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Reconsidering Obama

Reflections on Rhetoric

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Edited By Robert E. Terrill

Perhaps no other presidential candidate or sitting president has attracted as much attention from rhetorical critics as Barack Obama. Much of this work was conceived and written during Obama’s initial presidential campaign, or relatively early in his two terms in office. This book provides rhetorical critics an opportunity to revisit their published work on Obama in light of events that have occurred since its publication. In each chapter, these eminent critics begin by summarizing the analysis and conclusions in their original essays on Obama, and then reflect on their previous conclusions, revising or extending them in response to developments since the publication of the original work. The chapters provide a glimpse into the inventional strategies of practicing critics and into some of the ways that that critical insights may evolve over time. Scholars rarely have an opportunity to publish essays that reflect on their own previous work, even though few resources can be of greater use to both beginning critics and to established scholars seeking to continue to hone and reflect on their critical practice. This book, then, makes an important contribution not only to the existing literature on the 44th president of the United States, but also and perhaps most significantly to the study of the art and craft of rhetorical criticism.

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Chapter Ten: A Reflection on the Obama Phenomenon, Our Heroic Expectations, and the Obama Presidency (Jennifer R. Mercieca)

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chapter ten

A Reflection on the Obama Phenomenon, Our Heroic Expectations, and the Obama Presidency

Jennifer R. Mercieca

Texas A&M University

“I remember seeing that great mass of people [in Chicago’s Grant Park on Election Night, 2008] and looking at them and looking at you and thinking, there is no man on Earth [who] is capable of living up to those expectations. Do you feel that burden every day?” Journalist Yonit Levi to President Obama, July 7, 2010.1

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