Friday, June 5, 2009

How To Write An Obama Speech - 13 easy steps

from The Daily Beast
by Benjamin Sarlin
June 5, 2009

How does Obama keep up his hot streak of speeches? The Daily Beast analyzed his most famous speeches to crack the code behind the president's rhetoric. Our step-by-step guide for turning even the most divisive debates into an inspiring call for unity.

President Obama has faced his share of tough issues and audiences over the years, but at every turn he's managed to defuse tension with a well-timed speech. Already he's receiving rave reviews for this morning's address in Cairo, Egypt, on America's relationship with the Muslim world. But how does he do it? We analyzed Obama's most famous speeches to bring you this handy instruction manual.

Step 1. Thanks for having me.

Cairo: "I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning, and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt's advancement." (Egypt)
2004 DNC: "On behalf of the great state of Illinois, crossroads of a nation, land of Lincoln, let me express my deep gratitude for the privilege of expressing this convention." (Democratic National Convention, 7/27/04)

Notre Dame: "To Father Hesburgh, to Notre Dame trustees, to faculty, to family: I am honored to be here today. And I am grateful to all of you for allowing me to be a part of your graduation." (Notre Dame commencement, 5/17/09)

2. Express shock that someone with your life story could ever stand before such a crowd…

Cairo: "Much has been made of the fact that an African-American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected president."

2004 DNC: "Tonight is a particular honor for me because, let's face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely. My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin-roof shack."

Philadelphia Race Speech: "[My] story hasn't made me the most conventional of candidates..." (“A More Perfect Union,” 3/18/08)

3. ...But that's just America for you.

Cairo: "But my personal story is not so unique. The dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise exists for all who come to our shores—that includes nearly seven million American Muslims in our country today who enjoy incomes and education that are higher than average."

2004 DNC: "I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that in no other country on earth is my story even possible."

Race Speech: "I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on earth is my story even possible."

4. Pause for audience interruption.

Protester at Notre Dame speech: "Abortion is murder!"

Soldier in Iraq: "We love you!" (Iraq Speech 4/7/09, many others)

5. Have gracious comeback ready.

Notre Dame: "That's all right....We're not going to shy away from things that are uncomfortable sometimes."

Iraq: "I love you back!" (Iraq speech 4/7/09, many others)

6. Pay homage to Founding Fathers and/or quote the Declaration of Independence.

Cairo: "We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal, and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words—within our borders, and around the world."

Race Speech: "'We the people, in order to form a more perfect union ...'—221 years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy."

National Security Speech: "My own American journey was paved by generations of citizens who gave meaning to those simple words—'to form a more perfect union.' I've studied the Constitution as a student, I've taught it as a teacher, I've been bound by it as a lawyer and a legislator." (National Security speech, 5/21/09)

2004 DNC: "Our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over 200 years ago: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...'"

7. Express regret at America’s failures to live up to its founding principles.

Cairo: "9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals.”

National Security Speech: "Instead of strategically applying our power and our principles, too often we set those principles aside as luxuries that we could no longer afford."

Race Speech: "The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery..."

2004 DNC: "This year, in this election, we are called to reaffirm our values and our commitments, to hold them against a hard reality and see how we are measuring up...I say to you, tonight, we have more work to do."

Click to read the rest of the article and the comments

No comments:

Post a Comment