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How Well Has President Barack Obama Chosen from Among the Available Means of Persuasion?



This essay answers the question, “How well did President Obama choose from among the available means of persuasion in the early years of his presidency?” by probing the ways in which his pre-inaugural speech at the Lincoln Memorial blurred the rhetorical roles of nominee and president-elect; the absence of a digestive statement in his inaugural; the failure of his nationally telecast BP oil spill address to respond to the expectations created by his campaign rhetoric and by the speech itself; the ways in which the setting of his speech after the Tucson tragedy sabotaged an otherwise powerful speech; and the insurmountable challenges posed by the decision to address the nation as the DOW tumbled in the wake of the S and P downgrade.