[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/31/charlie.memphis.art.jpg
caption=”Charlie Smith, 24, is president of the College Republican National Committee.”]
Twenty-four-year-old Charlie Smith will speak at the GOP’s national convention alongside some of the most powerful Republican leaders in the United States. As of a week ago, he told us he was still working on his speech. “When they called me and told me it would be in prime-time on Thursday, I was surprised. But I think my message is simple for young people,” he says.
As the president of the College Republican National Committee, Charlie mobilizes conservative students across the country. With many of his friends serving overseas, he thinks one of the biggest issues this election cycle is national security. In fact, Charlie was compelled into his role after watching media coverage of 9/11.
Charlie isn’t sure if politics is in his future. For now, he likes pulling the strings from behind the scenes for a young constituency that people assume vote the other way. Oh, and still has to get to St. Paul for the convention. He’s driving with a group of students who have gone cross-country only driving in “red” districts. Alas, Charlie won’t be renting the car, because he’s not old enough.
Update: Watch the CNN.com Live interview