Harvard Government Students Grade SOTU Address

By Phillip Martin

Jan. 26, 2011

Students gathered at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government to watch the State of the Union speech Wednesday night. (Courtesy James Harding)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — As President Obama addressed the nation Tuesday night during his second State Of The Union speech, about 75 students gathered at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government Wednesday night to watch.
The students — conservatives, progressives and libertarians — sat around a bank of television sets, often cheering after key lines of the speech right along with members of the Legislative branch.

They seemed most enthusiastic about the President’s call for support for teachers, and his backing for the people of Tunisia in their quest for fundamental freedoms. Susanna Grove, a second-year student, said the entire speech merited applause.

"More than any specific issue is the tone.  I feel that president Obama returned to what drew people in the campaign," Grove said, referring to the president's unifying rhetoric.

But Harvard junior Anthony Bonia, found the speech lacking in one key respect.

"I wish he had spoken more about the war in Afghanistan. We are at war and he just sort of glanced over that part of our policies," Bonia said.

Other students felt that more attention should have been focused on the federal budget deficit.

Still, the overall consensus at the Kennedy School gathering was support for the vision articulated in the President’s state of the union address. 

Your comments: What did you think of the speech?

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