Obama's 'I's' have it.

Phil Boehmke
President Obama took time out of his busy schedule to make a speech Friday in Elyria, Ohio. The folks who were in attendance at Lorain County Community College were treated to an amazing address by America's greatest orator. The crowd was delighted to hear how despite taking office "in the middle of a raging economic storm" created by the previous administration and the banks, he was able to "pull our economy back from the brink".

No doubt many in the crowd tingled with excitement as the handsome young hero regaled then with his exploits in the battle for social justice against the evil insurance companies, banks and obstructionist partisans. Still others (mostly in the press pool) marveled at his perfectly creased trousers.

For a speech that wasn't about him, the future former President seemed to make constant reference to himself. By my count Mr. Obama used the word "I" 57 times. That seemed like a lot to me, but 57 out of approximately 1700 words may not be that much. As it turns out it's only about 3.3% which isn't excessive at all, is it?

Just for the sake of comparison I thought a quick look at some of our greatest presidents most famous speeches would be interesting.

Thomas Jefferson used "I" 30 times in his first and second inaugural addresses combined, which totaled approximately 1800 words. 30 out of 1800 is 1.66% or roughly half of Obama's percentage.

Abraham Lincoln used "I" 51 times in his first and second inaugural addresses plus the Cooper Union and Gettysburg Addresses combined, which totaled some 5900 words. That works out to a miniscule .86% for one of our most humble presidents.

Turning to more contemporary times and the original "great communicator" Ronald Reagan. In his first inaugural address President Reagan used "I" 22 times in roughly 2500 words, or .88%. In arguably his most famous speech "A Time For Choosing" (sometimes referred to as A Rendezvous With History) delivered in 1964 in support of Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan used "I" 36 times during the approximately 5300 word address, for a scant .68%.

Of course we should not judge a speech by the number of times the speaker says "I", content is the most important thing. Let us pause to reflect upon our future former President's most moving lines.

I'll never stop fighting to open up government. That's why we put in place the toughest ethics laws and toughest transparency rules of any administration in history.

Unfortunately not all of us had the opportunity to see Mr. Obama's speech, was it on C-SPAN?
President Obama took time out of his busy schedule to make a speech Friday in Elyria, Ohio. The folks who were in attendance at Lorain County Community College were treated to an amazing address by America's greatest orator. The crowd was delighted to hear how despite taking office "in the middle of a raging economic storm" created by the previous administration and the banks, he was able to "pull our economy back from the brink".

No doubt many in the crowd tingled with excitement as the handsome young hero regaled then with his exploits in the battle for social justice against the evil insurance companies, banks and obstructionist partisans. Still others (mostly in the press pool) marveled at his perfectly creased trousers.

For a speech that wasn't about him, the future former President seemed to make constant reference to himself. By my count Mr. Obama used the word "I" 57 times. That seemed like a lot to me, but 57 out of approximately 1700 words may not be that much. As it turns out it's only about 3.3% which isn't excessive at all, is it?

Just for the sake of comparison I thought a quick look at some of our greatest presidents most famous speeches would be interesting.

Thomas Jefferson used "I" 30 times in his first and second inaugural addresses combined, which totaled approximately 1800 words. 30 out of 1800 is 1.66% or roughly half of Obama's percentage.

Abraham Lincoln used "I" 51 times in his first and second inaugural addresses plus the Cooper Union and Gettysburg Addresses combined, which totaled some 5900 words. That works out to a miniscule .86% for one of our most humble presidents.

Turning to more contemporary times and the original "great communicator" Ronald Reagan. In his first inaugural address President Reagan used "I" 22 times in roughly 2500 words, or .88%. In arguably his most famous speech "A Time For Choosing" (sometimes referred to as A Rendezvous With History) delivered in 1964 in support of Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan used "I" 36 times during the approximately 5300 word address, for a scant .68%.

Of course we should not judge a speech by the number of times the speaker says "I", content is the most important thing. Let us pause to reflect upon our future former President's most moving lines.

I'll never stop fighting to open up government. That's why we put in place the toughest ethics laws and toughest transparency rules of any administration in history.

Unfortunately not all of us had the opportunity to see Mr. Obama's speech, was it on C-SPAN?