Students Anticipate SOTU: Jobs, Health Care Trump All

Jan 25, 2011 4:35pm

ABC News on Campus reporter Matt Phifer blogs:  As President Barack Obama prepares to deliver his second State of the Union address tonight, college students planning to watch the speech say they’re most interested in the president’s comments on job growth and the health care debate.  ABC News on Campus asked students across the nation about the issues at the forefront of their minds. Unsurprisingly, the economy and health care ranked first, followed by bipartisanship and civility.  “I want to hear how Obama plans to pull the U.S. economy out of the toilet,” said Tres Currie, a sophomore at Greensboro College in North Carolina. Kristin Klein, a senior at the University of Florida, wants to hear about job creation. “As we have seen from the last election and the recent political atmosphere, it is and should be the number one item on the agenda for Americans,” Klein said.   Health care was also on students’ minds. Senior Christiaan Perez from Hofstra University in Long Island, N.Y.  was interested in how Obama will fight the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, who voted last week to repeal the health care law. “There are some concessions that can be made, however first there should be acknowledgement for its benefits, current rhetoric has been too much all or nothing health care,” said Perez. Madison Griffin, a medical student at the University of Texas Health Center in Houston, is in the unique situation of knowing the health care debate will affect her future career. “I'm thinking about my future as a doctor and the future of the medical industry as a whole.  I want to know what the President plans on doing regarding the rising costs of overhead, declining salaries for everyone (although those with primary care seem most affected) and the rising cost of medical education,” said Griffin. Several students also wanted Obama to address a return to civility, and take steps toward diffusing the political rhetoric that has been under heightened scrutiny following the shooting in Arizona that injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.   “Enough of the rhetoric between the Republicans and Democrats,” Syracuse sophomore Aryn Rapp said. ”You know it’s just not about seeing who’s right and who wins; it’s about what’s best for the American people.” Obama’s policies in the Middle East and his decisions relating to U.S. troops also loomed large in students’ minds.  Syracuse University junior Bob Perna wants Obama to talk about getting the troops home safely because he has several friends in the military. Christian Heimall, a senior at Hofstra wants to know if “Obama can produce a better way to end conflicts in the Middle East peacefully and without removing all of our troops next summer.” While many students are planning on tuning in to the State of the Union address, for many other college students the State of the Union is the furthest thing on their minds, some weren’t even aware the president would be speaking tonight. And those who are paying attention don’t necessarily plan to view the president’s speech live — some will catch it on YouTube or read about it on the Internet. Other students, such as 25-year-old Marcus Ware, a law student at Howard University in Washington, D.C., are planning a viewing party.  “I've hosted a party every year since Obama had been in office. I think it's important to know the President's agenda and to have constructive dialogue,” Ware said. “I'm looking to hear President Obama speak about jobs, working together, civility and innovation.”  Are you planning to watch?   Live coverage of the president’s State of the Union address starts tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET on ABC News. ABC News on Campus reporters Brianna Gays, Lynne Guey, Suyun Hong and Candace Smith contributed to this story. 

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus