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January 11, 2008


John Windsor

Excellent post, Garr, and Obama's speech is indeed impressive.

The NY Times raises an interesting counter-point. Hillary Clinton has been showing a more emotional, "human" side in her interactions with voters, and that was said to be a big factor in her win in New Hampshire. According to today's article, her campaign will now be featuring this "speaking from the heart" approach. And in a battle of speaking to the head versus speaking to the heart, the emotional appeal usually wins. It will be fascinating to see how this all plays out.

Here's a link to the article:


John Watkis

Hi Garr,

I don't think we have to wait before proclaiming Obama's "concession speech" as one for the ages. It will definitely be added to the list of "speeches for the ages". His use of anaphora (repetition of a word or phrase to begin a sentence or section of speech) wasn't limited to "yes we can". If you listen closely, he uses the technique in all of his speeches.

The link you gave to the "I have a dream" speech doesn't show the complete speech. You can watch the entire speech at this link:


Contrary to popular belief, "I have a dream" was not the theme of his speech. The theme was "freedom". He only repeated "I have a dream" near the end of his speech. But the words "freedom" and "liberty" were repeated from beginning to end.

You mentioned that repetition is key in design. I would be interested in hearing more about that.

Keep up the great work.

John Watkis

Kyle Adams

I sang in a gospel choir in college; his speech reminds me of the lyrics and phrasing from many of those songs. I wonder if the reason that he seemed to channel MLK is that they are both familiar with African-American spiritual traditions. Repetition (Amen! Amen! Hallelujah!) plays a big role in both the songs and sermons.


Ah Fred, politics gives us a platform for saying how important communications is in victory and defeat.
Great post Garr. See more on Obama and the other victory/concession speeches here (if you want)
Now we just have to see some visual support from our politicians - as in the Ross Perot days.

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