As the final night of the Democratic National Convention wrapped up in Charlotte, N. C. on Thursday, students and faculty gathered in the lobby of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism to watch President Barack Obama accept the Democratic presidential nomination.
After viewing the speech, attendees watched a panel discussion sponsored by the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics and moderated by its director, Dan Schnur. Panelists included Matt Rodriguez, former western states regional director of Obama for America 2008, Kaya Masler, president of USC Trojans for Obama, and Geneva Overholser, director of the School of Journalism at Annenberg.
The nearly 6,000 delegates attending the convention formally nominated Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for re-election on Wednesday night following a speech by former President Bill Clinton.
Obama emphasized the idea that voters are not choosing between two different candidates or two different parties, but two different paths for America.
“The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I’m asking you to choose that future,” Obama said. “I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country — goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security and the deficit; a real, achievable plan that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation.”
Not all students believe that Obama offers the best path for the future of the nation, however.
“We are facing the worst economic recovery in American history,” said Alex Yebri, a senior majoring in political science and president of USC Trojans for Romney. “President Obama is a nice guy and a good public speaker, but the reality is that Americans do not believe that they are better off than they were four years ago.”
Obama acknowledged the economy still needs work, but laid out his plan for reducing the national deficit and decreasing unemployment if re-elected.
“Now you have a choice: we can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here, in the United States of America,” he said.
Though Obama spent much of his speech reminding voters of the accomplishments of his first term, Masler said voters might be focused on more recent developments such as the monthly jobs reports.
“Do people care what he’s done for the past four years?” Masler asked. “I don’t know if people care about that as much about what he has done recently.”
[Correction: A previous version of this article misrepresented the context of Kaya Masler’s quote with the description: “Obama spent much of his speech reminding voters of the accomplishments of his first term. Some questioned whether this is an effective strategy for him, though.” The text of the article has been updated.]