Michelle Obama’s DNC Speech Written at 7 Grade Levels Above Ann Romney’s

The First Lady’s speech Tuesday was written at a 12th grade level – the highest in history among the wives of presidential nominees and far above Ann Romney’s lowest mark of a 5th grade level

michelleobama10.jpgAlthough her husband has delivered some of the simplest State of the Union speeches over the last 75+ years – with all three written at an eighth grade level – Michelle Obama did not follow rhetorical suit on Tuesday evening.

One week after Ann Romney set a record for delivering a speech written at the lowest grade level in convention history by the wives of presidential nominees, Michelle Obama delivers a speech written at the highest ever grade level.

A Smart Politics review of prepared remarks delivered by the spouses of presidential nominees at national political conventions finds that Michelle Obama’s 2012 speech to the DNC was written at seven grade levels above Ann Romney’s as measured by the Flesch-Kincaid readability test.

The Flesch-Kincaid test is designed to assess the readability level of written text, with a formula that translates the score to a U.S. grade level. Longer sentences and sentences utilizing words with more syllables produce higher scores. Shorter sentences and sentences incorporating more monosyllabic words yield lower scores.

The First Lady’s speech on Tuesday evening was delivered at a grade level of 12.84 – more than 3.5 grade levels above the next highest speech of the 10 previous prepared remarks delivered by wives of presidential nominees since the first such address in 1992 by Barbara Bush.

Ms. Obama also held the previous record with her 2008 speech with a grade level of 9.28.

The speech written at the third highest grade level by such spouses was by another Democrat, Teresa Kerry in 2004, at 9.20, followed by Elizabeth Dole at #4 in 1996 (8.51), Cindy McCain at #5 in 2008 (8.38), Hillary Clinton at #6 in 1996 (8.29), Barbara Bush at #7 in 1992 (7.99), Laura Bush at #8 in 2004 (7.77), Tipper Gore at #9 in 2000 (6.63), and Laura Bush at #10 in 2000 (6.46).

At the very bottom of the list – some 7+ grade levels below the First Lady – is Ann Romney.

The wife of the 2012 Republican presidential nominee gave a speech written at just a 5.80 grade level last Tuesday evening at the RNC.

Ann Romney’s speech was packed with much shorter sentences than Michelle Obama’s – coming in at less than half the average number of words per sentence (15.12) than the First Lady’s (30.66).

A previous Smart Politics report highlighted how Ms. Romney’s speech was extremely focused on the family vis-à-vis past speeches from the wives of nominees.

Consider how Romney delivers the following passage on wives and mothers, in her purported attempt to close the gender gap for her husband’s campaign:

“You are the best of America. You are the hope of America. There would not be an America without you. Tonight, we salute you and sing your praises.”

But when Michele Obama addressed the subject of women in her speech, she took a different tactical approach, incorporating much longer sentences into her speech, such as the following passage about the president’s grandmother:

“And for years, men no more qualified than she was – men she had actually trained – were promoted up the ladder ahead of her, earning more and more money while Barack’s family continued to scrape by.”

In delivering their respective speeches, the end game of both spouses of the 2012 presidential nominees is to naturally sell their husbands to the millions of Americans watching them on television.

Consider the rhetoric Ann Romney chose in testifying as to the kind of leader her Mitt would be:

“This man will not fail. This man will not let us down. This man will lift up America! … Look into your hearts. This is our country. This is our future. These are our children and grandchildren. You can trust Mitt. He loves America. He will take us to a better place, just as he took me home safely from that dance. Give him that chance. Give America that chance.”

The heavy peppering of short, staccato-style lines in Romney’s remarks stands in opposition to the more drawn-out sentences written by the First Lady about her husband, like this:

“He’s the same man who started his career by turning down high paying jobs and instead working in struggling neighborhoods where a steel plant had shut down, fighting to rebuild those communities and get folks back to work, because for Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”

And this:

“That’s the man who sits down with me and our girls for dinner nearly every night, patiently answering their questions about issues in the news, and strategizing about middle school friendships.”

Speaking of the president, the First Lady’s DNC speech was written at four grade levels above Barack Obama’s State of the Union addresses in 2011 (8.1), 2012 (8.4), and 2010 (8.8).

Ms. Obama’s speech is actually written at a higher grade level than all but 11 of the 70 orally delivered State of the Union addresses delivered since 1934.

