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President Obama to College Journalists: "I Want to Do is Just to Go Speak to Young People Directly"

By The White House on 09/27/2010 – 12:48 pm PDTLeave a Comment

Right around noon today the President took some time for a conference call with college and university student-journalists.  He explained that part of the reason he was reaching out was to keep them engaged with their democracy:

And what I want to do is just to go speak to young people directly and remind them of what I said during the campaign, which was change is always hard in this country.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  You take two steps forward, you take one step back.  This is a big, complicated democracy.  It’s contentious.  It’s not always fun and games.  A lot of times, to bring about big changes like, for example, in our energy policy, you’re taking on a lot of special interests — the oil companies and utilities.  And some of them may not want to see the kinds of changes that would lead to a strong green economy. 

And the point is, though, you can’t sit it out.  You can’t suddenly just check in once every 10 years or so, on an exciting presidential election, and then not pay attention…

 It’s a tough time and tough economy for those who may be coming out of college and into the job market for the first time - an issue the President took on during the call:

MR. DAILEDA:  Hi, Mr. President.  How are you today?

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m good, Colin.  Where are you calling from?

MR. DAILEDA:  I’m calling from southwest Virginia, Radford University.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, tell everybody I said hi there.

MR. DAILEDA:  I’ll do that.  Okay, so I’ve heard some of my professors call our generation the “lost generation” because we’re going to get out of school with a ton of debt due to student loans and not be able to pay them off really because, well, we don't — not going to get a steady job — it’s not that likely to begin with — and the economy is in the shape it is currently in.  So I guess my question is, do you think there’s some truth to that?  And do you think it will take a longer time than usual for our generation to get on our feet?

And I guess — I mean, you talked about in your health care plan and how we’re able to stay on our parents’ plans now until we’re 26 and that’s going to help us deal with kind of money issues and insurance.  But what else are you — is your administration doing to kind of I guess help us stand up when we get out of college?

THE PRESIDENT:  A couple points I’d make.  First of all, I think your generation is going to be just fine.  I mean, we’ve gone through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and so things are real tough for young people right now.  But having said that, if you are getting a college degree, if you’ve got skills in math and science or good, sound communication skills, there are still jobs out there even in a tough environment.  And nine out of 10 people who are looking for work can still find work.

The key is for us to keep on improving the economy, and that’s going to be my number one priority over the next several years.  If the economy is growing, if we’re investing in small businesses so they can open their doors and hire more workers, if we’re helping large businesses in terms of plants and equipment  — a lot of the initiatives that I’ve put in place already — if we’re building infrastructure — not just roads and bridges but also broadband lines — if we’re investing in clean energy — all those things are going to open up new opportunities for young people with skills and talent for the future

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Tags: college journalists, , radford university, , student journalists,

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