- Prison inmates take up ‘Knockout’ game, target female officers
- U.S. Army hails success with drone-shooting laser
- John Kerry: Israel-Palestinian peace deal paved for April
- India diplomat who touts women’s rights busted for $3 wage to nanny
- MSNBC host Ed Schultz paid $252K by unions in 2012-2013
- Korean War memorial ordered to take down Christian cross
- Billy Graham near death, ‘close to going home to be with the Lord’
- SeaTac, Wash.: City’s new $15 minimum wage heads to court
- Obama mulls support for Islamists in Syria, with conditions
- Obama ‘birther’ theories float as Hawaii health director killed in crash
Obama urges Ohio State grads to get involved, vote out ‘special interests’
COLUMBUS, Ohio | Facing major challenges to his second-term agenda, President Obama on Sunday urged thousands of graduates at Ohio State University to get involved in the political process and vote out lawmakers who favor “special interests.”
The president’s recent defeat in the Senate on gun control was clearly on his mind as he addressed the 8,200 graduates and 60,000 of their guests at the school’s football stadium.
“To protect more of our kids from the horrors of gun violence — that requires the unwavering passion, the untiring resolve of citizens,” Mr. Obama said to applause. “Your democracy does not function without your active participation.”
It was the president’s first commencement speech of this graduation season. He will also speak at the commencement ceremonies of Morehouse College in Atlanta and at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.
Showing concern for Mr. Obama’s second-term initiatives, the White House also said Sunday that the president will embark on a series of economy-themed day trips to cities nationwide, beginning Thursday in Austin, Texas.
White House deputy press secretary Joshua Earnest said the events are designed to “push Congress to act” on programs to help the middle class. A White House official said on background the president wants to emphasize initiatives from his State of the Union address, such as universal preschool and an increase in the minimum wage, in addition to boosting jobs through more spending on infrastructure projects.
He mistakenly referred in his speech to an Ohio State student hangout as “Sloppy’s” and corrected himself to call it “Sloopy’s.” He blamed the mistake on weariness from his foreign trip that ended Saturday night.
The president told graduates they must educate themselves again as they leave school, to learn who is serving their interests in Washington and who is not.
“At a bare minimum, that means voting, eagerly and often,” he said. “It means knowing who’s been elected to make decisions on your behalf, what they believe in, and whether or not they deliver.”
Security in Ohio weighed more heavily than usual on the minds of law enforcement officials, who asked guests to arrive as early as six hours ahead of the graduation ceremony for security screenings. It was Mr. Obama’s first appearance in a stadium setting since the Boston Marathon bombings last month, although he did attend the opening of the George W. Bush presidential library in Dallas two weeks ago.
Mr. Obama told graduates that the spirit of citizenship is always evident when America faces a crisis.
“Just look at the past year — when a hurricane struck our mightiest city and a factory exploded in a small town in Texas,” he said. “When bombs went off in Boston and when a malevolent spree of gunfire visited a movie theater, a temple, an Ohio high school, a first-grade classroom in Connecticut. In the aftermath of darkest tragedy, we have seen the American spirit at its brightest. We’ve seen the petty divisions of color, class and creed replaced by a united urge to help.”
The president said that in spite of the heroism shown by Americans routinely in crises, their democratic institutions too often are failing them.
“The institutions that give structure to our society have, at times, betrayed your trust,” Mr. Obama said. “In the run-up to the financial crisis, too many on Wall Street forgot that their obligations don’t end with what’s happening with their shares. In entertainment and in the media, ratings and shock value often trumped news and storytelling. And in Washington … I think it’s fair to say our democracy isn’t working as well as we know it can.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Senate's filibuster rule change opens floodgates for Obama nominees
- White House faces press revolt over access to Obama's South Africa flight
- U.S., Britain to halt non-lethal aid to Syrian opposition
- New Obama adviser John Podesta is against Keystone but will steer clear of pipeline deliberations
- White House blasts GOP for criticism of Castro handshake
Latest Blog Entries
- Boehner formally invites Obama for State of the Union address
- White House downplays concerns over phony sign-language interpreter
- Joe Biden signs condolence book for Nelson Mandela at D.C. embassy
- Biden to Japanese businesswomen: 'Do your husbands like you working full-time?'
- Son, granddaughter join Biden on weeklong diplomatic trip to Asia
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- U.S. Navy-China showdown: Chinese try to halt U.S. cruiser in international waters
- Obama birther theories float, as Hawaii health director killed in crash
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- House budget bargain faces Senate filibuster; Republicans line up to oppose
- Billy Graham near death, close to going home to be with the Lord
- PRUDEN: The last living witnesses; they wore the yellow star and remember the Nazi terror
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whisky: U.K.-born expert
- North Korea's official report on Jang Song Thaek
- Dr. Ben Carson disavows efforts at presidential draft
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
John Glaser turns his pen toward foreign policy and international relations around the world
A conservative commentator and satirist takes on the worlds of politics and entertainment in pursuit of truth, justice and all things America.
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow