Students Give Clinton High Marks
The ARCO Forum audience of about 150 students listened quietly, with only speckled episodes of weak applause, as Clinton listed his administration's accomplishments and a litany of goals for the country in his State of the Union Address last night.
Nowhere in the 90-minute address was there a mention of former White House intern Monica Lewinsky or any of the legal proceedings against the President.
"The scandal certainly piqued my interest [in the speech]," said Richard Parr '01, who said the allegations drew his attention to the address but were not the only reason why he went.
"You have an obligation to hear what the President has to say" whether or not he is surrounded by scandal, Parr said.
Students remarked on the breadth of the address, which covered a wide range of domestic and international issues, from giving all Americans the opportunity to go to college to enlarging NATO.
"He seemed to emphasize the solvability of problems rather than the barriers we have in addressing them," Anne L. Berry '01 said. "I thought he was too optimistic," she said.
Others were also skeptical about Clinton's ability to deliver on his promises.
"When you stretch yourself that far [in addressing so many issues], it's hard to see how he'll keep all the surplus from social security but still do his reforms," Parr said.
On the whole, students rated the President highly on his delivery of the address.
College Democrats said they hoped the speech would improve the President's public image despite the scandals surrounding his administration.
"I hope [students] get the sense that the President is a decent man who has a good vision of where the country is going in coming years," said Michael J. Passante '99, president of the Harvard-Radcliffe College Democrats.
"The recent scandals have nothing to do with the job he's doing as President," he said.
"I don't remember a time when people were as interested in something the president didn't mention," said Noah Z. Seton '00, president of the Harvard-Radcliffe Republican Alliance.
Seton said he appreciated Senator Trent Lott (R-Miss.) to the President's address.
Lott disagreed with Clinton's emphasis on the use of tobacco among teenagers, saying narcotics pose a more dangerous problem.
"I've always wished the President would address [drugs] in a stronger way," Seton said.