Word Up
My initial reaction to President Obama’s first primetime press conference last night was, wow, that was a lot of words. As a former professor, I am hesitant to use the word professorial to describe Obama’s performance, but I am sure some other political observers will employ that particular adjective.
In recent years, I have gotten into the habit of multitasking during these kinds of televised presidential events. With President Bush, you pretty much knew what he was going to say, and it often took him a long time to say it. Watching last night’s event, however, I was actually somewhat fearful that entire paragraphs might fly by unprocessed should I attempt to divide my attention with other matters. It also occurred to me that Obama probably surpassed Bush’s average word count for an entire press conference within the first 15 minutes last night.
All of this is not to say that more is necessarily better. We are all familiar with the cliché of the liberal intellectual who tends to talk issues to death. And I know that some conservatives appreciated President Bush’s directness and parsimony with words, the entertaining malapropisms not withstanding. But last night Obama seemed to make good use of his bully pulpit (I must admit to being a little tired of this phrase). Coming sandwiched between public events in Indiana and Florida, it was an important part of his attempt to make a clearer case for the stimulus package.

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