|If there is anyone out there who still doubts
that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders
if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the
power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
||Rousing first paragraph, referencing America
(a power word
in the USA) and the American Dream. ('dream' also echoes
Martin Luther King's speech).
Anchoring it across time: the past with 'our founders', the general
present 'our time' and immediate present 'tonight'.
'Tonight' is a
recurring theme, he goes off on a topic then returns to 'tonight',
bringing it back to the people there and all those watching.
'Answer', beginning next triple and giving
closure of solution.
|Its the answer told by lines that stretched
around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by
people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time
in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different;
that their voice could be that difference.
||'Answer' again: implying promise that Obama
will solve problems.
Referencing schools and churches: 'good' places from which good
feelings can be borrowed.
Momentous change, excitement of new times: 'lines that stretched...',
'numbers...never seen', 'first time in their lives', 'different'.
Final word: Difference - echoing theme of change.
|Its the answer spoken by young and old, rich
and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native
American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a
message to the world that we have never been just a collection of
individuals or just a collection of Red States
and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.
||Third 'answer' of triple.
reference to diverse segments.
Then bringing them together as 'Americans', in 'red and blue states'.
Final words: USA - evoking feel-good patriotism.
|It's the answer that led those who have been
told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of
what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it
once more toward the hope of a better day.
||Extended triple - fourth 'answer' - hammering
Beginning the bad stuff: cynical/fearful.
More momentous change: 'hands on the arc of history'.
Final words: 'better day', evoking feel-good and hope (and healing the
|It's been a long time coming, but tonight,
because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining
moment, change has come to America.
||Time again, anchoring into now.
Final word: America (patriotic)
|A little bit earlier this evening I just received a very gracious call from
Senator McCain. Senator McCain fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought
even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices
for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off
for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate
him, I congratulate Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to
working with them to renew this nations promise in the months ahead.
||Showing magnanimity in victory. Praising the
defeated, not ignoring or trampling on him. Thus showing signs of being a
Interestingly, praising the competitor before friends.
Final words 'months ahead' - looking to the future.
|I want to thank my partner in this journey, a
man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew
up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to
Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.
||Starting a sequence of thanks.
VP as an ordinary man. Saying 'we're just like you' to connect with the
Creating tension by not naming the person until the end.
|I would not be standing here tonight without
the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the
rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady,
Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both more than you can imagine, and you have
earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while
she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the
family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight. I know that my debt
to them is beyond measure. To my sister Maya and sister Alma and all my
other brothers and sisters. Thank you so much for all the support you have
given me. I am grateful tonight.
||Thanking the family.
Showing himself as an
normal family man (just like you).
Feel-good puppy factor.
Mentioning the grandmother who just died but without being maudlin, and
thus evoking sympathy.
Final words: 'grateful tonight'. Showing humility.
|To my campaign manager David Plouffe, the
unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best political campaign, I
think, in the history of United States of America. To my chief strategist, David Axelrod,
who's been a partner to me every step of the way. to the best campaign team ever assembled
in the history of politics - you made this happen, and I am forever
grateful for what you sacrificed to get it done.
||Thanking the team.
with prescience of paragraphs to come.
Final words: 'get it done'. A man of action.
|But above all, I will never forget who this
victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you. It belongs to you. I was never the likeliest
candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many
endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it
began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and
the front porches of Charleston.
||'Belongs to you', repeated. Bringing the
Instead of going to them, Obama is now bringing them to him, showing
how they have been his campaign managers (and so must continue to support
Alliteration: Hatched in halls' and 'Began in backyards'.
Final words: 'porches of Charleston'. Connecting everywhere with the
president. Creating a vector.
|It was built by working men and women who dug
into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and
twenty dollars to the cause. It grew strength from the young people who
rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and
their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; It drew
strength from the
not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock
on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who
volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later,
a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not
perished from the Earth. This is your victory.
Showing how great things
come from small actions and hence encouraging future mass contribution.
Evidence of change: Visceral painting of a new generation of activists,
along with an awoken older generation, supporting the cause through thick
Triple: volunteered, organized, proved.
Triple: of/by/for people - evoking Gettysberg address, connecting with
the past and the American way.
'perished from the Earth' - powerful evocation.
Final words: 'your victory'. Feel-good, but also chaining them. Your
victory today is your responsibility tomorrow.
|I know you didn't do this just to win an
election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you
understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we
celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the
greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst
financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know
there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the
mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and
fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how
they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctors bills, or save enough for
their child's college education. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new
schools to build and threats to meet, alliances to repair.
||Now getting to the tough stuff (and showing
leadership by not shying away).
'task that lies ahead' initially vague
Alliteration linking 'celebrate' with 'challenge.'
Then becoming more specific with triple of wars, planet and financial
Linking emotion of feelgood tonight with 'brave Americans', connecting
audience with pride and war.
Showing the common touch, highlighting financial crisis with concern
for family financial issues.
Little illustration of environmental issue. Is this of lower priority?
Triple on hope: new energy/jobs/schools.
Final words: 'alliances to repair'. Signalling sea change in foreign
|The road ahead will be long. Our climb will
be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America -
I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I
promise you - we as a people will get there.
||'Road' metaphor provides visual platform.
Triple: road/climb/get there
'But' refutes the difficulty with 'America' god word, then sliding into
hope and anchoring it into 'tonight' here and now.
