Speak Easy
04-01-2008
Here is an interesting follow-up to yesterday’s post on the Obama campaign’s increased focus on retail politics in Pennsylvania. A piece in today’s New York Times reports that the change in strategy evidently extends to Barack Obama’s soaring oratory, as well. The Obama campaign is hoping that the candidate can make a more direct cultural connection with blue-collar Democratic voters in the state, by providing more plain-spoken policy detail and less broad conceptual rhetoric on the stump.
 
I will be curious to see the extent to which this revamped oratorical style spills over into Obama’s campaigning in places like Indiana and North Carolina, and whether it becomes a more visible stylistic element of his campaign speeches in the general election, should he become the Democratic nominee. There is a long tradition in politics of candidates adapting their stump speeches to fit the cultural mannerisms of particular audiences.  Bill Clinton certainly had a talent for this as a candidate, and we'll soon see whether the technique works for Senator Obama, as well.


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