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President Obama's Address by BWOnDD


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                                    President Obama’s Address

       In the Southeastern United States, many people cringe when they hear the words “BP”

and “Oil” due to an oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that released a massive amount of oil

into the ocean in the summer of 2010. The oil leaked across the ocean and onto the shores of

multiple surrounding states damaging the environment, fishing industries, tourist sites, and many

others. This tragedy had millions of people worried about their homes, jobs, and overall welfare.

On June 15th, 2010 current President Barack Obama released an oval office address to discuss

the issue and ease the fears of the American people. In the speech, the president effectively

communicates information and ease through the rhetoric means of ethos, logos, and pathos.

       From the beginning the President immediately grabs the attention of the viewer by

looking straight at the camera. The straight gaze already gives him a sense of connection to the

viewer, giving him a “personal authority”, meaning he wants to talk directly to the viewer

instead of just a camera. The authoritative demeanor is also evident by his rigid stance and

polished suit; he looks sophisticated, as if he deserves to be there in the oval office seat. His

discussion begins with describing the reality of the situation. The truth that he relays allows his

viewers to trust him as an authority, as one who truly understands the situation instead of a

politician who “sugar coats” the problem. He then relates with his audience by describing the

conversations he had with the people who reside in the disaster region. This shows his audience

that he has been there, understands the problem, and listens to the people. Through a simple

introduction he has already proven himself to be trustworthy in both understanding and fixing the

situation. When he begins to discuss the plans for recovery, he assures the American people that

BP will be responsible for the cleanup and that he commits to making sure the situation will be
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handled properly. The ethos of the speech is clearly evident in the President’s demeanor and

reassuring words. Many viewers have confidence in their president, and hope for the situation.

       After establishing a trust with his viewers, Barack Obama begins to describe the reality of

the situation and the plans for restoration. He states the facts of the situation saying that an

explosion ripped through an oil rig forty miles off the coast with eleven workers dead and

seventeen injured. The explosion opened up a well about a mile beneath the ocean, and it spilled

gallons of crude oil into the gulf. Due to the rarity of this situation, the problem continued

despite the most advanced technological attempts at closing it. He even called it “…the worst

environmental disaster America has ever faced…”. Despite the seemingly hopeless situation, he

goes on to reassure the American people by relaying what has already been done to tackle the

situation. He claimed he had assembled a team of the nations brightest to develop a plan, and that

the federal government had nearly 30,000 people working to contain and clean up the oil. Over

17,000 National Guard troops were dispatched to the area as well (Obama). President Obama

also states that he will be having a conference with the BP executive to make sure workers are

fully compensated and that the cleanup is paid for. The description of the facts and overall reality

of the situation clearly marks the logos of the speech. The factual information not only informs

the president’s audience of the true crisis, it also reassures them that there is in fact something

being done about the situation.

       The pathos of the speech is evident before the speech even begins. The background scene

of the video sets a comforting mood. The Oval Office is a place most American’s recognize,

which makes the pictures on the counter significant because they are not normally there. The

pictures behind the president display the life of his family with his wedding photo to his right, his

children to his left and regular family photos on either side. These family pictures make the
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office more “homey” and family orientated. The family orientated room gives the reader a

comforting feeling before they hear the president’s first words. President Obama begins the

speech by immediately entering the hearts of his audience through discussing emotional topics

known throughout the US, such as the war and the struggling economy. He then describes the BP

oil spill with powerful words that evoke emotion. He compares the spill to a war saying there is a

“battle” in the gulf and that the oil is “assaulting” our shores and citizens (Obama). The idea of

war immediately instills fear, and this war-like description of the oil spill gives the audience a

similar sense of fear. Later in the speech the President uses a stronger tone of voice to assure his

audience that he will not let BP go without paying. This change of tone comforts and assures his

audience that there will be justice and everything will be taken care of. The pathos is also evident

within speaker’s mannerisms. He frequently uses his hands when he speaks, making it seem

casual and inviting to the viewer. He also looks directly at the camera which gives the reader an

inviting and welcoming feeling. The pathos of President Obama’s speech allows him to really

connect with the viewer and genuinely understand them.

       The BP oil spill was a national crisis that had the American people worried about the

future of the southeast. To discuss the situation, President Barack Obama released an address

from the Oval Office. This speech effectively described the situation as well as reassured the

American people of a recovery plan. The ethos, logos, and pathos are all evident in the speech

and help make it effective.

                                               Works Cited:

Obama, Barack. “Oval Office Address on BP Oil Spill & Energy”. White House, Washington,

       DC. 15 June. 2010. Speech.

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