Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term as president of the United States on November the 7th 2012, by beating Mitt Romney despite dissatisfaction with the way he handled the economy. Before this particular outcome of the election, Obama made some remarks at a Campaign Event in Denver, Colorado. These remarks were among many other initiatives established by Obama to persuade the American people to vote for him. In order to reach this goal, he uses modes of appeal and rhetorical features, which I will clarify and shed light over in my rhetorical analysis of his speech by providing examples and explanations.
Obama begins his speech with Pathos to engage his audience and catch their attention, which he does with humour, when he tells about his 48-hour tour: “I can’t tell you who I’m voting for. (Laughter.) It’s a secret ballot. But Michelle says she ‘voted’ for me. (Applause.) That’s what she said (p1).” This is an example of pathos because he illustrates a grave matter with humour and affection. He illustrates a wife supporting her husband. Obama thus achieve to picture himself as “ordinary” on equal footing as his audience. The quote is also an example of ethos, because he creates a positive illustration of their marriage, and a married man with a successful family reflects credibility. By evoking this sentiment in his audience, Obama manage to engage his audience and making himself trustworthy.
He continues to use humour later on, when he talks about Obamacare and Romnesia: “If you feel any symptoms coming on (…) Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions. We can make you well. There’s a cure (p2).” The appeal to pathos is evident, because he makes the audience laugh at the expense of Romney. By appealing to this feeling, he achieves to discredit Romney and his ideas.
Besides humour he awakes an additional sentiment in his audience. The linguistic feature polyptoton helps Obama illustrate the American spirit as strong and unbreakable. We see this...
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