Barack Obama inauguration: his worst speech

QUITE a day, but not much of speech unfortunately. Obama got where he is by speechifying, but this effort would not have won him many votes. It was his worst on a grand stage, though still better than most politicians could muster.

The delivery, as ever, was first class, but the message was wasn’t clear enough and the language not insufficiently inspiring.

By Alex Spillius
The Telegraph (UK)

As soon as the applause had died down, an African American standing man near me on the Mall said to his friend: “I thought the speech was shit.” Another woman said, correctly, that “we had heard it all before at other events”.

In a way Obama was a victim of his own success. Having given so many dynamic speeches he had set his own bar very high. What he tried to do at his inauguration was tell Americans that they had to sacrifice to make gains, while making them believe this was well within their capabilities. The emphasis on sacrifice was too weak however. 

To the disappointment of many black people in the crowd, he also made but one reference to the enormity of a black man occupying the White House for the first time. Obama has never laboured the issue of his race, but on this historic day the issue needed more.

Jon Favreau, his co-writer, recently admitted that he had been pouring over previous inaugural speeches. That might have been a bad idea. Obama seemed weighed down by the past, and failed to seize the moment.

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3 Responses to “Barack Obama inauguration: his worst speech”

  1. Erik Says:

    While I agree that the speech could have done a lot more, I really disagree with the idea that there should have been a stronger focus on race. That isn’t what he’s about and it isn’t what he’s been about the entire campaign and since his election. Its been his style to give a nod to his race and acknowledge the significance of his election and noting its place in the greater scheme of living in the US. This is what he did yesterday and I think it was the proper course.

  2. merihayden Says:

    The tone was always going to be different. In his campaign speeches, he was seeking office. But he is President now, he needs to do more than inspire with grand rhetoric. He knows he needs to reassure the country and prepare the people for the path ahead..besides, it’s only his first day.

  3. mogulmom Says:

    I beg to differ, Presiudent Obamas speech was truly inspiring (grant it I didn’t listen to many during campaign). Between the air high fives and the sobbing and smiles, I thought he eloquently delivered a speech that included the ‘world’ and purposely didn’t favour any ‘one’ colour, background or belief system.I’m a white canadian female and I finally feel that all is right with the world. I look forward to the future. Obama Rocks!

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