Obama Supports Mandatory Voting?

President floats idea, office walks back

First President Obama suggested everyone be forced to vote, then his office tried to convince the world that is not what he meant.

In a speech to the City Club of Cleveland on Wednesday, Obama pointed to foreign countries that increase voter participation through punishing those that don't vote.

“In Australia, and some other countries, there’s mandatory voting. It would be transformative if everybody voted,” he said. “That would counteract money more than anything. If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country.”

Obama went on to tell his audience that young people, lower income groups and minorities are among the least likely to vote and said increasing their participation is key to changing American politics.

That had critics claiming the president was looking to breach First Amendment rights, or taking a totalitarian position.

On Thursday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest walked back the president's statements saying he was not putting forward "a specific policy proposal" and that his statement was more of an open ended reaction to a question.