State of the Union receives praise and displeasure from campus

Wednesday night’s State of the Union address brought back the spunk President Barack Obama was missing during his first year in office, a political science professor said.

Adam Schiffer, an assistant professor of political science, said Obama’s speech was carefully balanced between acknowledging both the setbacks and the accomplishments made during the past year.

“Overall, it was a masterful speech,” Schiffer said. “It was pitched at the average, independent American.”

Kelly Turner, a freshman international political science major and member of TCU Republicans, said she thought Obama’s speech was partisan and tasteless.

“The fact that, you know, he’s trying to bring the country together and trying to unite it, while making some of these very partisan remarks…it would be nice to see a little more bipartisanship in his remarks,” Turner said.

An issue Obama addressed was the freeze on domestic discretionary spending, which Schiffer described as a peculiar proposal.

“It received a lot of criticism, both on the left and the right; particularly on the left because it was actually a point John McCain campaigned on, and Obama specifically argued against it,” Schiffer said. “But I guess he felt that he needed to show that he was serious about reducing the debt, even though the debt is not really on a lot the people’s, the public’s, radar screen.”

Kelsey Hawley, a junior political science major and member of TCU Democrats, said Obama focused on everything she wanted him to address.

“It was what I was expecting,” Hawley said. “I did expect him to focus on jobs and unemployment and the economy, and address health care and re-emphasize the need for reform with our health care system.”

But Turner said she thought Obama needed to focus more on the health care bill.

“I think it was interesting how he strayed away from that, and I think partly that was due to the recent election of the Republican in Massachusetts, and it kind of slowed down health care,” Turner said.

Gary Briggs, a senior political science major, said he wanted Obama to focus on jobs and alleviating the worries of the middle class.

“I don’t want to blanket, but I know the majority of TCU will dislike the domestic initiatives,” Briggs said.

According to Gallup polling, Obama’s job approval rating is at 48 percent.

Schiffer said the State of the Union address seldom influences the popularity rating of the president in the long run.

“He may get a small bump,” Schiffer said. “I think Bill Clinton got a small bump from a couple of his speeches, but that’s the exception.”