Presidential elections, whatever country they take place in, are always described as a spectacular event. Besides the electoral campaign, politically literate speech contributes a lot to the success of the race and the candidate’s person itself. Down below, the speech of Bill Clinton to the Democratic national Convention will be discussed. The structure of the speech, its goal and historical background will be described; the main strategies used by the speaker to get into contact with the audience will be analyzed. Besides, the success of the speech will be evaluated.
When listening to Bill Clinton’s speech, one may take it as an example of a brilliant elocution, so adjusted and both simple it sounds. This speech was delivered during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2012, where delegates of the Democratic Party chose their nominees for President and Vice President, and Barack Obama was re-elected as the President (en.wikipedia.org). Among the speakers, there were many high-rank officials such as governors, mayors and senators from both Democratic and Republican parties, as well as representatives for congressional districts, actors and common people (e.g. housewives, firemen, veterans, etc). Moreover, journalists and guests were present.
The varied composition of the audience was the main reason for the speech to be built so that it could meet its wishes and needs. This issue referred both to the primary audience consisting of the officials and mass media representatives, and the secondary audience. When having a closer look at the speech, it becomes clear that its structure is meticulously balanced. Introduction is built as a preparation of the audience to meeting a new leader. It starts with greetings and pointing the aim of the Convention. It also gives an idea of what kind of person the nominee is by describing Obama’s personal features and qualities together with his achievements as a politician, but without naming his directly. Then there are explanations why Clinton himself thinks Obama needs to be re-elected as the President.
After that, there goes the body of the speech. Its primary goal is to show why and what for this nominee should be re-elected, to present him as the best possible candidate. It starts with pros and cons of Obama as the President. First, Bill Clinton speaks of the Republicans who oppose Obama. When speaking about the opponents, he skillfully balances between both slight critics and irony on the one hand, and showing understanding and respect on the other. When comparing Democrats with Republicans, Clinton speaks in favor of the former and clearly demonstrates the inexpediency of the latter’s approach, however, avoiding blaming them directly. From the opposition, he gently comes to the idea of the necessity of collaboration of the two parties as a guarantee of prosperity and welfare of the country. As a chance of further development in this direction, re-election of Barack Obama as the President is meant.
In the following part of the speech, Clinton reasons in favor of re-electing Obama; mostly, this part of his speech consists of the dialogue with the audience. Also, the achievements of Obama when holding the post of the President are highlighted, as well as the vitally important changes in politics and society. By alternately comparing the actions of Republicans and Democrats, Clinton leads to the idea of the positive influence of the latter and of the necessity of re-electing Obama as their representative.
In the final part of his speech, Bill Clinton persuades that, if Americans want welfare and confidence in future, they need to elect Obama.
Bill Clinton’s speech was very effective, what could be seen from how the audience supported him. There were several strategies he used to make it so. When listening to such a speech, everyone wants to think that the speaker addresses to him or her personally. Clinton often used such pronouns as “we” and “us”, and such form of address as “My fellow Americans”, which brought the sense of union (youtube.com). That was what made his speech more favorable for the listeners, and open, as if he addressed to all the people together and personally.
Another strategy was that Clinton mentioned both needs of the state and the nation. He did not speak about only what was necessary for the ruling groups of America; he also highlighted the essential needs of its people making feel both country and the nation inseparable. For example, “The president and his education secretary have supported community colleges in working together to train people for jobs”; “He (Obama) has laid the foundation for a successful economy of shared prosperity. And if you will renew the president’s contract, you will feel it” (youtube.com). In this way he met the expectations of both the politicians and common Americans.
Moreover, he took into account various ranks of society when speaking about the needs of the common Americans, e.g. using such phrases as “I am proud of what they did”, “I appreciate their work” or “Our brave veterans” (youtube.com). These phrases created the sense of unity and the speaker’s involvement into the lives of the people. With all these strategies, Clinton as a speaker succeeded in making his speech acceptable for both politicians and common people.
On the whole, the speech Bill Clinton made at the Democratic Convention succeeded and reached its goal. It was delivered to persuade the people to believe that it was Barack Obama who had to be re-elected as the President, as well as to assure them that the policy of the Democratic Party still remains the best for America and can guarantee a stable future to it. Counting on the fact that Barack Obama was re-elected after all, it is obvious that Clinton’s speech, due to its professionally built structure and content, due to the strategies he used to attract the audience, did achieve its goal.
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