Penn State’s College Republicans and College Democrats met together for a joint watch party of President Obama’s State of the Union address last night in the Willard Building.
In room 362 of the Willard Building, students from both groups gathered for a much-anticipated speech from the President that included snacks, beverages and other assorted refreshments.
Jordan Harris, Chairman of the Penn State College Republicans, began by stating how happy he was that both groups could come together for their third straight year to watch the State of the Union address.
Harris before the address to both branches of Congress, military commanders, and other guests, said he expected Obama “…to use the State of the Union as his last opportunity to take advantage of his swing from his national election victory.”
“The economy will be the main focus of the speech,” Harris said. “I expect him to talk about gun control measures as well.”
Drew McGehrin, president of the Penn State College Democrats, said he expected the speech to outline everything.
“He’s going to talk about immigration; he’s going to talk gun control and limiting high capacity magazines; he will hit a lot of points,” McGehrin said. “He has bipartisan support for some of his ideas and I think he’s going to give a good speech.”
The lights dimmed and then the speech began. Traditionally, people invited to the State of the Union either clap, stand and clap, or sit silently during different points made during a president’s speech. Both groups throughout Obama’s speech echoed that tradition.
Three separate times during Obama’s speech, everyone clapped not only within the House Chamber where Obama was speaking, everyone clapped in 362 Willard.
Thunderous applause came when Obama noted the end to the War in Iraq, an urge for comprehensive immigration reform, and calling for an up or down vote on gun restrictions.
McGehrin said the most emotional moment of the speech was when the president called for a vote on control.
“You could see how everyone reacted,” McGehrin said. “My favorite part was when he [Obama] said ‘They deserve a vote’.”
Harris said Obama’s address had a lot of rehashed ideas.
“[The speech] was a perfect representation of his lack of economical literacy,” Harris said. “He’s effective when speaking about unity but when he speaks about economics, he sounds like he’s in a magical fantasy land.”
Harris did say he was interested to see the “score card” for higher institutions that Obama mentioned would be released today and where Penn State ranks among other colleges.
Afterwards, most did not stay for the Republican response by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, except for a few members of the College Republicans including Harris.
Harris said Rubio did a great job laying out the Republican position.
“He emphasized the importance of fiscal responsibility and markets,” Harris said.