Making an inclusive promise, making a commitment for everyone.
Final words: 'we as a people will get there', showing inclusive
|There will be setbacks and false starts.
There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as
President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I
will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen
to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in
the work of remaking this nation the only way its been done in America for
two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick,
calloused hand by calloused hand.
||'false starts' - echoes road metaphor.
Hidden triple about problems: setbacks, won't agree, can't solve.
Hinting at unpopular decisions that Obama may have to make, then
linking it to honesty and listening. Building the picture of integrity in
Inclusion again: involving the people in the change.
Final words: 'calloused hand by calloused hand'. Calling on history and
casing the working person as hero.
|What began twenty-one months ago in the
depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is
not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change.
And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot
happen without you. Without a new spirit of service. Without a new spirit
||Anchoring dynamic in the past and projecting
it past tonight, through feelgood victory to substantive change.
Including the people again. Hammering home 'it's your job too', but making
it a glorious endeavor.
Final words: 'a new spirit of sacrifice'. Offering glory and being part
of something great in return for personal effort and privation.
|So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism;
of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and
work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us
remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we
cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this
country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.
||Clarifying the deal: work hard and feel good.
Embrace the ideal of the collective.
Recognition of a recent concern and
highlighting inequality in Wall Street excess. Hinting of possible action
|Let us resist the temptation to fall back on
the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our
politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state
who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House -
a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and
national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic
Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility
and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As
Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, We are not enemies,
but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds
of affection. And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I
may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and
I will be your President too.
||Burning bridges: reminder not to 'bad old
days'. Implication that we are now past this.
and pettiness, poisoned our Politics.
Inclusion: showing that Republicans share the same basic values. Thus
speaking to all Republican voters.
Integrity: Repeating magnanimity and call for humility and healing.
Triple: humility, heal, held back.
History: Evocation of Lincoln in support of unity argument.
Final words: 'I will be your President too.' Dragging Republicans into
the fold. Of course he is their president, but he is calling them into the
|And to all those watching tonight from beyond
our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around
radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular,
but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at
hand. To those who would tear this world down - we will defeat you. To
those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who
have wondered if Americas beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved
once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the
might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power
of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.
||Statesman: addressing foreigners.
Alliteration: parliaments and palaces.
Addressing the individual with visceral words: 'huddled', 'forgotten
corners'. It's a bit condescending, confirming American belief in their
Triple: 'to those'
Not spending too much time on the bad guys. Just 'we will defeat you'.
Returning to 'tonight' theme. 'We proved' showing what can be done is
based on belief.
Final words: A whole string of god words: wealth, power, democracy,
liberty, opportunity, hope.
|For that is the true genius of America - that
America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already
achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
||Casting America and Americans as genius and
hence capable of many things.
Evocation of hope in achievements past.
Final words: 'must achieve tomorrow'. Confirming the necessity of what
must be done.
|This election had many firsts and many
stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind
tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like
the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this
election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.
||Creating a sense of history.
Reducing the masses to one person, 'making voice heard'.
Final words: '106 years old', making the ordinary extraordinary.
|She was born just a generation past slavery;
a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when
someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons - because she was a woman
and because of the color of her skin.
||Using Ann Nixon Cooper's life to re-paint
Triple: no cars, no plane, no votes.
Bringing in the history of skin color (and so making a self-reference).
|And tonight, I think about all that she's seen
throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the
struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the
people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.
||Triple: heartache/hope, struggle/progress,
Showing historical struggle, connecting the audience again
Final words: Starting the final theme of 'yes we can'. This is repeated
at the end the next five paragraphs.
|At a time when women's voices were silenced
and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out
and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.
||Assonance in 's' sound.
Response to despair
with hope and determination.
|When there was despair in the dust bowl and
depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a
New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.
||Assonance in 'd' sound.
despair, dust, depression.
Triple: new. Evoking a sense of rebirth.
|When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny
threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to
greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.
||History of oppression and heroic response,
saving not just the day but the whole of democracy (and hence all that is
|She was there for the buses in Montgomery,
the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta
who told a people that We Shall Overcome. Yes we can.
||Evocation of the
to Mongomery human rights march and Martin Luther King, the 'preacher
|A man touched down on the moon, a wall came
down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.
And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and
cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of
times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we
||Touching on the moon landing (a proud
American moment) and the symbolic fall of communism (and implied victory
Connecting then the old lady with modern technology,
stitching history into the presidential vote and the mandate for change.
|America, we have come so far. We have seen so
much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -
if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters
should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will
they see? What progress will we have made?
||'America' - addressing the nation with easy
Triple: so far, so much, more to do. Linking history into
the future again.
Individual touch: connecting his daughters with the old lady.
Final words: 'what progress will we have made?' Presenting
|This is our chance to answer that call. This
is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open
doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the
cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that
fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe,
we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell
us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the
spirit of a people:
||Triple: This is.
The final call to action
of the speech.
Return to theme of hope and positive benefits.
Restoration triple: restore, reclaim, reaffirm.
Unifying assertion: 'out of many, we are one'.
Explicit evocation of the American Dream.
Inoculation against cynicism.
Final words: 'spirit of the people'
|Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may
God Bless the United States of America.
||Restating the 'yes we can' theme. Traditional
final blessing, almost as a priest of the new order.