MU students react to Obama's address

Friday, August 29, 2008 | 12:27 a.m. CDT; updated 12:38 a.m. CDT, Friday, August 29, 2008

COLUMBIA - Four MU students sat in a lounge around a television in MU's Excellence Hall.

The students, glued to the screen, weren't there to watch a game or the latest episode of their favorite show. They were there to hear presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama speak at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night.

The students sat quietly through the duration of the nominee's speech; every once and awhile, one let out a chuckle at a joke, or agreed in a hushed voice with something Obama said.

Clint Alwahab, a sophomore and first-time voter, was looking to see what kinds of issues Obama would bring up. Alwahab said he relies on the issues, not just the candidate, when deciding how to vote. What he liked most about Obama's speech was the fact that he advocated for unification of the country.

"Obama pushed for unity in a divided country," Alwahab said. "We're all Americans, and we all have different opinions, but we're still united under the same flag."

Alwahab said he believes that Obama defended himself well against Sen. John McCain's attacks of celebrity. Alwahab said most middle-class citizens find it hard to relate to someone who is endorsed by so many celebrities, so Obama's defense helps his image.

Claire Horton, a freshman, watched Michelle Obama and Sen. Joseph Biden speak earlier in the week, and she also plans on tuning in to the Republican convention. In the November election, she said she will vote for Obama.

As the address continued, Horton said she was awed by Obama's speaking skills. Obama did a good job of making his personal qualities clear while also being personable, she said.

Darren Orf, a sophomore, was also in the lounge to watch Obama at the convention. During the speech, he was comforted by Obama's plan to stop using foreign oil, even though he was a little vague. He said he is not sold, and he wants to hear McCain speak next week.

Kelsey Mayabb, a sophomore, liked Obama because she thought he was genuine and was very good at getting his point across. She believes he will "get people to change themselves," so he won't have to tackle all the problems by himself.

Though the other students are still deciding who to vote for, Horton said that Thursday night's speech solidified her choice to vote for Obama.

Orf said what struck him the most about the evening's address was Obama's phrase, "We're not red or blue, we're American."

"He's what politics is about," Orf said.


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