Obama talks to students about economy, women's healthcare at Mason

Obama spoke to an audience of about 2,000 in the Center for the Arts (Photo courtesy of Joe Heim).
Obama spoke to an audience of about 2,000 in the Center for the Arts (Photo courtesy of Joe Heim).

President Barack Obama held a campaign rally in the Center for the Arts at George Mason University on Friday, Oct. 5.

“One month. Just one month from tomorrow, Virginia, you are going to step into a voting booth and going to have a very big choice to make,” Obama said to the Concert Hall crowd of about 2,000.

Former Virginia governor Tim Kaine showed his support for the president and spoke about his own campaign for senate.

“When you stood with the president in 2008, he had a choice,” said Kaine. “Does he focus on your issues, or does he focus on other people’s issues? He has put students and young people right at the center of it.”

Kaine urged students to vote for Obama in November, saying that they “should be standing up for this president who stood up for them.”

Delegate Katherine Waddell, Virginia chair of the Republican Majority for Choice, discussed the president’s support for women’s rights.

“I’m proud to call myself an independent woman for Obama,” said Waddell, who claimed she used to be a pro-choice Republican. “There is just no room for me in today’s radical Republican party.”

Waddell claimed that Obama’s opponent Mitt Romney would reverse the progress of women’s rights in America.

“There is only one person in this race who is a champion for women’s rights and that is President Obama,” Waddell said.

Obama primarily focused on economic and women’s health issues.

“This morning we learned the unemployment level has fallen to its lowest rate since October,” Obama said, referring to new statistics released that show a drop in unemployment from 8.1% in July to 7.8% in September. “Today’s news is certainly not a day to talk down the economy to score a few political points.”

“I have seen too much pain, seen too much struggle, to let this country get hit by another round of top-down economics,” said Obama.

Obama reiterated his commitment to reducing the federal deficit. He mocked Romney for a comment he made during the first presidential debates on October 3, regarding his plan for reducing the deficit.

“I will eliminate all programs based on this test . . . Is the program so critical, it is worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?” said Romney at Wednesday’s night debate. “I’m going to stop the subsidy to [Public Broadcasting Service]. I like PBS. I love Big Bird...but I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.”

“His big example was to go after public television,” Obama told the crowd at Mason. “Someone is finally getting tough on Big Bird. He is going to bring down the hammer on ‘Sesame Street.’”

Obama went on to discuss the importance of women’s health issues in the upcoming election, an area of great contest between the two main candidates.

“When it comes to a woman’s right to make her own healthcare choices, [Republicans] want to take us back to the 1950s,” Obama said. “The choices that affect women’s health issues are not up to politicians, they’re not up to their insurance companies—they’re up to you.”

Obama also touted his policies concerning issues that directly affect students, including efforts to lower tuition costs and the provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires college students 26 and under to be covered under their parents’ insurance plan.

“I still believe in you, and I hope you still believe in me,” Obama finished.

Student Body President Alex Williams liked the rally’s emphasis on issues that affect college students.

“I love the focus on Mason,” Williams said. “I love the focus on college tuition. Regardless of how you vote, we need to get our generation, people our age, out to vote.”

Seniors Krystal Thomas and Rachael Woods also attended the rally.

“I really like how it really connected to us, empowering us and addressing a lot of the issues that were talked about during the [presidential] debate,” Thomas said.

“I just thought it was really awesome hearing him speak, and it’s always really inspirational and inspiring and I love coming, so it’s great,” Woods added.

One Mason student considered the campus the perfect venue to discuss the issues most prevalent in the rally.

“I think he really focused on woman a lot and students especially, and this was the venue to do it,” said the student in an interview. “And then most of his audience was George Mason students, so I thought it was an ample opportunity for him to speak out to the younger crowd.”

The election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 6.

All video content was done in collaboration with Connect2Mason, Mason Votes, and Mason Cable Network.

Video filmed and edited by:

Mason Cable Network's General Manager Jake McLernon

Connect2Mason's Video Editor Trevor DeSaussure

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