Students, area residents speak about changing administration

By Daily Illini Staff Report

With one last handshake with President Barack Obama, George W. Bush boarded a helicopter on Tuesday at the Capitol and began his post-presidential life, closing a two-term administration marked by war, recession and the biggest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

The unpopular incumbent and Obama, who has ascended to rock-star status even as he faces daunting and international challenges, stood with their wives on the Capitol steps smiling and laughing. If there were any hard feelings between the incoming Democrat and outgoing Republican, they weren’t apparent in the Bush send-off at the base of the helicopter. The two men hugged and clasped hands one final time, sealing the transfer of power.

University students and area residents had mixed feelings about the changing administration.

Some felt excited at the prospect of change.

“It’s good to see change. Everyone talks about change and today you can actually see it,” said Allison Hanna, Junior in LAS. “The administration, the way everything is set up with big businesses, Dick Cheney and his involvement with oil companies: Our nation is kind of in a lot of trouble. We will see what he can do.”

Grace Lee, Champaign resident and sponsor for student organization Deeper Roots in Christ, felt that although Obama was not her preference, his leadership will benefit the nation.

“Not my choice,” she said of Obama. “At this time in history God thinks [Obama should lead the country].”

After the inauguration ceremony some in the crowd waved at the aircraft in the sky. Others, however, cheered when they heard a television broadcaster announce, “George Bush is no longer president of the United States.” Still others in the crowd, broke into chants of “Na-na-na-nah, hey, hey, hey, goodbye.”

Following the Midland rally the Bushes are flying to Waco, Texas, on their way to their 1,600-acre ranch in nearby Crawford.

Even those who did not vote for Obama felt the significance of Obama’s inauguration.

“I’m not bitter,” said Jamie Crews, senior in LAS. “It is pointless to dislike him any more. It was a national day of celebration, unless your republican I suppose.”

“I’m not bitter,” said Jamie Crews Senior, LAS.

It is pointless to dislike him any more it was a national day of celebration unless your republican I suppose”

The Associated Press, Jennifer Wheeler and Kate Szyszka contributed to this report