On the occasion of his third address from the Oval Office, President Barack Obama insured that all of the optics were aligned--for his fellow Americans and his worldwide viewers. Uncharacteristically, he put the brake on his penchant for off-putting references to "MY administration," using the phrase only once. Instead he chose more unifying and inclusive words, generously, and for emphasis invoked "my fellow Americans" twice. "No Drama Obama "was at his best, in a voice that allowed for suitable passion but disavowed contrived political fanfare.
The uniqueness of the occasion was duly noted by media, beforehand--from the venue of his august office to the imposing lectern at which the president gave his no nonsense and no big news speech. Mr. Obama opened with a matter of fact, "Good evening," and moved into his subject briskly. His voice conveyed his position of authority while reflecting a strong undercurrent of multi-layered emotion, maybe not so different from a vast cross section of the American public
Terrorist threats produce a powder keg of emotion as dangerous as the threat of an attack. The president seemed more mindful of his listeners, apparently aware of eroding approval and growing skepticism about his bona fides to deal effectively in complicated foreign affairs issues. And he treated his listeners across the country as participants he needed to persuade rather than as subjects obliged to tolerate a blind "father knows best" policy. Indeed, he connected more and pontificated less, than usual and there was a noticeable absence of his oft spoken colloquial pronunciation of words that end with ing.
He took responsibility for charting the course. But, on this occasion he presented to the world, faith in his team of fellow Americans as much as the members of his Administration..
In calling the extremists "thugs, killers and a death cult," the president summarized succinctly the sentiments of most of the world--across political parties and social classes. These were his most powerful and penetrating words of the evening.