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State of the Union

liveblogged by Kate O’Gorman

Hey folks!

We’ve got a room full of people, starting to get excited about the state of union. Some people have wandered in wearing their vintage 2008 Obama for President t-shirts but regardless of how people are dressed, the largest room in our student center is filled to the brim with people waiting for the address.

I hadn’t realized that the State of the Union was an event that you went early to, but 25 minutes before show time and there are no seats in the house. There is also no more pizza, and in this Dem’s opinion the new Dominos recipe isn’t much better than the last.

(9:05) We always know that Republicans tend to follow the trend rather than lead them. Now, following Nancy Pelosi’s lead today, the Republicans are responding to the State of the Union before the speech even starts. Seems sort of like a preemptive response, but perhaps they’ll argue that it was, in fact, preventative.

(9:06) The floor, and the Columbia Satow room, breaks out in applause as President Obama is announced. Now… we’ll take a 20 minute applause break as we take a moment to watch Obama shake the hands of 535 people…

(9:11) President Obama is starting his speech – took a lot less time than I thought it might!

(9:16) “the numbing weight of our politics.” Thank you to President Obama for reminding us of the common goals and hopes that we have regardless of our politics. In my own discussions with Republicans, it isn’t as though we aren’t working for a better American future. We just have different ways to get there. Please, Congress, remember that as well.

(9:17) “It is time the American government gets a government that matches their decency”…. Biden was a little too enthusiastic on the clapping there. So was the rest of the Columbia watch party. I think that the room may be more entertained by Vice-President Biden than the speech.

(9:25) Job must be our #1 focus – gets the first standing ovation from both sides of the asile tonight. We should start in new small businesses (this means we need health care folks…)

(9:30) Second bipartisan standing ovation – take tax credits. Then ensued the House vs. Senate cheering contest. Despite their lower numbers, I’d say the Senate wins (Can we get that kind of enthusiasm for passing legislation?).

(9:32) I will not accept second place for the United States of America (Preview of the olympics?). Slowing down policy only allows other countries to catch up, Obama argues. Moves quickly to the dire need of financial reform. House has passed it, Senate now needs to pass it. I can’t think of a more important issue right now.

(9:36) “and I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future – because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation.” Loudest cheer from Columbia thus far erupts in the Satow room

(9:42) “And let’s tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only ten percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after twenty years – and forgiven after ten years if they choose a career in public service.” As may be expected from a college watch party, we had our first group of people standing up this year.

(9:45) First Lady Obama tells everyone to “Sit Down.” President Obama says she gets embarrassed.

(9:48) This room is wondering why the Republicans give a standing ovation when Obama solicits other strategies to health care reform. Have they proposed a plan yet?

(9:51) Announces 3 year budget freeze. No more tax cuts for those making over $250,000 a year.

(9:54) In the general theme of Obama laying down the law on the Senate, Obama announces an executive commission that the Senate has said no to

(9:57) “To do that, we have to recognize that we face more than a deficit of dollars right now. We face a deficit of trust – deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years. To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve.”

(10:01) New title for the State of the Union: Senate Smackdown

(10:03) “Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it’s not leadership. We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions. So let’s show the American people that we can do it together.”

(10:12) Aside from Columbia school policy, some people are wondering why they didn’t find the State of the Union drinking game before we showed up…

(10:14) Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. It’s time to end it.

(10:18) “But I also know this: if people had made that decision fifty years ago or one hundred years ago or two hundred years ago, we wouldn’t be here tonight. The only reason we are is because generations of Americans were unafraid to do what was hard; to do what was needed even when success was uncertain; to do what it took to keep the dream of this nation alive for their children and grandchildren.”

(10:20) “We are strong. We are resilient. We are American.”

Republican Response:

Just for transparency’s sake: the Columbia University College Democrats really don’t like Bob McDonnell. He broke our undefeated record in our campaign trips as we campaigned for Creigh Deeds this semester. So, we really dislike him.

(10:34) “We want cooperation, not partisanship.” Pardon me, but I think that the Democrats have been calling for bipartisanship the whole time…

(10:35) “the GOP welcomes your ideas on facebook and twitter.” Thank you to the GOP for asking for ideas…. as long as you can fit them in 140 characters

(10:37) “A child’s educational opportunity should be determined by her intellect and work ethic, not by her zip code.”

(10:40) “Here at home government must help foster a society in which all our people can use their God-given talents in liberty to pursue the American Dream. Republicans know that government cannot guarantee individual outcomes, but we strongly believe that it must guarantee equality of opportunity for all”

The crowd here wonders if that was Governor McDonnell’s normal speech writer. It did not seem to carry the cadence he normally does. All in all, however, good speech.

- That’s all folks!

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