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A Cold Performance


The strange thing about this speech is how much better it reads than it sounds. Obama’s speeches are usually the other way around: as written they’re cringe-inducing piles of painfully meaningless platitudes, but Obama gives them passion and cadence and makes them sound great. This speech as written is pretty deft and intelligent; it’s serious and interesting and is about the most effective way available to him to deal with the Wright mess, though it’s still unsuccessful in the end. But as delivered it is amazingly bloodless and dull; part moral hectoring part awkward defensiveness.


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