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June 16, 2010


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Henry Posner

"The President spoke in the same way that every other President has..."

I recall Jimmy Carter attempting to revive FDR's fireside chats by making a televised speech in front of a fireside, possibly sitting in a rocking chair and definitely wearing a cardigan sweater.
- Henry Posner

Jake LaCaze

I agree, David. Politics aside and speaking from a marketing and PR standpoint, Obama does look more confident and "in charge' when standing. Sitting seems so awkward and out of place. Also, because he was sitting, his hand motions were more distracting. But it wasn't as if he could put them under that table or grab the sides of a podium.

His campaign showed me that half of being a leader is looking like a leader.


I totally agree David! I feel like the President is forgetting why he won the office in the first place. He captivated the country by NOT being like every other president before him. Great observations

David Meerman Scott

Henry - Yeah, Carter and his cardigans were classic of his style.

Jake and Andy - thanks for jumping in. Yes, he looked more like a leader to me when he was running than he does as President.

Edwin Dearborn

While I see your point clearly, I feel that the President's message has a deeper problem: softening the fears that he can actually bring change, his original marketing message.

Elections are a fun marketing experience, and even Sergio Zyman in his book, "The End of Marketing As We Know It" commented that what wins elections is a direct indication of how the voters feel.

The President has come off point of what got him there.


Very insightful! I felt like I was watching just another in a long series of presidential speeches that were necessary, but not differentiated. Breaking the mold for the format might have helped.

Doug Brockway

Maybe start behind the desk, delivering facts, talk about some options, as the talk moves to what must happen and how that will occur stand up, walk to the side of the desk, move to sit on the edge of it,... SOMEthing....

Tim Washer

Indeed, he should have stood up, but in some emergency response center on the Gulf Coast. In the middle of the action, instead of far away in Washington.

But the verbal needed work too. The militaristic language seemed out of place ("battle plan")... was it to create a common enemy? BP doesn't need help with that.

President Obama is such a gifted speaker. But his performance last night really missed the mark.

Henry Posner

Doug has a good point. I recall vividly in '68, Walter Cronkite devoting quite a bit of an entire news broadcast to how badly we were handling things in Viet Nam. He spent time out from behind his desk with the 1960's version of PowerPoint. His conclusion was, "we are mired in stalemate." After watching Cronkite's broadcast, LBJ was quoted as saying. "That's it. If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America." Effective to a fault.

Many say Cronkite's presentation was instrumental in turning Mr & Mrs Middle America away from blindly supporting our policies.


Thanks David...

Politics aside, I think it is often a no win situation for any president. Half the people prefer him standing and appearing more in charge while the other have want him in touch with regular folks.

Speaking while standing has its advantages; but sometimes it makes people seem "Better than"

Reminds me of an oldie but a goodie - You can please some of the people some of the time - you can please all of the people some of the time - but you can't please all of the people all of the time.

Thanks for the post...

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