All posts by Pablo Roa

Pablo is a sophomore Government and Politics and Broadcast Journalism major at the University of Maryland, College Park. He's the Editor-in-Chief of Beltway Bulletin and Stories Beneath the Shell and serves as Vice President of UMD's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He also represents the Philip Merrill College of Journalism in the University Senate — the largest and most influential governing body at UMD. Previously, he worked as a digital communications intern for Senator Chris Van Hollen and for the U.S. Department of Labor, and on the digital communications teams for Tom Perez's DNC Chair campaign and the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

2016’s First Republican Debate: Who Won?

by PABLO ROA

With less than three weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, the leading Republican presidential candidates met on the debate stage for the sixth time Thursday night.

The candidates discussed everything from fighting ISIS, to gun control, taxes and more as each individual made their case to the American people for why they should be their party’s next nominee.

Last night’s debate was the smallest GOP debate thus far, with just seven candidates on the stage: businessman Donald Trump, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and Governors Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and John Kasich.

Here are five takeaways from last night’s debate: Continue reading 2016’s First Republican Debate: Who Won?

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President Obama Looks Forward In Final SOTU

by PABLO ROA

Last night, President Barack Obama delivered his seventh and final State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. In the speech, the president reflected on his seven years in office and discussed his plans for the final year of his presidency and the future of the United States. Continue reading President Obama Looks Forward In Final SOTU

President Obama discusses terrorism in Oval Office address

by PABLO ROA

President Barack Obama addressed the American people from the Oval Office Sunday night to discuss the ongoing investigation of last week’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, and the general terrorism threat that the country faces on a daily basis.

The speech marked just the third time that Obama has used the Oval Office to address the American people during his presidency. Obama spoke from the Oval Office twice in 2010, first to discuss the B.P. oil spill and then to announce the end of the U.S.’ combat mission in Iraq.

“Tonight I want to talk with you about this tragedy, the broader threat of terrorism and how we can keep our country safe,” Obama said.

The president began his address by discussing the tragedy in San Bernardino, where a man and his wife opened fire at the nonprofit Inland Regional Center, killing 14 people and injuring 21 others. Authorities are investigating the shooting as an act of terror.

“So far, we have no evidence that the killers were directed by a terrorist organization overseas or that they were part of a broader conspiracy here at home,” Obama said. “But it is clear that the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West.”


Continue reading President Obama discusses terrorism in Oval Office address

Why is Ben Carson Trailing Donald Trump in the polls again?

by PABLO ROA

After a summer dominated by Donald Trump, Ben Carson came out of nowhere towards the end of October and, according to several national polls, took the lead from the seemingly unstoppable real estate mogul in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Unfortunately for Carson, his collapse may be even quicker than his unexpected rise to political fame.

Carson’s campaign has been hampered by a variety of P.R.-related issues in recent weeks, and the retired neurosurgeon has run into several problems — most of which were self-imposed — that could ultimately bring down his presidential campaign. Namely, Carson has received criticism for his lack of knowledge on increasingly important foreign policy issues. Many have also questioned the authenticity of his life story. Continue reading Why is Ben Carson Trailing Donald Trump in the polls again?

President Obama to Deliver Last State of the Union in January

by PABLO ROA

During his two terms in office, President Barack Obama has addressed the nation six times with his annual State of the Union address. On Jan. 12, he will deliver his final speech as Commander in Chief.

Paul Ryan (R-WI), the newly elected Speaker of the House, officially invited Obama to deliver the address Monday. While Obama is constitutionally obligated to address the nation each year, it is up to the Speaker to invite the president to deliver the speech before a joint session of Congress each year. Continue reading President Obama to Deliver Last State of the Union in January

5 takeaways from the second Democratic debate

by PABLO ROA

With the presidential election less than a year away, the race for the nomination is heating up on both sides of the aisle.

Republican candidates met on the debate stage last week for their fourth debate of the primary season. Last night, the three remaining Democratic candidates met at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, for their second debate.

The race for the Democratic nomination has dwindled to three candidates since the last debate, as Senators Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee dropped out earlier this month. Now the battle for the nomination is between former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, with all three meeting on the stage last night.

Without further ado, here are five takeaways from the second Democratic debate:


 1) Debate in the Shadow of Tragedy

Early in the day on Saturday, the last thing on the minds of many Americans was a presidential debate. The tragic events of Friday evening in Paris dominated the news worldwide on Saturday and captivated the hearts and minds of people around the planet.

While the debate went on as scheduled in spite of the attacks, the tragedy had a major impact on the structure and dynamic of the debate.  The candidates, moderators and spectators held a moment of silence for the victims prior to the debate. Candidates also offered their condolences in their opening statements.

Continue reading 5 takeaways from the second Democratic debate

5 Takeaways from Tuesday’s Republican Debate

by PABLO ROA

The candidates for the Republican presidential nomination met on the debate stage once again Tuesday night, as Fox Business Network and The Wall Street Journal hosted the party’s fourth debate of the primary season.

Just like the previous three Republican debates, Tuesday’s event was split into two separate contests to accommodate the large field of candidates still in the running for the GOP nomination.

The bottom four candidates in recent polling averages — Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal — met in the “undercard” debate two hours prior to the main debate. The main event, which began at 9 p.m. ET, consisted of the top-eight candidates: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Senator Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Senator Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Senator Rand Paul and Gov. John Kasich.

Here are five takeaways from Tuesday’s Debate: Continue reading 5 Takeaways from Tuesday’s Republican Debate

The Countdown Begins: 2016 Presidential election is a year away

by PABLO ROA

On Nov. 3, millions of Americans from around the country went to their local polling places to vote on Election Day. While state and local elections rarely gain as much publicity and public interest as national elections, Tuesday’s elections marked a big milestone in American politics: the 2016 presidential election is officially a year away.

Granted, the election has dominated the news cycle for months and many Americans might already be sick of hearing about the campaign. But with the general election officially less than a year away, many will begin to focus even more on the race to succeed Barack Obama in the White House.

With that in mind, here’s a quick look at where the 2016 presidential election stands as the countdown to election day reaches the one-year mark: Continue reading The Countdown Begins: 2016 Presidential election is a year away

A Guide to the 2015 College Park Elections

by PABLO ROA

Over the last few months, political news at the national level has focused on the 2016 presidential election, which is still over a year away. But the 2016 election is not the only political contest on the horizon, as state and local governments around the nation will hold elections this month.

The City of College Park will hold mayoral and City Council elections Nov. 3. For the first time in over two decades, the mayor and all City Council positions will be contested in the election.

Continue reading A Guide to the 2015 College Park Elections

Poll shows Republican Gov. Larry Hogan popular in deep-blue Maryland

by PABLO ROA

In the days leading up to the 2014 gubernatorial election, few expected Republican businessman Larry Hogan (R) to win the job in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1. Almost a year after he defeated Anthony Brown (D) in one of the biggest upsets of the campaign cycle, however, Governor Hogan is immensely popular in Maryland among members of both parties.

According to a recent Washington Post-University of Maryland poll, Hogan has a 61 percent approval rating nine months into his administration. Only 22 percent of those surveyed said they disapprove of Hogan, while 18 percent said they have no opinion.

The poll was conducted Oct. 8-11 and surveyed a random sample of 1,006 residents in Maryland, with a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points. Continue reading Poll shows Republican Gov. Larry Hogan popular in deep-blue Maryland