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Not sure why people would make comparisons between Palin’s and Obama’s Wednesday speeches. They are very different in purpose, agenda, and––how do I put this––moral aptitude. But the New York Times chose to compare the two:

But what could not have been more different was the tone. Where Ms. Palin was direct and forceful, Mr. Obama was soft and restrained. Where Ms. Palin was accusatory, Mr. Obama appeared to go out of his way to avoid pointing fingers or assigning blame. Where she stressed the importance of fighting for our different beliefs, he emphasized our need for unity, referring to the “American family — 300 million strong.”

For the president, it was at least the fourth time he has presided as the country’s mourner-in-chief. He delivered the eulogies at Senator Edward Kennedy’s funeral and at the memorial for miners who died in West Virginia. And he spoke to the nation after the shootings at an Army base Texas.

But this time, he appeared more affected by the trauma of the deaths. And none more so than when he was talking about the death of Christina Green, a 9-year-old girl not much older than Mr. Obama’s youngest daughter.

“I want us to live up to her expectations,” he said, his voice rising. “I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it. I want America to be as good as she imagined it. All of us — we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.”

Eyes glistening, the president was forced to take a long pause to compose himself.

He talked about the “process of aligning our actions with our values” and that what really matters in life “is how well we have loved and what small part we have played in making the lives of others better.”

Mr. Obama’s advisers had suggested earlier in the day that the president might avoid all mention of the swirling controversy — made even more intense by Ms. Palin’s video — over the nation’s heated rhetoric.

But he did not, in the end, duck the issue.

Instead, Mr. Obama echoed the calls for greater civility and fresh reflection about the nature of public discourse. But he did so while urging all sides to abandon what he called “the usual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness that drifts away in the next news cycle.”

He is likely to be disappointed. Even as he spoke, Twitter messages and emails flew across the internet, with one side assailing the other. And Ms. Palin will likely find little hope in the barrage of criticism that greeted her video.

Unless — or until — Ms. Palin runs for president and wins the Republican nomination, there are not likely to be many single days in which the two very different politicians are on display in such dramatic ways.

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One Comment

  1. The Tale of Two Hypocrites

    While there tones we certainly different (I don;t think Obama was being accused of “inspiring Tea Partiers to not retreat but reload.”” and ” Since then they have shot up Arizona Congress woman Gabrielle Gifford’s office in the Spring. Now they have shot the congress woman.” within two hours of the shooting- kind of embarrassing for some bloggers rush to judgement), I found them to amazingly touch in their own hypocrisy.

    Palin quoted Reagan in saying that “Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state.” She might want to reconcile that with her support of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen. She might want to talk to some people in those countries about being unjustly blamed for being a extremist.

    On the other hand, Obama beautifully eulogized the innocent victims that were loving spouses, grandmothers, brothers and children. That is unless you are in some little village in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen. In that case you can be the “collateral damage” of some predator drone strike order over scrambled eggs at the Presidents breakfast.


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