UC Merced

Meanwhile, Obama opposition forms around a microphone in the media room

For most at UC Merced's graduation on Saturday, Michelle Obama's speech brought a gravitas to what was already a day to remember.

But for two students who leaned over a microphone discussing Obama before her speech, the first lady's presence wasn't a reason to celebrate.

Over their Web site, America's Headlines, Oliver Darcy and Mike Fincher, both members of the UC Merced College Republicans, broadcast their self-described conservative views on their radio show.

They dubbed the broadcast "Freedom radio from occupied UC Merced."

In a sarcastic dialogue, they critiqued everything from Obama's past remarks about being proud of her country for the first time to the wisdom of UC Merced's choice of inviting Obama here.

And that was just the start.

They opened the broadcast on a minor note by talking about the flags in the ceremony, especially the missing ones.

Where was Israel's flag, for instance, asked Fincher. Had it been left out of the ceremony on purpose, he asked. And why were there so few American flags?

Not long into the 45-minute broadcast, they laid into Obama herself.

More specifically, they mentioned her statements during the election campaign about being proud of her country for the first time.

"It's in the audio," said Darcy, about Obama's statements. "I wonder if the tone will be different today?"

Fincher, a Sun-Star columnist, replied: "I've always been proud of my country."

Then Darcy said, "It reveals something about her that you didn't see in (Barack) Obama's speeches."

Why had the university bent over backwards for Obama, they asked.

If George W. Bush were still in office, there wouldn't have been this kind of effort to get Laura Bush to speak, said Darcy.

It was obvious, said Fincher, why Obama was being treated so well -- politics.

Obama had been invited because her politics matched those of most of the students at the university.

That was why she had been welcomed with such excitement, they concluded.

When their broadcast ended, they headed out to watch Obama give her speech, along with everyone else.

They didn't bring any protest signs.

Reporter Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at (209) 385-2484 or jlamb@mercedsun-star.com.