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Notes on Biden’s Speech

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April 28, 2021 11:02 p.m.

I didn’t have great expectations for tonight’s speech because political events seldom turn on speeches. Nor is speechifying Biden’s forte. He’s workmanlike, solid. But he’s no great orator. That’s Barak Obama.

But I saw an extraordinarily effective speech. Like so much with Biden he managed to find in the historical moment things that play to his strengths. I’ve been watching State of the Union addresses for forty-plus years and I have never seen one like this. Biden delivered it with a tremendous informality. Biden is no Obama when it comes to oratory. But Obama couldn’t have delivered this speech. It would not play to his skills which are heroic and oratorical rather than empathic and conversational.

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