Sound-off: State of the Union

President Barack Obama delivered his first State of the Union address Wednesday night, touching on issues ranging from job creation to energy policy to health care reform. Several students and employees bore witness to the event at a watch party, hosted by Duke Democrats, in the McClendon Tower media room. The Chronicle asked party attendees and members of Duke College Republicans for their opinions on the speech.    —compiled by Shaoli Chaudhuri

“I just wanted to watch with people who have an interest in watching it... there are people in my room watching the [Duke vs. Florida State basketball] game.” —Jerry Zhang, sophomore

“I got an e-mail from ‘Organizing in America’... and decided it’d be more fun to watch it here than alone at home.” —Matt Cain, postdoctoral associate of Cognitive Neuroscience

“I mean, largely, he laid out campaign policies that he’s said time and time again. I’m a little upset with the energy policies because I don’t think they’re necessarily a large step forward... I think spending money on them is a step back. Other than that, it was what I expected... particularly the stuff he said about student loans. Largely, the loan policy needed to be reformed... a lot of people have filled out the FAFSA form and seen how cumbersome it has become, how expensive college is becoming.” —Joe Catapano, junior

“I mean, I have to say he’s an amazing speaker even if you don’t agree with him necessarily... but I tend to think that a lot of it’s rhetoric and nothing’s going to change from what he’s doing now. I think the fact that the State of the Union came right after the Financial Regulations Bill he wants to push through... [was] a desperate attempt on his part. I certainly don’t want things to go bad in creating new jobs.... I have an open mind but I’m skeptical.” —Joanna Bromley, junior

“As someone who doesn’t dislike Barack Obama in any way, I think he’s doing a good job.... Unfortunately with [R-Mass. Senator-elect] Scott Brown’s election, the tables have turned on the Democrats, but I think Obama’s trying to hold the country together.... Focus on jobs is always a good thing for the Democrats.” —Justin Robinette, Duke College Republicans president, junior

“I think [the speech] was good. I think [Obama] said what he needed to say. One of the things that’s difficult for people like me and other sort of hard-core supporters is we wanted him to call out the Republicans on a lot their garbage. But he’s bigger than that, and that’s the reason he’s president and we’re not. The jobs bill I think... its going to make for an exciting thing. I would have liked to see a ‘you lie’ come out of his mouth toward the Republicans.” ­—Ben Bergmann, Duke Democrats president, junior

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly listed the year of Justin Robinette, who is a junior. The Chronicle regrets the error.


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