Obama’s inaugural address: A reassuring “B”

Although there was no oratorical zinger, Obama’s address was perfectly delivered.

Although there was no oratorical zinger, Obama’s address was perfectly delivered

No question, President Barack Obama is as gifted a speaker as any of his 42 predecessors. And his inaugural address, therefore, was spirited, passionate, and perfectly delivered.

His clipped but pointed gestures, easy eye contact with the entire crowd, measured pacing and emphasis on just the right word—all stunning.

And his grade for his first speech as president? A solid “B.”

Not an “A” or even an “A-.” Rather, purely in terms of content, it was a practical, professional, businesslike “B.” And here’s why.


Unlike his election victory speech when Obama broke out of the box with one striking sentence that eloquently captured the historic moment, his inaugural address intro was standard, formulaic and flat.

Just as most others before him had uttered, he was “humbled” by the task, “grateful” for the trust, and “mindful” of the sacrifices others had made to see him to this point. All rather predictable.

Even worse, in next describing the environment in which he delivered his remarks, Obama—maybe the greatest speechmaker of our current time—resorted to some of the sorriest clichés of any time.

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