President Obama Delivers Speech at University of Kansas

The President recently visited Lawrence, KS, to speak and expand on topics from his State of the Union Address


President Barack Obama delivering his speech.

Alex Ralston

Students and citizens alike from around northeastern Kansas poured into Anschutz Sports Pavilion at the University of Kansas to hear President Barack Obama speak on Thursday morning.

Earlier in the week, Obama delivered his State of the Union address, focusing largely on promoting his new policy of middle class economics. He talked at length on subjects such as universal child care, new tax cuts for those in the lower middle class, and making community college totally free.

At the end of his address on Tuesday, the president concluded by telling the nation that he would be touring the country and speaking even more in depth on his new policy.

On Tuesday morning, KU students lined up to receive their free tickets. Some students stayed over night in order to get tickets before other people could snatch them up. However, there was no assigned seating at the event because the President was scheduled to speak at Anschutz Sports Pavilion, an indoor track and field facility. Other tickets were available for non-students beginning on Tuesday afternoon. Some waited until after sunset to get these “golden tickets.”

Those who had received their tickets again formed massive lines outside the Pavilion on Thursday morning, starting as early as 5 am. Temperatures were in the 30s, but Lawrence residents and non-students alike persevered in the cold air for hours in order to get and maintain their positions.

Senior Tessa Mace arrived in Lawrence at 8 am to an already enormous line.

“It was really cold but everyone standing with us was really nice,” Mace said. “I was excited to have a chance to see the president in person because I always thought he was a good speaker when I saw him on TV.”

After waiting for hours, crowds gathered inside the facility for two and a half hours in anxious anticipation of Obama’s speech. The house quickly filled to near maximum capacity, and the approximate head count reached 7,000.

Around 11:30, Obama finally walked onto the stage, which held a number of selected individuals and students and a large sign that read, “Middle Class Economics.” The crowd applauded and captured as many photos as they could, settling down only as the President began in on his speech.

The President delivered an address very similar to the one he delivered before Congress on Tuesday. He expanded upon a few select points relating to his new policy, mainly zeroing in on college tuition and universal childcare, to which KU students could especially relate. He even followed these statements by talking about a time in our nation’s history in which his grandmother was aided by universal childcare.

“…My grandmother, she was like Rosie the Riveter, Madelyn. She worked on an assembly plant for bombers,” Obama said. “By that time, my mom had already been born, so this country provided universal childcare because they understood that if women are working, they’re going to need some help.”

He followed these statements by talking more on the costs of college and his plans to help students reduce existing debt in order to raise families better by cutting down on community college tuition.

“I want to work with Congress to make sure every student who is already burdened with loans can find a way to refinance and reduce their monthly payments. And that’s why I’m sending Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college to zero.”

The crowd, mostly composed of Democrats, cheered constantly. If one takes a look at the overall makeup of the campus, they could easily understand the reasoning for which Obama chose KU as the stage for his speech. It’s mainly liberal, and has even been called “an island of blue in a sea of red.” In fact, Obama even joked at one point in his speech that he may have earned the most votes in Kansas from Lawrence citizens.

Obama has since gone to other locations around the country, such as Cedar Falls in Iowa, to speak on his new policy.