Will Obama’s State of the Union spur action?

Speechwriting experts say the president’s first speech to Congress of his second term was deftly crafted and delivered, but that doesn’t mean it’ll bridge partisan chasms nor get meaningful legislation passed.

Speechwriters seem to agree that the speech was crafted with precision and delivered well, but just how effective was the president when it came to making inroads with the opposition? That’s not so clear.


Emerald Partners President Fraser Seitel says this year’s State of the Union was “an excellent speech,” pointing out its strong opening allusion to President John F. Kennedy, its clear thesis of elevating the middle class, its organized structure, and its strong conclusion with an emotional call for gun control.

The delivery was passionate as Obama used the bully pulpit of the presidency well, says executive speechwriter Ian Griffin, who graded the speech an A.

“As a speaker, he exuded confidence and a masterful control of cadence,” Griffin says. “The high point was the rounds of applause when he spoke on gun control. By listing all the families and individuals who ‘deserve a vote’ while speaking over the applause, he highlighted the strength of his determination to begin to address this issue in front of an assembly who are often held hostage by the influence of the NRA.”

Bob Lehrman, who was a speechwriter for former Vice President Al Gore, said the speech was “full of story and memorable lines.”

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