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« Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 516 -- Texas, California, & Domestic Migration. | WILLisms.com | Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 169. »

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 517 -- Obama Less Changey & Less Hopey Than Most Presidents.

Taft The Most Changey & Hopey-

The Economist points out that Obama's inaugural address was filled with less change and hope than the median inaugural speech:

BARACK OBAMA is fond of hope and change. By one tally, he said “hope” nearly 450 times in speeches delivered on the campaign trail. (By contrast, his rival John McCain only used the word 175 times.) “Change”, too, was a campaign buzzword. In his inaugural speech Mr Obama made three mentions of hope and only one of change (plus a “changed”). He mentioned America seven times, followed by “work” and “common” (six times each).

While hope has found a place in each of the 26 inaugural addresses, change is used more sparingly. Seven inaugural speeches did not contain the word; six more made use of it just once. Presidents coming to office during economic booms, such as Calvin Coolidge and Warren Harding in the 1920s, Dwight Eisenhower and then George Bush junior, have been heavier users of hope than those who were inaugurated during leaner times.

Maybe the lack of hope and change in the speech was intentional. Maybe President Obama was attempting to downplay expectations. Maybe he was trying not to appear too optimistic or happy when times are so bad (although not NEARLY as bad as people are making it out to be). Who knows what he was going for in his inaugural speech. One thing is certain: it was the worst inaugural speech of my lifetime, going back to Ronald Wilson Reagan, both in content and delivery. The delivery was also easily in the bottom quintile of speeches Obama has given in his public life.

While the new President is clearly attempting to distance himself from the triteness that "hope" and "change" became on the campaign trail, let's hope that Obama and those around him don't spend all of their time subtly complaining about how terrible things are to the point of sapping America's optimism and amplifying our current economic recession into an actual generational crisis.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Leads, California Now Lags.

Posted by Will Franklin · 21 January 2009 11:00 AM


Wow! You are back! Nice chart!

Posted by: ZsaZsa at January 21, 2009 11:06 AM

Who'd a thunk it? The biggest inaugural Changeling is Bill Clinton, only slightly exceeding Taft, who is the inaugural Hope Diamond. Too bad Mr. Bill didn't say "hope" too often, since he once lived in Hope, Arkansas.

Posted by: Bigfoot at January 21, 2009 02:05 PM