Obama Makes Debt Case At College Park Town Hall

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ)–President Barack Obama comes to Maryland to make his case to raise the debt limit. WJZ has complete coverage of the president’s visit.

Vic Carter spent the day in College Park. He has the president’s message as the deadline for a deal creeps closer.

The president came to College Park with a lot on his plate already. He’s managing wars and conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. And here at home, he’s locked into the battle over the debt ceiling and trying to reduce the budget.

He came to hear directly from voters about their concerns and how they run their daily lives.

Obama received a warm welcome at Ritchie Coliseum, acknowledging that even the president is affected by the heat.

“I see some smart folks up there wore shorts,” Obama said. “My team said I should not wear shorts. My legs aren’t good enough to wear shorts.”

But then it was down to business as the president talked about the looming financial crisis facing the country.

“The first I thing I think about when I wake up in the morning is the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night. And I won’t be satisfied until every American who wants a job can find one, and until workers are getting paychecks that actually pay the bills,” the president said.

Then came the questions, ranging from issues of jobs, education, strengthening neighborhoods to the anger of politicians on Capitol Hill, some who refused to compromise on a deal to reduce deficits.

“Do we not use compromise anymore?” asked one attendee. “And what should I teach my students about how our government works? If people are saying out loud, ‘We’re not going to compromise with the other party.’”

“I think you should keep on teaching your students to compromise because that’s not just how government works, that’s how life works,” Obama said.

Just as the president was leaving, WJZ asked students whether they thought the president gave answers to questions that affect them.

“He’s really inspired me,” said one student. “He showed me that something good is going to happen in the world.”

“Obviously, with the debt crisis, it’s easy to get cynical and kind of down about the future of America, but hearing him speak today, I’m very inspired, very hope- filled.”

Obama wasn’t able to address all of the questions out there, but he did get to quite a few. And there was no shortage of reaction to the president’s visit.

Jessica Kartalija talked with a number of students and others who were watching.

WJZ spoke to so many who said they were just excited to hear him speak and hear what he had to say, regardless of how they felt about his policies.

The line stretched outside the Ritchie Coliseum, as folks eagerly awaited the arrival of the president.

“Well, it’s really special. You don’t get to see the president of the United States every day. So I’m proud to be on campus and see our president of the United States,” said one student.

“Any time you get to see the opportunity to see the first African-American president, it’s amazing. I can’t pass up the opportunity,” said another student.

The president arrived at 11 a.m. to talk to an intimate group of 1,000.

“I liked his plan on the debt ceiling. I think he’s got a good strategy moving forward, and I hope it works,” said one attendee.

“I thought it was very interesting the viewpoint that he had to realize that things were already shut down, so the economy can be rebuilt,” said a student.

“I thought he did really well. I haven’t been the biggest supporter of Obama, but everything he said made a lot of sense,” said a student.

“I don’t always agree with what Obama tries to do,” said a student. “But I think he’s a very smart man. And he’s almost always on the right track with these local issues, definitely.”

Obama spoke for just over an hour, And everyone WJZ spoke with afterwards said they were so pleased by just how personal he was, how he really seemed to take an interest in the local issues.

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