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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.”

McCain: Victory Speech, January 8, 2008, New Hampshire Primary
McCain has often been chided for his wooden delivery, but this victory earned special (negative) notice. On MSNBC, commentators laughed as they watched the Arizona senator fumble over words that were intended to be heartfelt. In Slate, John Dickerson said he showed “no visible emotion.” Newsweek’s HowardFineman offered that it “looked like every advisor that he ever had had given him one sentence … and he read them all.” Tom Brokaw relayed an e-mail that said: "I’ll bet McCain’s victory speech led his supporters into deep regret and the owners of NyQuil into despair." Reading from his notes and failing to make eye contact, McCain drew pundits’ attention away from his win. “Well,” said KeithOlbermann. “At least nobody here tonight can be accused of kicking this man when he was down.”


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