is what Obama said he really wants to address at today’s rally, which he hopes will get young voters back to the polls.

“Democracy is never a one-and-done proposition,” he said “It’s something that requires sustained engagement and sustained involvement. And I just want to remind everybody of that.”

Democratic National Committee Chairman and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine said in an interview with The Badger Herald Obama is coming back to Wisconsin because of his track record during the 2008 presidential election, both in the primaries and the general election.

“He feels at home [in Wisconsin] – he’s a neighbor,” Kaine said.

Kaine said Obama will highlight the differences between voting for Republicans and Democrats during the rally, especially in the competitive races for governor, in the Senate and certain congressional districts.

Spokesperson for the Republican Party of Wisconsin Andrew Welhouse said he believes Obama is trying to gain back the popularity he had during the 2008 presidential campaign and Wisconsin being a significant battleground state explains his reasons for coming here.

The rally, sponsored by the Democratic National Committee, will also feature Wisconsin gubernatorial hopeful Tom Barrett and Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis. Musician Ben Harper will also perform.

The event will take place on Library Mall, with the entrance located at the foot of Bascom Hill at the intersection of Park and State streets. The gates will open at 3:30 p.m. with the rally officially starting at 4:45 p.m.