President Barack Obama’s commencement address Monday at Barnard College was filled with moments reminiscent of the 2008 presidential campaign, with students chanting after his remarks, “Yes, we can!” and “Obama, Obama!” But after the cheering stopped, the general commencement adages that peppered Obama’s speech — such as “persevere, nothing worthwhile is easy” — left some students cold, the Huffington Post reports.

“There was no definitive statement at a moment when there could have been,” said Embry Owen, a graduating senior. “There could have been more than the life-lesson things.”

Parents lined up at the Manhattan women’s college’s gates more than five hours before Obama was scheduled to speak. The campus went on total lockdown at 11:00 a.m., and the school gave guests blue “President Obama At Barnard Commencement 2012” caps. The campus became a mini-campaign zone for college kids at a time when Obama needs all the youth support he can get. But while Obama took the opportunity to discuss youth empowerment and urged the 600 graduates to make this the “century where women shape … the destiny of this nation,” he didn’t touch on an issue that might hobble their ability to achieve that destiny: mounting student debt…

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