The Rhetoric of Obama


He was swept to power on a wave of optimism and a flourish of phrases chosen for their evocative power. Barack Obama has been called one of the most artfully rhetorical speakers in recent American political history. But plainly speaking his record disappoints many and his presidential rival is using his words against him. As he prepares to address the Democratic National convention tonight, we have a posse of political pros ready to dissect the potential of political prose.

The Rhetoric of Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama won the White House with powerful words of hope and change but not everyone is convinced he delivered. Tonight, the President addresses the Democratic National convention in what may be the most important speech of his career. But after four years, some pundits wonder if the voltage has drained from Mr. Obama's prose.

To look at the role of political rhetoric in the race for the White House, we were joined by three guests.

Josh Gilder was the senior speech writer for former Republican President Ronald Reagan. He helped craft two of the Gipper's State of the Union addresses and is the Senior Director of the White House Writers Group. Josh Gilder is in Washington.

Erica Seifert is Democratic Political Consultant and pollster and the author of The Politics of Authenticity in Presidential Campaigns. She is also in Washington.

And Sam Leith is the author of the new book Words Like Loaded Pistols: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama. He is in London, England.

This segment was produced by The Current's Shannon Higgins and Howard Goldenthal.

Other segments from today's show:

Dissecting the Quebec PQ Rally Shooting

Becoming Victoria: Argentina's Dirty War

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