USC: State of the Union Watch Party Assesses Obama's Speech, Presidency
The sound of conversation in the east lobby of USC's Anneberg School of Communication and Journalism drowned out the cable news commentary airing on six flat screen TVs preceding Obama's speech, but talk subsided after the President took the podium. During the President's address, those watching applauded loudly over issues such as the killing of Osama Bin Laden and reforming immigration, but stayed silent during the President's remarks on extending the payroll tax cut and taking China to bat on trade issues. Reaction was mixed following the speech, with some in approval of the president's remarks and others expressing disappointment.
"I definitely enjoyed it," said Princeton Parker, a freshman majoring in Communication. He said he agreed most with Obama's call for bipartisanship.
"I generally think that he does well on the State of the Union, but it's an entirely different story on delivering on the things you said you were going to do," said Alex Kludjian, a freshman double majoring in Political Science and Business. He said that despite Obama hitting "on the points that Americans wanted to hear," he will not vote for the President in November.
Following Obama's address, the event featured a panel discussion comprised of Matt Rodriguez, a former campaign worker for Obama in 2008; Ange-Marie Hancock, an associate professor of political science at USC; Oscar De Los Santos, a fellow at Organizing for America 2012; and Kaya Masler, president of USC Students for Barack Obama. Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, moderated the discussion.
The Panel mused on issues ranging from Obama's change in tone compared to his previous State of the Union addresses to the president's chances of winning re-election.
"He framed the narrative for 2012," said De Los Santos in regards to Obama's State of the Union address. "It will not be a referendum for the last four years, it will be a choice election; it [the election] will make or break the middle class."
"I actually think his speech will not be remembered that long," said Rodriguez. "This was a good speech, but it will be gone in a day or two and it [media coverage] will be back to the Republican party."
The watch party was co-sponsored by the Jesse M. Unrah Institute of Politics, USC Annenberg's Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, and USC College Democrats.
"I think it's much more meaningful when students and faculty come together to watch a major news event like this," said Geoffrey Baum, managing director of Annenberg's Center on Communication Leadership and Policy. He said that the organization arranges on-campus watch parties for almost every major address by the president.
"The Institute of Politics puts on events like this where I get to enhance my knowledge of politics," said Parker. "Between the panelists and the student discussions, I really get to learn about how our political system operates and at the same time know more about modern politics."
Reach reporter Aaron Liu here.
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