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Oregon Delegation Excited By Obama's Speech


Oregon's Congressional delegation was among the crowd gathered for President Obama's address  Tuesday night. April Baer has the House delegation's reaction to the speech.


Since the Oregon delegation's blue tinge matches President Obama's party affiliation, it may not surprise you to hear most liked what Obama had to say.

DeliciousYou can check April Baer's delicious bookmarks for this story here.

Kurt Schrader   "The electricity in the room—even with members who'd been there quite a while, the electricity in the room was palpable."

5th District Democrat Kurt Schrader is new to Congress.  He says he wasn't entirely sold on Obama's vision on fiscal issues, specifically, his promise to hold banks accountable for how they handle future bailout money.

Kurt Schrader   "I hope he is successful, but I'm afraid I'm very, very skeptical. The banking industry, not so much our local banks and credit unions, but the big financial investment banks, I don't see them playing ball."

Schrader says he was excited about Obama's plans to help distressed homeowners refinance in the face of plummeting real estate values. He says he thought the president hit the nail on the head, identifying education as a key factor in turning the country's fiscal fortunes around.

Congressman David Wu also found a lot to like in the speech, including Obama's suggestion that the country must not become a second-string player behind Asia and Europe in green energy technology.

Oregon's lone Republican in Congress, Greg Walden, wasn't available for comment after the speech—an aide said he's been suffering from a bad sore throat, but that Walden did watch the address.

Greg Walden   "You know I never found you could borrow your way into prosperity."

A prepared statement Walden released Tuesday night repeated a critique he's mentioned many times. He says he's willing to work with Obama on economic problems, but cautioned against raising taxes, and voiced doubts about the Congressional Democrats' sincerity in pursuing bipartisan compromise.

One Oregon Rep who's been at odds with the Obama administration lately was sounding more temperate after the address. Congressman Peter Defazio is a sharp critic of the banking bailouts, and he crossed party lines to vote against the stimulus package that Obama lobbied so hard to pass this month. Defazio says he took some comfort in Obama's repeated calls for accountability and responsibility.

Peter Defazio   "You know, I think he indicated he's heard. I've thought that he's been there, but the problem is he gets pushed back by some of his advisors, Larry Summers, Secretary Geithner and others who are of and for Wall Street."

Defazio says he would have liked to hear Obama call for prosecution of profligate executives, and said he'd support much tougher measures for accountability.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer's reaction was similar to that of his Democratic colleagues, but he lodged his comments in a different way last night. He was the only member of the delegation  to offer play-by-play analysis of the President's address via a Twitter feed.

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