The fierce urgency of now!

Today we will all witness a piece of history, when Barack Obama is inaugurated as President Obama, 44th President of the United States of America. In the words of Martin Luther King Junior we are all together in “the fierce urgency of now”. Literally billions will tune in looking for hope and change at the beginning of an historic U.S. presidency that faces massive economic, environmental and security challenges

Everyone will be looking out for the memorable phrase from his speech to match that of Lincoln, Roosevelt or Kennedy. How will he do better than the following powerful statement from his election night victory speech, “And to all those who have wondered if America’s 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.”

President Obama has shown that a simple powerful message presented by a messenger with a life story that reflects the potential for good that America has alway promised, but perhaps not always fully lived up to, is still an important part of the democratic process.

A President with powerful oratory adds to America’s undoubted economic and military resources. He can use that, in the words of Theodore Roosevelt, as a “bully pulpit” to take the World forward.

On this day of inauguration, we thought we would use the web 2.0 tool Wordle to show how Barack Obama’s speeches changed and developed over the last 7 years as he refined the phrases and themes that contributed to the momentum for change that led him to be sitting in the Oval Office today.

Starting with his comments opposing the Iraq War in 2002……

Speech opposing Iraq War -2002

Speech opposing Iraq War -2002

through to the speech at the 2004 Democrat Convention that in many ways made his name.

Barack Obama Speech to 2004 Democrat Convention

Barack Obama Speech to 2004 Democrat Convention

When launching his campaign in Springfield, Illinois in 2007 he started by defining himself against his Democrat opponents:

Barack Obama launching his Presidential Bid - 2007

Barack Obama launching his Presidential Bid – 2007

Following his success during Super Tuesday, he was increasingly able to focus on promoting his change agenda:

Barack Obama Speech Following Super Tuesday

Barack Obama Speech Following Super Tuesday

However he also had to respond to the issues of Race and his connections with Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

"The Race Speech"

Barack Obama: “The Race Speech”

Having overcome the electoral challenges within the primary process he was able to come to the 2008 Democrat Convention and concentrate on the choice the country faced between him and the Republican candidate. He also used this high profile opportunity to reassure the public as to the sort of president he would be.

Barack Obama Speech to 2008 Democrat Convention

Barack Obama Speech to 2008 Democrat Convention

His handling of the economic crisis probably helped “seal the deal” with the electorate, however the earlier work kept him in an opinion poll lead that he never lost during the election proper. It led to his victory speech at Grant Park in Chicago….

Barack Obama Victory Speech - November 2008

Barack Obama Victory Speech – November 2008

At midday in Washington and 5pm in the UK, we wait to witness history and look forward to hearing more powerful words that express and encapsulate the “enduring power of our ideals”!

Charlie Mansell, Research and Political Development Officer at The Campaign Company.

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