Just How Long Obama's Farewell Speech Ran Compared to Predecessors Speaks Volumes About His Presidency
You can take the man out of Chicago, but you can't take the Chicago out of the man. President Barack Hussein Obama was born with the gift of gab, and he showcased his strongest attribute in a stemwinder of a presidential farewell speech.
Some attendees reportedly paid thousands for free tickets to come and see the man whose speeches rank amongst the likes of Cicero's and Churchill. His memorable turns of phrases over the course of his presidency are too many to count... so, we will dispense with all need to actually recall them.
The president with a propensity for verbosity spoke for over fifty minutes Tuesday night.
Obama is a grandiloquent speaker, but witnessing him give a speech is like watching a two-and-half hour film that could have been chopped to an hour-and-a-half in edits. His Chicago speech was The Revenant of presidential farewell speeches. It shared similar qualities with Lincoln; the film, not the presidency.
So, just how does President Obama stack up to his recent predecessors?
Just like you'd think: Over twice as long as his nearest rival—Ronald Reagan. The Washington Examiner tracked it down to the second:
Clinton spoke for 7 minutes, 25 seconds; Reagan spoke for 20 minutes, 42 seconds; and George W. Bush spoke for 13 minutes, 7 seconds. Obama spoke for 51 minutes, 10 seconds, nearly 10 minutes longer that the other three put together.
Obama also broke from the tradition of delivering his final speech from the White House. Clinton and Reagan both spoke from the Oval Office, and George W. Bush spoke in front of a small audience in the White House East Room; the Obama administration distributed public tickets for his speech at the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago.
The Washington Examiner also showed what that looks like with a handy graph:
What does this say about President Obama? Just leveraging his strongest asset, his gift of oration? Or a craving for public appreciation?
Similar to his recent letter to the American people arguing his achievements in office, the president devoted time attempting to persuade his doubters that his tenure was not all-that-bad.
On terrorism, he touted his administration's track record of preventing foreign terror attacks, despite having allowed numerous attacks from residents swearing loyalty to ISIS and other jihadist outfits.
Although more people were dissatisfied during his administration than under any other's since the latter half of George H.W. Bush's tenure, he touted his gains:
One wonders if at least part of this number reflects Americans choosing to remember the good that took place under his presidency—or at least, they are grateful to have survived it.