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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Carls watch Barack on the big screen

<rack on the Big Screen,” a live screening of President Obama’s State of the Union address by the Carleton Democrats, landed in the Weitz Center Cinema on Jan. 24. The event attracted former local politicians and campus political aficionados who came together to revitalize support for Democrats in the 2012 elections.

Students began arriving about an hour before the speech began. Conversations were divided between chatter about memorable GOP presidential nominees’ gaffes, the current state of the union and queries as to whether pizza would arrive before the President began speaking.

The energy in the room intensified when two former Minnesota state legislators of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, Kevin Dahle and David Bly, took the stage. Both politicians previously represented the Northfield area and had lost their seats in the State Senate and House respectively in 2010.Dahle and Bly urged students to wield their political power and mobilize. They focused on issues of gay marriage, encouraging students to take action in amending the Constitution to include same-sex marriage. They also discussed whether a law should require photo identification for eligible voters.

The crowd, still energized by Dahle and Bly’s speeches, responded to the State of the Union speech with enthusiasm, offering ample amounts of approval and criticism.

Many laughed as the camera zoomed in on Speaker of the House John Boehner, who wore a disdainful expression as the President entered the room. There was a collective “aww” as Obama embraced Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and audible excitement as a student spotted Sen. Al Franken in the crowd. 

Though the crowd was silently attentive for the remainder of the speech, Obama’s remarks on affordable higher education, clean energy and the “Buffet Rule” drew loud applause. The crowd, needless to say, also appreciated the President’s joke about spilled milk.
After the event, Maddie Epping ’13, expressed her general approval of the main themes of this year’s State of the Union, despite the partisanship she saw.

“Although the speech was a little bit political at times, I agree overall that we need to focus on jobs and re-building the economy,” she said.
The event was a success for the Carleton Democrats group, which has been largely inactive since the 2008 elections. According to an email from Co-President Erik Anderson ’13, a total of 88 students signed in at the speech as well as a number of supporters from the Northfield community.

In February, the group will host tabling events in Sayles with information about upcoming local caucuses and how to become involved in Democrat re-election campaigns.

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