The president’s understated finest hour

Obama eschews rhetorical flair to deliver long-awaited news of Osama Bin Laden’s death.

So the president skipped the rhetorical flourishes and got to the point.

“Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama Bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.”

This was not a time for grandiloquence or gloating or boosterism.

The moment—this president’s finest hour and the most striking achievement of his presidency—spoke for itself.

So President Obama, correctly, kept his near-midnight address brief, understated and textbook clear.

First, the facts. The tyrant, finally, was dead.

Second, the chronology. Obama quickly reviewed the “bright September day” 10 years ago when the world stopped, with a deft metaphorical touch.

“And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.”

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