Rep. To Visit, Advocate For Obama

This story was written by Mandy Hofmockel, Daily Collegian
A U.S. representative in support of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., will be coming to campus to speak about foreign policy on Friday.

Adam Abrams, communications director for U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Pa., said Murphy, an Iraq War veteran, would be addressing his reasons for supporting Obama at the event.

Michael Stewart, president of Penn State Students for Barack Obama, said his organization is sponsoring the event, to be held at 1:30 p.m. in the HUB Auditorium.

Stewart said Murphy would be coming to State College for a local dinner and to speak to students.

Stewart said there would be people attending from Murphy's 8th Congressional District, and he is expected to address foreign policy at the event.

"There's not enough open discussion about it," he said.

Stewart said his organization has been trying to get in touch with club leaders and is working to distribute flyers to encourage attendance.

He said he hoped people would give up some of their lunchtime to hear Murphy speak.

"The HUB is packed between 12 to 2," he said.

Stewart said his organization is trying to encourage students to fill out absentee ballots at the event. He said students play an "ever more crucial role," and that one of their biggest goals is "to give everyone a voice."

Abrams said Murphy would encourage students to support Obama and thank them for their support.

Murphy endorsed Obama in August for reasons including similar stances on change, Obama's track record for bipartisanship in Illinois, and Congress and Obama's plan to bring home American troops safely and quickly, Abrams said.

Murphy also supports Obama's plan to refocus troops where al-Qaida is strongest, Abrams said.

"We need foreign policy dealt with and we need it dealt with now," said Samantha Miller, spokeswoman for the College Democrats.

She said the College Democrats would not be directly involved in the event because the speaker is an endorser and her organization has a "non-endorsement policy."

Miller said, however, that members would be encouraged to attend and that people have to take advantage of speakers taking time to come to Central Pennsylvania.

In addition to speaking about his support of Obama, Murphy will talk about ways to make college more affordable and bringing jobs to Pennsylvania and the United States, Abrams said.

Debbie Mesloh, a spokeswoman with the Barack Obama campaign, said the talk would resonate with students because someone from their state is talking about his reasons for supporting Obama.

Eric Barzydlo (freshman-international politics), an Iraq War veteran, said being a veteran would not make Murphy an "authority" on foreign policy, but it isn't detrimental either. "I think being a veteran of the war itself helps," he said. Barzydlo added that some people emerge from the war with a "narrow perspective" because of their individual experiences.
© 2008 Daily Collegian via U-WIRE