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George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Political Engagement, presidential address, new media


Ritualized presidential rhetoric including inaugurals, state of the unions, and farewell addresses has received a wealth of research attention. While vital to the rhetorical presidency, more routine communications that convey the “tick tock” of everyday presidential actions have gone largely unnoticed in the scholarly literature. This article focuses on the central area of routine presidential communication: the weekly address. Thirty speeches from the first year of President Clinton, Bush, and Obama’s administrations are analyzed to understand the functions of the address’s routine use. The findings reveal that ideologically disparate presidents approach the weekly routine with a temporal focus that sermonizes to the nation, projects the power of the presidency, and insulates the institution from legislative inaction.


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Electronic Media & Politics, v. 1, issue 4, p. 66-88.