Oval Office Address

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President Barack Obama delivering an Oval Office Address on June 15, 2010 concerning the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
President Barack Obama delivers an address on June 15, 2010 concerning the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

An Oval Office Address is a speech made from the Oval Office in the White House by the President of the United States.[1] It is sometimes considered the most solemn setting for an address made by the President, often delivered on or during an occasion of national disaster.[1]

The first Oval Office Address was delivered to the nation by President Harry S. Truman, who urged Americans to conserve food to aid postwar Europe.[2] President Dwight D. Eisenhower used the format in 1957 to inform the United States of his decision to send troops to Little Rock to enforce school desegregation.[3] Being only the second ever televised address directly from the president's office, Eisenhower had to explain as much to the audience, saying, "in speaking from the house of Lincoln, of Jackson, of Wilson, my words would better convey both the sadness I feel today in the actions I feel compelled to make, and the firmness with which I intend to pursue this course."[3]

Some previous addresses include John F. Kennedy's 1962 news of the Cuban Missile Crisis,[4] Jimmy Carter's 1979 "Malaise" speech,[5] Ronald Reagan's speech following the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986,[6] George W. Bush's Address to the Nation on the evening of the 2001 September 11 terrorist attacks[7] and Barack Obama's June 2010 speech addressing the issue of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.[8]

There have been suggestions that the traditional Oval Office Address is falling out of favor in the Information Age, with White House aide Daniel Pfeiffer describing it as "an argument from the 80s" when President Ronald Reagan would draw tens of millions of viewers per address.[9] Television networks are increasingly reluctant to sacrifice airtime for a political purpose.[2] President Obama prefers to use the East Room, as in his announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden.[2][10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Williams, Bronwyn; Zenger, Amy (2007). Popular Culture and Representations of Literacy. Routledge. p. 13. ISBN 0-415-36095-1. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  2. ^ a b c "Live From the Oval Office: A Backdrop of History Fades From TV". New York Times. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Greeley, Brenden. "Why Obama Doesn't Give Speeches From the Oval Office". Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Lu 2004, p. 147
  5. ^ Lu 2004, p. 271
  6. ^ Lu 2004, p. 28
  7. ^ Michael E. Eidenmuller. "The Rhetoric of 9/11: President George W. Bush – Address to the Nation on 9-11-01". Americanrhetoric.com. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  8. ^ Connolly, Katie (2010-06-15). "As it happened: Obama oil spill address". BBC News. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
  9. ^ "Live From the Oval Office: A Backdrop of History Fades From TV". New York Times. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  10. ^ "Remarks by the President on Osama Bin Laden | The White House". Whitehouse.gov. 2011-05-02. Retrieved 2014-03-03. 

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