Posted by: Ian Ross | January 6, 2008

Obama’s Key Messages Are Crystal Clear

Barack Obama’s speechwriters continue to impress me. His recent 13-minute Iowa primary victory speech was a masterpiece. The potential US presidential candidate returned over and over again to his key messages of hope, change and unity without appearing stale.

Pulling the words off the teleprompter, Obama used repetition, stories and some catchy lines to energize the Iowa crowd and millions of viewers across the US. He’s used many of the best lines before, but they seemed to mean more after a stunning 38 per cent vote in a tough three-way race with John Edwards (30 per cent) and Hilary Clinton (29 per cent). Two of my favourites lines are:

  • “We are not red states and blue states. We are the United States of America.”
  • “We are choosing hope over fear. We’re chosing unity over division, and sending a powerful message that change is coming…”


Although Obama is a good speaker, he isn’t the next Martin Luther King. I’ve heard this comparison several times when discussing Obama’s language and delivery. A big difference is that the late civil rights leader wrote his own motivating speeches. It is my understanding that Obama is more focused on other things (like policy and leadership). And he’s turning to public relations experts to ensure his messages resonate with the public. That’s good news for him because he’s going to need sharp PR advisers to survive the long road ahead to the White House.

The Obama PR strategists are also using social media to reach out to voters. Here is the Iowa speech posted on YouTube:


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