Campus / Featured / International / National / News / July 24, 2013

Liveblog: President Barack Obama speaks at Knox College


President Barack Obama addresses a Knox College audience in Memorial Gym Wednesday, July 24. (Charlie Gorney/TKS)

Follow along below with TKS live coverage of President Barack Obama’s speech at Knox College.

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1:18 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

“We will find an ocean of tomorrows,” Obama said.

His speech has now ended.

1:17 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

President Obama has now been speaking for about an hour. There is still a lot of energy in the room, both from him and the audience.

1:14 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

More from Obama:

Our economy will be stronger one, five, 10 years from now.

If we focus on what matters, more Americans will understand the pride of that first paycheck.

What makes us special is giving everyone the ability to pursue their own success.

1:12 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

If we don’t do anything that Obama talked about, America would get by and remain a world power. But then part of our character would be lost. Tensions would rise. It’s not the America Obama sees.

Obama doesn’t want to wait until the next presidency to tackle these issues.

The only thing he cares about is using every minute of the end of his term to make this country work.

1:03 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

Obama: We cannot turn our backs on any of our fellow citizens.

Obama will focus on an economy that grows from the middle out, not the top down.

1:01 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

MORE from Obama’s speech:

There are too many people in poverty. In America, we don’t guarantee success. We expect people to be self-reliant. But that’s combined with equality of opportunity, idea that if you work hard, you can make it too.

We have to give everyone a chance to work their way into the middle class.

New push to build rundown neighborhoods, we need to get people back on their feet.

Because no one who works full time should have to live in poverty, Obama will keep working to raise minimum wage.

12:59 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

Recap of cornerstones for strong middle class: Good jobs, good education, home of your own, retirement security and healthcare security.

12:57 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

Fifth cornerstone for a strong middle class: Healthcare.

If you have a preexisting health condition, new law starting January 1 will require health insurance agencies to cover you for the same cost, Obama said.

12:53 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

Third cornerstone for a strong middle class: Home ownership.

Fourth: Retirement.

12:51 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

More updates on President Obama’s speech:

Families can’t keep paying more into a system where costs are going up 5-7% each year. We have to get more out of what we pay for.

“It is critical that we make sure college is affordable for every single American,” he said. Huge applause.

12:47 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

“As we speak, federal agencies are moving on my plan to connect 99 percent of American students to high speed internet over next five years.” – Obama

12:45 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree


“Technology and global competition aren’t going away. So we can either throw up our hands … or we can do what America’s always done, which is adapt and pull together and fight back and win.”

Obama’s second cornerstone for a strong middle class is a good education. Obama wants to make it affordable.

12:41 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

“Let’s tell the world that America is open for business,” Obama said.

12:38 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

More from Obama:

But if we don’t have a growing, driving middle class, then we won’t have resources to solve a lot of these problems. We won’t have the resolve, the optimism, the sense of unity that we need to solve these other issues.

I would love to work with Republicans and Democrats wherever I can.

There are members of both parties who understand what’s at stake.

“I will not allow gridlock or inaction or willful indifference to get in our way.”

I will use executive power.

12:33 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

Obama begins listing what things he wants to happen, including health insurance and reducing poverty. There’s a standing ovation, lots of applause, cheering.

12:33 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

Obama: America has to make the investments necessary to promote long term growth and help sustain the economy.

“Over the next several weeks in towns across this country I will be engaging American people in this debate.”

12:31 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

Someone in the audience just shouted that someone in their family now has health insurance. There was huge applause. The president recognized him and thanked him.

12:30 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree


Washington hasn’t just ignored the economic problems, but has made them worse.

We’re under-investing in the things that this country needs to make more jobs.

The good thing is that Republicans and Democrats have started working together in the Senate.


12:26 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

Obama: “Reversing these trends has to be Washington’s highest priority.” Huge applause.

“They’re certainly my highest priority.” Huge applause.

12:25 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree


The average American earns less than he or she did in the late 1990s.

More students are earning their degree today, but soaring costs leave them with unsustainable debt.

Working families haven’t seen savings yet.

The stock market rebound helped a lot of families, but millions of Americans still don’t know how they’ll retire.

“The trends that I spoke about here in 2005 … those trends have been made worse by the recession. And that’s a problem.”

“Inequality of opportunity … is not just morally wrong, it’s bad economics.”

12:22 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

More from President Barack Obama’s speech:

“We sell more products made in America than ever before,” he said.

The cost of healthcare is growing at its slowest rate in 50 years.

Our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years.

“Thanks to the grit and resilience and determination of the American people, folks like you, we’ve been able to clear away the rubble from the financial crisis,” he said.

12:21 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

More from Obama’s speech:

“By the time I took office in 2009, the bubble had burst,” the president said.

It cost a lot of people their homes and their banks.

Now, five years later, America is back on the up-and-up.

We tore down a broken healthcare system, we’re working on alternate energy to release ourselves from oil dependency, we changed the tax code that was skewed in favor of the wealthy.

Our businesses have created new jobs, and this year we have a stronger private sector job role since 1999.

