The crowds may be smaller and the candidate grayer, but college towns are still proving to be President Barack Obama's best chance to draw an enthusiastic audience.

More than 25,000 people showed up during his three-state college town tour this week, including 7,500 at a rally at a pavilion near the University of Virginia on Wednesday.

The crowds at the outdoor rallies underscore the Obama campaign's efforts to target college students as they return to school and re-energize a constituency that was critical in propelling Obama to the White House in 2008.

Even so, the crowds are no match for the jaw-dropping numbers of four years ago. In 2008, 50,000 people showed up at Colorado State University to hear Obama. On Tuesday, the crowd there totaled 13,000.


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