News / USA

Obama Gives Michigan Graduation Speech

U.S. President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address at the University of Michigan Saturday, calling on graduates to participate in public life and improve the quality of public debate.

President Obama encouraged graduates to stay informed and get involved in political issues in order to keep democracy alive. He said the focus should be on creating a "smarter, better government" that gives people the tools they need to succeed. He also called for civility in public debate and a move away from partisan bickering and name-calling.

Earlier Saturday, in the weekly Republican address, Michigan Representative Pete Hoekstra said Mr. Obama's visit to Michigan would give him the chance to see what Hoekstra called, "the painful plight" of the state's people. Michigan currently has the highest unemployment rate in the U.S.

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm thanked Mr. Obama at the graduation ceremony for the steps he has taken to create more jobs. She said 90,000 people are working in Michigan as a result of the $787-billion stimulus plan the president pushed through Congress last year.

In his weekly broadcast address Saturday, Mr. Obama tackled the issue of campaign finance, calling for reforms to counter a recent Supreme Court ruling that allows corporations to spend unlimited money in political campaigns.

Mr. Obama said Congress should consider new measures that prevent companies and other special interests from "gaining even more clout" in Washington.

Mr. Obama proposed reforms that force political campaign committees to reveal their sources of funding.  He said whenever a corporation pays for a campaign ad, a major figure from that corporation should appear in the ad and claim responsibility for it. He also called for restrictions on campaign spending by foreign companies and foreign nationals.

The U.S. Supreme Court in January struck down long-standing limits on corporate spending in political campaigns.  The opinion signed by a majority of justices stated that corporations have the same right to free speech as citizens, and that previous campaign finance laws were unconstitutional.

Former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin was also scheduled to give a speech in Michigan Saturday, about 100 kilometers from President Obama, in the town of Clarkston.

Palin has been on a speaking tour throughout the U.S. as she promotes her book.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid