In Kansas City, Obama asks Congress to ‘stop just hating all the time’

BY Kim Chexnayder, PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs  July 30, 2014 at 6:18 PM EST
resident Barack Obama delivers remarks on the economy at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City, Missouri, July 30, 2014. Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the economy at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City, Missouri, July 30, 2014. Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

On Wednesday, President Obama spoke in Kansas City and called on Republican lawmakers to get some work done and “stop just hating all the time.”

“I know they’re not that happy that I’m president,” Obama said. “I’ve only got a couple of years left. Come on, let’s get some work done. Then you can be mad at the next president.”

Kimberly Chexnayder, a reporter with the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs program, interviewed two local youths about the economy and whether or not they felt optimistic about the future.

Name: Corrinne Smith (Overland, Kansas)
Age: 18
School: Tufts University

Why did you decide to attend President Obama’s address at the Uptown Theatre?

I saw (President Obama) on his campaign tour in 2008, and I really wanted to jump at the chance to see him again. I think it’s really important that young people get involved in politics and are informed citizens.

Why do you think it’s so important for young people to get involved in politics?

A big part of being an American is being informed, voting and being involved in the choices our country makes, so I think it’s important to start practicing that at a young age.

How do you think the economy affects our generation?

I think we’re going to be the ones to help our economy recover. We need to focus on student loan debt, universal healthcare…fixing the economy in general. I think being informed is a huge part of that.

What is your take on the Affordable Health Care Act, minimum wage and student loan debt?

I am a huge proponent of universal heath care, and I think the minimum wage needs to be increased. I think that what Obama said about helping the middle class by raising the minimum wage will ultimately help everyone. I think minimum wage should be raised and that women should get equal pay.

Name: TJ Blake (Hutchinson, Kansas)
Age: 19
School: The University of Kansas

As a young adult, do you think its important to hear a president speak about the country’s current economy?

It’s really interesting to hear (President Obama) speak and hear his views on what’s going on. I think it’s important for all the people who are young and in our generation to be engaged in politics and be engaged in what’s going on in our economy. I think that hearing the president speak is a great way to get involved and hear the message.

Do you think it’s important to have young adults involved?

We are the next generation of what is going to happen in politics. We have a generation of people who are disengaged and don’t care about what’s happening. It’s only going to get worse. We are the future of what’s going to happen.

With political biases aside, do you think our current government has helped our country with our economic crisis?

I think that while the government as a whole hasn’t done a very good job, Obama has done a great job so that we can go towards progress.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.