President’s Tucson Speech Defuses Political Tension

By Andrew Ivey | Public Speaking

Jan 13

President Obama’s speech at the University of Arizona in Tucson had three aims:

  1. Commemorate the dead and wounded in the Tucson shooting at the weekend.
  2. Commend the bravery of bystanders and loyal aides.
  3. Defuse much of the tension arising from the near-fatal shooting of Congresswoman Gifford.

His speech achieved all three.

Despite his animated election campaign speeches, his Presidential demeanour is very often cerebral, serious and reserved. Only occasionally do we see the former passion of the campaign trail.

But on this grim occasion he hit all the right notes. His 33 minute speech did everything intended. He was solemn, serious and compassionate. His speech was uplifting, especially when he mentioned the heroism of Tucson bystanders.

He steered clear of too many rhetorical devices. There was effective use of repetition and some good referencing to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address with:

“Gabby called it “Congress on Your Corner,” just an updated version of government of and by and for the people.”

His speech made clear that people should restore and respect civility in their politics. He urged that people should not use the tragedy to turn on each other for political gain.

He noted that the tragedy does not signal a search for political culprits:

“But what we cannot do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other. That we cannot do.  That we cannot do.”

Whether his political colleagues can fulfill his expectations is still to be seen. Let’s hope so.

Yes, Please

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About the Author

The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK. Andrew Ivey on Google+

  • Bank Rates says:

    Great speech, but he should really be speaking about the death of the American economy.

  • I don’t think so. He’s the President and could easily get on TV whenever he wants. There are no shortage of people who would be willing to interview him. He could give a speech from the Oval Office whenever he wants for basically any reason and it would be broadcast by every network and cable news channel

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