25 January 2009

Memorable lines in President Obama's inaugural speech?


A lot of commentators have been complaining that President Obama’s inaugural address was a bit short on memorable phrases, and there’s a very interesting post on the subject at Podium Pundits by Clark Judge, a former Reagan speechwriter.

This got me thinking about two related questions: (1) were the most memorable lines from other presidential inaugural addresses noticed by the media there and then, and/or (2) does it take longer than that for a line to become memorable?

The preliminary findings from my initial surf of the internet suggest the answers may be (1) no, and (2) quite a while.

This is based on the surprising discovery that none of the famous quotations from President Kennedy’s inaugural address on 20 January 1961 made it into the headlines or front page reports of two leading American newspapers, the Washington Post and the New York Times.

If nothing else, this looks to be worth a bit more research and should serve as a warning to all the ‘expert’ commentators who don't think there were enough memorable lines in President Obama’s speech that they should perhaps think again and wait a while before drawing any such conclusion.

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