President Obama's tendency to sputter a bit and drop in "uhs" during his speeches has some critics arguing that he's inarticulate. Not so, writes Meghan Daum in the Los Angeles Times. "It's not that Obama can't speak clearly. It's that he employs the intellectual stammer." This tic, common among professors and "characters in Woody Allen movies," suggests "a brain that is moving so fast that the mouth can't keep up," writes Daum.
Some people find it endearing, others annoying. Obama's problem with the latter camp is that he "isn't able to bury his ideas behind a folksy regional accent or good-old-boy affectations when he wants to," writes Daum. (Think Bill Clinton.) "By speaking as though he hails from everywhere, he ends up being from nowhere. The result is that people look at him and see not a Hawaiian or a Chicagoan or even a black man, but a university man." That his speeches tend to sound like "philosophy lectures" as a result might be irritating, but the word "inarticulate" does not apply.