Springer Hints at Senate Run
The Science Center’s West Lecture Hall erupted with the audience chanting “Jer-ry, Jer-ry!” as a lively Jerry Springer bounded down the stairs before his speech last night. Although the auditorium was already filled to capacity, the atrium was still crowded with eager students looking for a way in and a crowd even gathered outside the windows overlooking the hall.
Springer opened his lecture with mention of the recent tragedy at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. “Just leave the people alone, just let them deal with it,” Springer said, commenting that media and public intrusion would only make it more difficult to overcome the incident.
“It’s happening all over the earth,” Springer said of the killings, contrasting the nation’s active response to the shooting with its muted reaction to deaths overseas. Springer’s speech quickly moved to a critique of U.S. domestic and foreign policy, during which Springer was unhesitant about levying harsh criticism, calling the Iraq War, “the great moral issue of our time,” and attributing US mistakes to presidential incompetence.
“Competence is the only issue that doesn’t count in presidential elections,” Springer said, before calling upon President Bush to acknowledge his mistakes.
“Bush [should] admit wrongdoing and let them reform,” he said, suggesting that the US turn over all oil revenue to Iraq. “We take as a given that that’s our oil,” he said, before reminding audience members that this is not the case.
Springer next set his sights on the Bush Administration’s war on terrorism. “Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of us will eventually die from a disease or an accident, not a terrorist bomb,” Springer said. “The number one priority is health insurance and health care for every single human being in America.”
In the question and answer session following Springer’s lecture, Secretary of the Oberlin College Democrats and College senior Maxine Kaplan asked him to comment on the upcoming 2008 presidential election.
Springer said that although he has been a longtime fan of Hillary Clinton, he strongly disagreed with her stance on Iraq. Although he is still undecided, he seemed optimistic about the candidates in general, saying, “It’s been a long time since we’ve had such wonderful choices.”
Despite the seriousness of his lecture, Springer peppered his words with humor, prompting the audience to laugh at times.
At the conclusion of his lecture, Springer received a standing ovation as he exited the hall.
Born in London in 1944, Springer emigrated to the U.S. at age five with his family. After graduating from Tulane and Northwestern Universities, he worked on Robert Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign. In 1971, Springer was elected to Cincinnati’s city council at age 27, later becoming mayor at 33.
Springer worked as a news anchor at Cincinnati’s NBC-affiliate, reporting from Ethiopia and Sudan, and winning 10 Emmy Awards. His popular Jerry Springer Show debuted in 1991, and in 2004, the Ohio Democratic Party named him Democrat of the Year.
Springer’s visit is a part of a lecture series sponsored by the OC Democrats.
“His celebrity status…draws a crowd that might not come to political talks,” said OC Dems Co-chair and College junior Namrata Kolachalam.
“We wanted to walk the line between someone who could speak very eloquently about political issues and also had appeal,” said College senior Charlie Sohne, a member of OC Democrats who was instrumental in bringing Springer to campus. “He’s willing to talk about things that matter.”