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March 03, 2009


Chris Witt


Great job as usual analyzing a speech I wouldn't otherwise have come across.

Most of the time I want leaders to tell stories -- at least one -- in the speeches.

And yet some speeches seem better without them. This one by Barroso is one of them. I can't imagine how he would have worked in a story -- "There was a German shopkeeper who..." -- without making it sound hokey.

I'm also tiring of stories cropping up in state of the union addresses. Reagan started it. Every president after him felt obliged to follow his example. By the time Obama told a story in his speech last month, I was ready for it. And I didn't like it.

Maybe there's a certain style of speech -- a very formal, policy-driven speech might be one -- that doesn't call for a story. It certainly doesn't call for a joke.

What do you think?

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