An analysis of the words spoken by President Barack Obama during his hour-long news conference Tuesday night shows that, while answering reporters’ questions, he uttered a variant of the word “uhh” at least once every nine seconds.
Though relying upon a flat-screen monitor placed behind a throng of reporters instead of his much-maligned teleprompter, President Obama delivered his six-minutes-long opening statement almost flawlessly. Only four “uhhs” were detected. Then the bumbling began.
Amidst the 22-word transition to the period during which he answering questions from reporters, the Harvard Law School grad uttered some variant of the word “uhh” four times.
During the 47-minute Q-and-A session with reporters, President Obama repeated his use of “uhh” no fewer than 311 times.
In case you don’t believe it, you can follow the same steps I did and judge for yourself:
STEP #1: I located the Obama-friendly transcript of the news conference published by the Los Angeles Times and copied and pasted it into a word-processing document on my computer.
STEP #2: I watched videos of the president’s news conference — available in seven segments via this YouTube channel — and made notations in my word-processing document each time President Obama uttered any variant of the word “uhh.” I counted 311 such utterances. [Note: When an "uhh" was barely audible or not clear, I did not count it.]
STEP #3: I converted the length of the Q-and-A session (47 minutes) into seconds via simple multiplication (47 x 60 = 2,820) to find the session lasted 2,820 seconds.
STEP #4: I divided the 2,820 seconds by 300 (a rounded-down count of “uhhs” intended to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt about the number of times he officially uttered an “uhh.”) to determine the number of times the president uttered the word “uhh” during his session with reporters.
THE RESULT: President Obama uttered the word “uhh” — or some variant of it — once every 9.06 seconds.
So much for President Obama being a “gifted orator.” From this point forward, I think he should be referred to as “Barack Uhhbama.”
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See also: President Obama Shows Lack of Media Skills (2/10/09)