College Democrats President Omeed Firouzi introduced Vice President Joe Biden in front of a crowd of 300 GW students. Biden joked that people tend to mispronounce his and Firouzi’s names, referencing the time Sarah Palin referred to Biden as “O’Biden” during the vice-presidential debate in 2008.
“Omeed and I have a number of things in common,” Biden said. “Number one, as he was making clear to me the pronunciation of his last name, I said, ‘don’t feel badly, I’m often introduced as Vice President O’Biden,’ I thank Sarah Palin,” Biden said.
Firouzi, the newly elected Undergraduate At-Large Senator and incoming Student Life Committee Chairman of the Student Association, said that he spoke with Biden before his speech.
“We chatted about our mutual friends from the northeast Pennsylvania region…we talked about how I was inspired by his authorship of the Violence Against Women Act to get involved in reforming sexual assault policy at GW, and how people often mispronounce my name and we laughed about how that has happened to him, too,” Firouzi said.
GW Students filed into the Grand Ballroom in the Marvin Center April 28 to listen to Biden speak. Biden was selected as the End of the Year Program Speaker by Program Board, the Student Association and the College Democrats. His speech about the budget and economic policy lasted for 40 minutes.
Biden spoke about how the middle class should be able to reap the benefits of their hard work. He pointed out the downhill battle that America will face if Congress passes the Republican-planned budget.
“We have a fundamentally different view of what constitutes a growing America,” Biden said.
Under the GOP Plan to Balance the Budget by 2023, spearheaded by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), the government will cut spending for organizations that Biden considers imperative to American society, such as the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, Medicaid and public education.
“When you fail to invest, you are putting America behind almost every other leading country in the world,” Biden said.
Students were selected to attend the event through a lottery system. The registration for the lottery was not on a “first-come, first-served” basis. When Biden concluded his speech, students frantically tried to snap photos with him.
Biden encouraged students, regardless of their political affiliations, to assess the condition of the middle class.
“Don’t fall into the trap that none of this really matters or that there isn’t a difference we can make,” Biden said. “This is on the level, folks.”