Posts tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Rick Santorum, Surging Again

It was a perfect night for Rick Santorum.

The former Pennsylvania senator once again shook up the race for the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday, winning the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses and the Missouri primary in a single night. With presumed frontrunner Mitt Romney still struggling to convince social conservatives to get behind him, the sweep by Santorum ’80, ’86g further muddied what many had seen as a clear-cut GOP nominating contest.

What Santorum’s victories mean for the long haul remains up for debate. Results in Minnesota, Colorado, and Missouri are “non-binding,” so Santorum didn’t actually secure a single delegate. But those three wins give Santorum undeniable momentum for upcoming primaries, and also bode ill for Romney even if he ultimately secures the nomination.

For his part, Santorum insists he’s thinking bigger than his party’s nomination. “I don’t stand here to claim to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney,” he said Tuesday night. “I stand here to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama.”

Ryan Jones, senior editor

February 8, 2012 at 12:43 pm Leave a comment

Connecting with Ben Feller

One of the secrets to good reporting—and it’s not much of a secret, really—is connecting with people. So about five minutes into Ben Feller’s talk Tuesday night at the Foster Conference of Distinguished Writers, it was pretty clear how he’d risen from general assignment reporter at the Centre Daily Times (“you should read my bear-hunting stories—they’re awesome”) to chief White House correspondent for The Associated Press.

Feller ’92, who appeared on the cover of our May/June 2009 issue, talked about visiting his dad in his campus office, eating lunch with his mom at the HUB, and his favorite bar. “To this day,” he said. “If I could pick anywhere in the world to have a beer, it would be Zeno’s.”

Connection made.

And just as everyone on the Penn State football beat has a Joe Paterno imitation, Feller displayed not only a good Barack Obama, but a pretty darn good Bill Clinton, whom he never covered in the White House. Asked if he wanted to do George W. Bush, Feller said, “Not right now,” in the voice—and with the hand motions—of The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart imitating Bush.

A young woman sitting near me exclaimed, “That was awesome!” (more…)

March 30, 2011 at 5:44 pm 7 comments

President Obama Asks for Penn State’s Help in “Winning the Future”

He was only on stage Thursday for 22 minutes, but that was plenty of time for Barack Obama to cover all the bases required for a president visiting Penn State.

Joe Paterno reference? Check. “I just met this guy,” Obama said shortly after he took the stage at Rec Hall,” I hadn’t heard of him before, but apparently he coaches your football team…”

Pointing out his own Penn State connection? Check. Obama mentioned Lt. Col. Sam Price ’95, an Air Force officer charged today with “carrying the football,” aka the nuclear launch codes the president keeps near at all times, just in case.

Giving the crowd a reason to cheer? Check. In fairness, Obama didn’t have to try all that hard to get the crowd on his side — based on his reception, the president (check our Facebook page for more photos) is still wildly popular with younger voters, who made up a sizable chunk of the 3,000 audience members in the Rec Hall stands. But the president made sure he connected with Penn Staters of all ages, and with current students in particular, by emphasizing far-reaching — and, in his words, vital — goals in his brief time at University Park.

“The reason I wanted to come here, (more…)

February 3, 2011 at 6:16 pm 2 comments

Waiting On The President

The view from the press area

So we’re camped out on the east end of the floor at Rec Hall, along with dozens of (or maybe a hundred?) media members, a few hundred invited guests, and about 3,000 additional folks in the stands. And while I can’t say for sure it’s the hottest ticket of the week on campus — “Weezyville” seems to be a pretty big deal — I can say the excitement level for a visit from the President of the United State is pretty high.

Barack Obama is scheduled to land at University Park Airport sometime after 11 this morning, after which he’ll tour a few campus labs (including, apparently, the engineering buildings that surround the Hintz Family Alumni Center, which explains why those of us in the Alumni Association aren’t allowed in our offices until this afternoon), and then head over to Rec Hall for a speech focused on energy innovation. The theme ties in with the “Winning the Future” mantra Obama introduced last week in his State of the Union address; Penn State earned the visit in large part due to its lead role in the Philadelphia Energy Innovation Hub, for which it recently received hundreds of millions of dollars in state and federal funding.

It’s worth acknowledging that, for a lot of people in the old gym today (which by the way looks terrific after recent renovations), the specifics of Obama’s speech may be less compelling than the simple fact that the leader of the free world is on our campus. According to our friends in Public Information, Obama is the ninth U.S. president to visit Penn State, a run that started when Dwight Eisenhower dropped in for his brother Milton’s 1950 inauguration as University president. Obama of course, was on campus in 2008, when he was a senator campaigning for the job he now holds.

Our editor Tina Hay, senior editor Lori Shontz and I got here around 9 a.m. to go through security, although Tina, who doubles as our crack staff photographer, actually showed up at 4:45 to hold a spot for her camera equipment. Thank goodness for the wireless service in Rec Hall, as there’s otherwise not much to do until the president shows up (and it’s looking like he might be running late to boot). It looks like you’ll be able to watch his speech live on the Big Ten Network, and we’ll post again this afternoon to let you know how that goes.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

February 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm Leave a comment

Stephen Benkovic Receives the National Medal of Science

Penn State chemistry professor Stephen J. Benkovic on Friday was named one of 10 recipients of the 2010 National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in scientific research. Benkovic, the University’s Evan Pugh professor and Eberly Chair in chemistry, is considered one of the world’s foremost mechanistic enzymologists; I won’t pretend to understand what that means, but knowing that his research has helped provide the foundation for certain antibiotics and cancer drugs (among many other advances) tells me it’s impressive, important work.

You can find the list of this year’s winners, announced by President Obama last Friday, on the White House website.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

October 18, 2010 at 10:50 am 1 comment

Penn State prof analyzes Paul McCartney’s greatness

I was not at all surprised to read this morning that Paul McCartney received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. That’s because I’d already read and edited an interview with music theory professor Vincent Benitez, who analyzed all of McCartney’s post-Beatles work in the just-published The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years.

The award seems especially appropriate because Benitez said McCartney’s song-writing skills are “in the same league as George Gershwin.”

You’ll be able to read the interview with Benitez in our July/August issue, which we’re finishing now and which should be in your mailboxes in early July. And you can watch the concert, to be broadcast on PBS, on July 28.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

June 3, 2010 at 10:24 am 1 comment

Ben Feller Honored for Coverage of President Obama

We told you Ben Feller ’92 Com was good at his job. Feller, a White House correspondent for the Associated Press, recently earned the Merriman Smith Award from the White House Correspondents’ Association for his coverage of President Obama’s secret trip to Dover Air Force Base to greet the coffins of fallen soldiers. (The photo at right shows Ben and the President at the annual WHCA dinner earlier this month.) The Dover piece also was among the work cited by the Gerald R. Ford Foundation when it honored Feller with its Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency.

We’ve mentioned Feller a few times in our blog, and he was our cover story in our May/June 2009 issue; now he (jokingly) credits his success to our coverage: “See what happens when you give people coverage in The Penn Stater?” Feller wrote in an e-mail. “Good things happen—I see cause and effect here!”

That’s very nice of Ben, but his success is more likely related to his being a “master of deadline reporting,” among the other accolades listed by the awards judges.

Amy Guyer, associate editor

May 19, 2010 at 9:38 am 1 comment

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