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Worst Speech

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Obama: Victory Speech, 2004 Senate Race
Even an inspirational speaker like Obama delivers the occasional clunker. His November 2, 2004, U.S. Senate victory speech was exceptionally bad: Obama came out to address a crowd of 2,000 ecstatic followers at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Chicago and began delivering a litany of the thank-yous that normally come at the end of a speech because, well, they’re boring. They were so boring, in fact, that a number of local and national TV stations cut away. "He blew it, he blew it. Forget the vid," said Fox News’ vice-president of production Bill Shine, watching the speech from the Fox control room, as recounted in the trade magazine Broadcasting & Cable. And the rest of the speech wasn’t much better. He had been on the campaign every day for three weeks, and he was fatigued, and he didn’t really prepare, says David Mendell, Chicago Tribune reporter and author of Obama: From Promise to Power. He had won the race so he didn’t really care.

Romney: 30 Minutes of "RomneyCare Is Not ObamaCare"
Even before he'd announced he was running for the presidency, Romney was already well aware that MassCare, the health-care overhaul he'd implemented in Massachusetts as governor, was going to be a problem. It was just too damn similar to ObamaCare. So in mid-May, at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center, Romney did his very best to differentiate his health-care legacy from the president's, and did it over 30 minutes with PowerPoint slides (never a good sign for a politician, or anyone else giving a speech). "Essentially, Romney spent the entire time twisting himself in knots trying to make the differentiations," says Bridgewater University communications professor Jason Edwards, "which doesn't work for a lot of conservatives. And because of that rhetorical performance and the fact that he passed his own version of the mandate in Massachusetts, a lot of conservatives can't support him." What Romney's "differentiations" all boiled down to was this one sentence from his speech: "Our plan was a state solution to a state problem and his is a power grab by the federal government to put in place a one-size-fits-all plan across the nation." But that hasn't made RomneyCare, or Romney for that matter, any less unpopular with much of the Republican base. According to the National Review, which endorsed Romney in 2008, "in making the argument against ObamaCare and for his own approach, the two halves of the speech canceled each other out."


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