The student blog for Drake University first year seminar entitled Visual Politics

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

President Obama's Speech

      On Tuesday, August 31, 2010, the President of the United States of America gave a speech announcing the end of combat in Iraq. This comes after an almost decade long conflict with the Iraqi people. It was a relief for thousands of Americans. The obvious first thing I think anybody looked at during President Obama’s speech was President Obama himself. He had a confident posture, just like he has had since campaigning for Presidency. Even if he was not confident with his announcement, he portrayed it as though he was confident. Also, he was wearing a navy blue jacket, red tie, and white shirt. This may not be very noticeable to the average person, but looking closer this image creates a sense of patriotism in his own attire.
      There were several other things that created patriotism in the background of President Obama’s speech. One of the things that may not have been noticed by any person simply not watching his speech was the American flag in the background. Had that flag not been there, many Americans may have been questioning President Obama’s real motives in this Presidency. This concept also applies to the flag with the United States seal on it. This flag has an eagle on it clutching olive branches with the words E Pluribus Enum on it. E Pluribus Enum is one of our national mottos meaning “Under Many, One”. This simple flag creates a sense of patriotism in America and unity for a country that has been divided by political parties.
      Also behind President Obama were his family pictures. There were five pictures, each with different combinations of President Obama, his wife, and his two girls. To me, this portrayed a sense of family. It made President Obama relatable again, because everybody people watching was a member of some sort of family. To most people, President Obama’s message on Tuesday, August 31 was only verbal. To me, there were many messages portrayed in the image of his speech also.
Kelli Riesberg


  1. Kelli, did the pictures of the Obama family in the background bring a sense of family that brought him and his family together or him closer to the general public? I feel that the connection with the flags and his suit being patriotic is very basic. The president should always appear patriotic because he is the main representative of our country, don't you think? I agree that his confidence was important but were there other ways that he was confident besides his posture, I would say one of the ways he was confident is that you couldn't see the chair that he was sitting in. This helped his confidence because it showed that he wasn't trying to hide in the chair any hide from his decision. I thought you had some good starts and ideas this though. Zac Stevens

  2. I also kind of agree with a few points of Zac's as well.For example, I know a lot of people that have American flags being represented at their home. That doesn't mean they are patriotic? There is no link between a flag and patriotism, its whether you act patriotic. A flag doesn't translate to patriotism. I also tend to disagree with the pictures because what made Obama so approachable was the fact that he made such a big issue of supporting the middle class and trying to create jobs for the quote on quote "little guy." However he has done a terrible job with the economy and job creation. I think your looking at these images too positively for Obama.
    - Caleb Copley

  3. I disagree with the comments about the flag here. I don't often see the American flag displayed by someone who is not patriotic. I do agree with the idea that family pictures make Obama seem more relatable to the general public. Rather than just seeing an important man running the country we can look at these pictures and his family and see that he is very much like the rest of us. -Lauren Oliver

  4. i think you had really good points in the blog about the visual aspects of the President's speech. However, when you talk about the "confident looking president" you really do not describe what the American viewers get from it. Also, the American Flag would be pretty hard to miss, and as Zac said is just basic Patriotism. I do agree with the pictures making Obama seem like a family man, which is very important for American's to relate to