The brutal presidential election season ended with two fine speeches by the candidates. Many observers called Mitt Romney’s speech “gracious,” and if it’s true he had prepared only one speech on Tuesday—a victory speech—he did well pulling together a concession speech at the last minute.
President Obama did many things right in his victory speech, but I noticed how a few fine points made the speech more powerful than it would have been without them. As you watch the video, notice these moments:
- Calling attention to long voting lines. The president showed respect for the people who waited for hours to vote by not dismissing them with one line. By adding “By the way, we have to fix that,” he showed an understanding that the situation was a serious problem.
- Mentioning Romney’s father. George Romney was very important to his son, so it was touching that Obama talked about the family legacy.
- Repeating the “Best” campaign team. Every candidate is expected to laud the staffers and volunteers, and it can become a throwaway line. Obama gave it greater weight by repeating “The best … The best ever” while the crowd cheered.
- Painting a picture of the volunteers. Listeners could envision the field organizer working his way through college, the volunteer going door to door and the military spouse working phone lines late at night.
- Emphasizing “United.” One of the president’s final lines was well-written: “We remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.” By stressing the word “United,” he made the line even greater.
What did you think of the candidates’ speeches following the election?