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A spirit that is not afraid

Obama speaks about the economy

President Obama spoke to Congress for an hour about his economic plan last Tuesday.

Some of the issues Obama focused on were education, healthcare, the war in Iraq and areas in which money will be spent to rebuild the economy.

"We will rebuild," Obama said. "We will recover, and the United States will emerge stronger than before."

This enthusiasm drew a standing ovation from Congress and spoke to many citizens who watched the speech.

"President Obama seemed more positive than he has been in the past couple of weeks," said Matthew Cowley, a sophomore in broadcast journalism. "He let us know we can do this."

Obama said he is focused making long term changes to the nation.

"President Obama is concerned with how to bring about a healthy economy that will last more than a short time," said LaKerri Mack, a doctoral student in public administration and public policy.

Republican political figures are working with President Obama, but there is still some skepticism among Congress members.

"I am pleased that President Obama is concerned about reducing the enormous federal deficit, and I remain ready to work with House leadership and the president on ways to provide relief to our economy," said Alabama Republican Congressman Robert Aderholt. "Our primary objective in the midst of this recession should be lowering taxes and directly helping hard-working families."

Obama said education is one of the most important things to focus on to rejuvenate the country.

"Countries that out-teach us today will out-compete us tomorrow," Obama said.

Obama asked every American to commit to at least one year or more of secondary education.

"Every American will need to get more than a high school diploma," Obama said. "Dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It's not just quitting on yourself, it's quitting on this country."

Obama said he will make sure students can afford a college education if they will help out in their community.

One of Obama's goals for this country is for America to once again have the highest proportion of college students by 2020.

"This is a goal we can meet," Obama said.

In addition to education, Obama focused on healthcare.

"The cost of healthcare causes a bankruptcy in America every 30 seconds," Obama said. "This could cost 1.5 million Americans to lose their homes. In the last eight years premiums have grown faster than wages."

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Obama said it is time to do something about this. He also said it is time to do more medical research, as well as research to increase the nation's supply of renewable energy.

Obama stated he will double the nation's supply or renewable energy in the next three years.

"(The national debt) is already impossible to pay off," said Ted Becker, political science professor. "If he can actually accomplish doing this with renewable energy, it would still be too little, too late. But at least he's trying, which is all he promised in his campaign."

The government has set aside $15 billion per year for research on wind and solar power.

"I agree with what Obama said about increasing power," said Chris O'Donnell, a junior in political science. "It will help out a lot with pollution, and $15 billion seems like a lot but I think it is reasonable."

Part of the country's budget will go toward the troops.

Obama said he plans to leave the people of Iraq to Iraq and responsibly end the war.

"I feel like it's time to end the war," Cowley said. "We've been over there a long time and anything we haven't accomplished yet, we're not going to accomplish."

Not only is Obama planning to end the war, he plans to raise the pay of soldiers and expand benefits to veterans.

"President Obama saying he will increase military pay stood out for me positively," said Moe Ural, a junior in political science. "It's good that he is getting rid of contracts and increasing the number of troops."

Obama also said it is time to close detention center for terrorists.

"America does not torture," Obama said.

Following Obama's speech, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal spoke on behalf of the Republican Party. Jindal said Americans can do anything, including escaping an economic recession, but he does not agree with all of the decisions being made by the Obama Administration.

"Democrats in Congress are spending money we do not have on things we do not need," Jindal said.

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