12:16 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

Last time the president was here was for a commencement address. It was his first big speech as a new Illinois senator. He spoke about how this area was important, and how it best represented what’s happening in America.

He came to talk about what the changing economy was doing to the middle class.

He had listened to stories about residents losing their jobs at the Maytag company, teachers whose salaries couldn’t keep up with the prices of groceries and young people who had the drive to pursue a further education but not the money.

These were people who wanted to pursue the American dream, but the odds seemed stacked against them. President Obama says they were right.

12:11 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

The president has just arrived. His first remarks: “Hello, Galesburg. It’s good to be back.”

12:08 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

The Presidential Seal is in place. The speech should be starting soon.

12:07 pm, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

Applause was just started by the people in the bleachers behind the podium, and then faltered off.

The White House press has filed in and taken their seats on what would be stage left, away from the rest of the media stations.

11:59 am, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

According to the Register-Mail’s Facebook page, the motorcade was making its way from the airport as of three minutes ago.

11:56 am, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

According to Tom Martin, the Editor-in-chief of the Galesburg Register-Mail, Director of Multicultural Student Advisement Tianna Cervantez said that Knox and Galesburg community members were chosen to sit in the bleachers behind the podium based on how excited their responses were when spoken to and asked a few questions.

11:52 am, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

The time is 11:53 a.m. The speech should be starting any minute now. Word on this side of the fence is that President Obama is en route.

11:40 am, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

A number of people have just filled the bleachers behind the area where President Obama will stand to deliver his speech. It appears that most of these people are Knox students, including seniors Ryan West, Evan Balzuweit and James Lichtenstein. Alumni Kenton Tilford ’13, Saskia Pellnat ’13, Arnold Salgado ’13, Nicole Greene-Winek ’13 and Allister Byrd ’13 are also present.

11:32 am, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

Signs are not allowed inside the Memorial Gym today. According to a tweet from @afpillinois, a few people representing them were escorted off campus for having a sign. Theirs criticized President Obama’s economic policies.

It has also been rumored that one person or a group of people had wanted to bring in a sign stating, “Impeach Obama.”

Regardless of what the signs say, none of them are being allowed.

Also not allowed in the Memorial Gym are liquids, large bags and sharp objects.

11:20 am, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

Suit-clad Galesburg High School student is leading the gym in the national anthem.

Be sure to follow Twitter for to-the-minute updates.

11:19 am, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

The entire room is standing for the pledge of allegiance, which is being led by a Knox alum.

11:15 am, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

With about 40 minutes until the speech is expected to begin, it appears as though all the seats in the bleachers have been filled. The gym has been filled with a hubbub since people began entering the space.

More members of the Knox Community have been spotted, including:

  • Assistant Librarian for Public Services Anne Giffey
  • Associate Professor of Political Science Andrew Civettini
  • Senior Tyler Beckett
  • Senior Will Bouman
  • Senior Kayla Kennedy
  • Instructor in Art Michael Godsil
  • Senior Drew Diaz, as a volunteer

And Amott has been spotted speaking with Governor of Illinois Pat Quinn.

11:06 am, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

Lots of Knox faculty, staff and students are here. Below, a brief list:

  • President of Knox College Teresa Amott
  • Former President of Knox College Roger Taylor, along with his wife, Anne
  • Annie Pittman ’12, for the Monmouth Review Atlas
  • Associate Professor of English Chad Simpson, as a volunteer
  • Associate Professor of History Catherine Denial
  • Senior Sami Waight, as an intern for the Galesburg Register-Mail
  • Senior Melvin Taylor
  • Lotte Vonk ’13
  • Junior Devin Hanley, as a volunteer
  • Junior Kaity Hutchcroft
  • Sophomore Kayleigh O’Brien, who is tweeting for Knox College (@KnoxCollege1837)

Make sure to keep up with us on Twitter by following @theknoxstudent, Editor-in-chief Charlie Gorney @Charlie_Gorney, Copy Editor Gabrielle Rajerison @likeserendipity, and myself @chelseeandsay.

10:49 am, Wednesday, Jul 24
Chelsea Embree

There’s still an hour until the President is expected to speak, and the Memorial Gym is already nearly filled. Nine American flags have been counted. The secret service have been spotted. And so have former President of the College Roger Taylor, current President Teresa Amott, and former Mayor of Galesburg Sal Garza.

Stay tuned here for more updates.

Tags:  #knoxobama economy Galesburg Illinois Knox College obama President Obama speech

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Chelsea Embree
Chelsea Embree is a senior majoring in creative writing and minoring in art history. She previously served as co-mosaic editor and as an arts and features reporter for TKS. During the summer of 2013, she served as a content intern at The St. Louis Beacon. Chelsea has studied under former Random House copy chief Sean Mills and taught writing as a teaching assistant for First-Year Preceptorial. An avid blogger, she has written extensively about youth in St. Louis and maintains a lively poetry and nonfiction blog on Tumblr. She is also the director of communications for Mortar Board and co-president of Terpsichore Dance Collective.

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