Florida's reaction to Obama's speech is mixed


The Miami Herald

President Barack Obama's prime-time speech was greeted with a wait-and-see attitude in South Florida, where the economy has been battered by the housing crisis and growing unemployment.

From the man on the street to members of Congress, South Floridians were cautiously optimistic about the Obama administration's plan to lift the economy out of its current malaise.

At the Riverside Hotel on Fort Lauderdale's Las Olas Boulevard, Rocco Norman watched Obama address the nation on television and said he was pleased to hear the president say he would fight corporate greed.

"I'm a worker. Most everyone I know is a worker. And we're scared for our jobs, while the CEOs keep getting bonuses? That isn't right," said Norman, 42, a law office assistant.

Others watching Obama said they were anxious to see the effects of the $787 billion stimulus package that was recently approved by Congress.

"I'm glad he mentioned that website," Sharon Tomes said about the recovery.gov site where Americans can track how stimulus dollars are being spent.

"I'm going to be checking that every day."

Obama's remarks about the economy drew the attention of several Barry University students, who took time off from their studies to watch the address.

"It rejuvenated the hope for me that our education system will be able to compete with the Chinese," said Michael Whorley, an 18-year old freshman.

"Usually, in economic turmoil, education is the first thing to go," he said.

South Florida lawmakers in Congress shared similar feelings but were mostly divided along party lines.

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