What Obama should say tonight

Veteran speechwriters weigh in on what, if anything, the president can say in his jobs speech to help the U.S. economy and boost his own approval rating.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

It’s easy to believe the president’s speech will be one big, last-ditch gesture to win the country back. It comes on the heels of an announcement that employers added a net of exactly zero new jobs to the economy in August. Growth in the first six months of this year has been a mere 0.7 percent, the lowest since the official end of the recession in June 2009.

President Obama’s approval rating has sunk to an all-time low—44 percent—according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday. Only 37 percent approve of how he’s handling the economy. Meanwhile, Congress is facing its worst poll numbers ever, with 82 percent of respondents saying they’re dissatisfied with its actions.

Ken Askew, a former speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush, said of Obama’s conundrum, “He’s our president and I wish us all well, but I’m very glad I’m not a White House speechwriter right now.”

Policy, not rhetoric

Mike Long, speechwriting teacher at American University and a former speechwriter for U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson, says that from a communications standpoint it simply doesn’t matter how good the speech is.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.