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Iowa City Democrats Cheer on State of the Union Speech

About 50 people gathered at the Mill Restaurant on Burlington Street to cheer on President Barack Obama'a State of the Union speech.

 

A crowd of roughly 50 people, assembled at the in Iowa City, cheered loudly at several junctions of President Barack Obama's speech at a designated Obama watch party Tuesday night.

The group cheered loudest during clearly liberal nods from the president, such as gender equality, gays in the military, improving education, and investing in alternative energy.

Mostly, however, after a enduring a year filled with slipping poll numbers and the Republican presidential candidates dominating the news cycle, they seemed pleased to have something to cheer about again period.

Rodney Maiden, 44, a Ph.D candidate in Education at the University of Iowa who volunteered for the Obama campaign in 2008, said he felt reinvigorated by the speech.

"My final reaction to what he said is that I leave more optimistic than what I was before," Maiden said. "I'm inspired and encouraged to get out and do more."

Maiden said he was encouraged by President Obama's tone, that he said is less concerned now about garnering favor with the Republican party than with speaking the truth as he sees it.

Mark Goldfarb, 29, of Iowa City, who sat with three friends and an Obama 2012 sign on the table, also said he appreciated how Obama took the argument to Republicans.

"I like how he challenged Congress to put bills on his desk, and how he tied the military from the beginning to end and work together. That was a strong statement," Goldfarb said.

Tom Carsner, 53, former head of the Johnson County Democrats, said he felt Obama's strategy was to appeal to voters by placing the blame for a lack of progress on a very unpopular congress.

"He's going to campaign on that, and it's going to make a lot of Independents think about it and come to the conclusion (that Congress was to blame)," Carsner said.

Not everyone was completely thrilled with President Obama's speech, however.

Jose Orduna, 26, a grad student at the University of Iowa who hails from Mexico but actually became a U.S. citizen last summer, said that he wanted to hear more from the president (and all Democrats, really) on the problem of immigration in this country.

Still, Orduna said he believes in the president.

"I think he's a great orator, and in the long term, I still have faith in Obama's political strategy," Orduna said of his reaction to the speech.

To read the text of the speech, click here.

For the GOP rebuttal, from Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, go here.

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