The Democratic National Committee Chairman encouraged students to get involved in politics and poked fun at the Republican presidential candidates at the GW College Democrats’ Welcome Week barbecue Thursday in the Marvin Center.
As C-SPAN videotaped the event, DNC Chairman Joseph Andrew told the crowd of CD members and prospective members that Democrats care about issues such as the economy, the environment and children and want to move in a positive direction. He said Republicans “want to turn the clock back.”
He discussed levels of government from the presidency to local school boards and expressed a desire for Democrats to control them.
Andrew said “somebody over 50” is always writing that young people are not involved in the political process. But he said he was a “great optimist.” The DNC is doing a lot of things to elicit student participation, including an effort to increase young volunteers, he said.
“They’ve got their $37 million man, (Republican presidential candidate) George W. Bush, but we’ve got you,” Andrew said to the audience members, many of whom wore Gore 2000 stickers in support of Vice President Al Gore’s presidential campaign.
“He did a lot of Republican slandering as opposed to Democratic pushing,” said freshman Jeff Cassin, a self-described independent with Democratic leanings.
But Cassin said Andrew was well-spoken and upbeat and expressed ideals similar to his own.
Workers for Gore 2000 were at the barbecue to distribute information about Gore’s efforts and offered students opportunities to volunteer or intern for the campaign. Gore 2000 political assistant and GW senior Scott Tenley said student interns are actively involved in the election effort and are not occupied with menial tasks.
Sophomore Moira Bohannon, CD co-events chair, said Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley’s campaign was also invited to the barbecue but did not come.
CD Vice President Nathan Richter said the event fit the organization’s basic tenets of getting people excited about being Democrats and running events that range from serious political debates to social hours.
The barbecue was an opportunity to meet new students and show them the CDs are “an active group on campus,” as well as to sign up as many members as possible, Bohannon said.
CD spokesman Adam Brennenman said 173 students, the vast majority of which were new members, signed up for the group at the barbecue.
The CDs are planning to invite more guest speakers, participate in free training programs and attend campaign trips and coffeehouses with members of Congress, Richter said. He said prominent Democrats like Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) probably will come to campus.
Bohannon said the events for the year will include more than just speeches, and the CDs have a social director for the first time to coordinate other events.