What Happened to Obama the Orator?

Empathy is absent from Obama speeches, writes Michael Gerson
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2010 8:13 AM CST
President Barack Obama leaves the podium after speaking in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010, about plans to thwart future terrorist attacks.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – The golden age of presidential oration President Obama's more fervent supporters predicted has completely failed to materialize, writes former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson. Obama's speechmaking—once seen as his greatest strength—has been so uninspired and unmemorable that it now seems like a major weakness, Gerson writes in the Washington Post.

Obama comes across as "academic and arrogant" on the rare occasions his speeches do hit the mark, Gerson complains. His greatest failures as a speechmaker have come at times of crisis, Gerson writes, particularly his "bureaucratic and bloodless" response to the Detroit terror incident. "With every speech, a realization grows: A president lacking in drama may also be lacking in inspiration."

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