Commencement

Obama Disses 'Poisonous Political Climate'

Speaking before 92,000 students at the University of Michigan, President Obama urged graduates to keep political thought diverse and avoid slipping into the ugly debates that mark the current "poisonous political climate." "This kind of vilification and over-the-top rhetoric closes the door to the possibility of compromise,” he said. “It prevents learning—since after all, why should we listen to a 'fascist' or 'socialist' or 'right-wing nut' or a 'left-wing nut?'" Obama also made a case for a government that is present in citizens’ lives and tried to dispel its image of “some menacing, threatening foreign entity.” "Government is what ensures that mines adhere to safety standards and that oil spills are cleaned up by the companies that cause them," he said. Too little government led to "a lack of accountability on Wall Street [that] nearly led to the collapse of our entire economy."