Part 1: Speech Critique
Studying the Rhetoric of Barack Obama
Barack Obama’s Address at the Associated Press Luncheon on April 3, 2012 covered a vast variation of topics that we will dissect throughout this paper. However, first and foremost, Obama’s initial speaking time lasted about 38 minutes. 38 minutes of articulated word choice, calculated arguments and style, and composed speaking presence is something every aspiring public speaker should be salivating at, not to mention be taking notes of. My first obligation of this paper is to commend President Obama on an absolutely breath-taking demonstration of public speaking. It’s recognized that President Obama is arguably one of the greatest speech giving Presidents ever, but after really dissecting this speech, his gift can’t be stressed enough. As far as composure, word and voice clarity, ability to emphasize critical points, and being able to demonstrate a message to his audience in attendance, and his target audience of the speech (two very different groups of people), President Obama delivered a wonderful speech. However, how do you keep an audience focused for nearly an hour? The content of President Obama’s speech is where all the important information lies, and is where I’ll examine what rhetorical tactics he used throughout. The content of President Obama’s speech is an entirely different aspect, one that is up to a clearly different interpretation by nearly every listener. In order to break down the content of Obama’s speech, we must look at his rhetorical concepts incorporated within the speech. The most obvious rhetorical device Obama used throughout the entire 59 minutes of his address was his use of pathos, and his appeal to the emotions of people who are directly affected by the issues of this country. Obama’s main areas of concern in this speech were: Jobs (creation and development), the middle-class (correlated with jobs), and tax-cuts / the national budget (also correlates with...
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