As with all previous Smart Politics analyses of the readability scores of prepared remarks, it bears repeating that a simplistically written speech does not necessarily mean it is a poor speech, nor that a speech with longer sentences is necessarily superior.

What is interesting in this instance is the stark contrast in how the two political camps in the same election cycle rhetorically crafted their message through their spouses.

Whether or not one believes Ann Romney was speaking plainly, or speaking down to her target audience is one for the pundits to debate.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level for DNC and RNC Speeches by the Spouses of Presidential Nominees

Reading Ease
Words per sentence
Grade Level
Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama
Teresa Kerry
Elizabeth Dole
Cindy McCain
Hillary Clinton
Barbara Bush
Laura Bush
Tipper Gore
Laura Bush
Ann Romney

Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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189 Comments on "Michelle Obama’s DNC Speech Written at 7 Grade Levels Above Ann Romney’s"

  1. What a snob!

    • Good one!

    • Jessica Mathews | September 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply

      Snob? For expecting the graduates of our fine public education system to be able to understand her at grade level? I am shocked! Shocked!

    • Snob or not Rick, the facts speak for themselves. Hey….since when is being educated at a 12th grade level snobbery?

    • Of course Rick, someone w/your IGNORANCE and misogynistic mind-set would think so!
      Admit it: You don’t understand anything above RoMORON’s wife! And don’t go hiding behind your “christianity” — WE know better! But wait, doesn’t the bible say to NOT judge?

    • Suzanne Christy | September 7, 2012 at 12:11 am | Reply

      Snob?? I’m sorry, I Worked while I put myself through Nursing School, sleeping in my car at lunch because I had worked all night. I Know you, Mr Santorum, I am from PA. Speaking well, with multi-syllable words, is not snobbery, it’s a part of trying to educate yourself, express yourself and encourage people to Use their brains, not to give up & revert (“go backward”) to a 5th grade education like Ann Romney.
      If you can’t understand the First Lady, maybe you shouldn’t be in government, supported by people like me, who worked hard & Wrote Checks for their college education, funded by their own labor…? I feel sorry for you.
      I invite you to respond to me at suzy.christy@gmail.com
      I’m very disappointed that as a public Servant (?), you don’t encourage knowledgeable, understandable speech. The current allowance for laziness & lack of knowledge, research & education is disturbing, especially when voiced by a member of Our government, whom we Work to pay & support…
      Suzanne Christy, RN, BSN (on my Own dime), CMT, AHA Instructor

    • There was nothing snobbish about Mrs. Obama’s speech any more than there was anything childish about Mrs. Romney’s. Both were excellent and accomplished their intended goals. The women have different styles, and it is beneath you to disparage either of them based on your political views.

    • Yes, you are certainly demonstrating how narcissistic you are.

    • Zoe Wanderlust | September 7, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Reply

      shut up. the fact that you’re a dumb*** does not excuse your remark. Now shush and be on your way to whatever it is you mindless busybodies do.

  2. Clarity and effectiveness have nothing to do with “reading level”. And your buried statement of exception does nothing to absolve you of speciousness.

    • Ann Romney dealt in vagueness, not concreteness. Lots of windy phrases that said nothing and promised nothing.

      Michelle Obama dealt in specifics. Her sentences weren’t just bits of cool-sounding Frank Luntz focus-grouped word salad as were Ann Romney’s.

    • Your initial statement is so true! Proving the point by trying to show off using high-Scrabble-point words in the second part of your comment was sheer brilliance!

  3. Another typo: “Consider the rhetoric Ann Romney choose in testifying at to the kind of leader her Mitt would be:” It should be “the rhetoric Ann Romney chose”, but whatever. If it weren’t an article about grade levels, I’d let it pass.

    But more importantly, this was really interesting. I don’t have any idea what, if anything, it says about the women giving the speaches, but it was interesting.

    • It’s “speeches” not “speaches”, but whatever.

    • Martha, it’s “speeches” not “speaches”, but whatever.

    • Lance Freewriter | September 5, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Reply

      You misspelled “speaches” (speeches).

    • “about the women giving the speaches,” ??

      You made me laugh out loud!

    • It could say something about the women delivering the speeches, (what exactly that is is debatable, and perhaps of questionable importance) but I believe it has much more to do with their respective party’s perception of the audiences they are trying to captivate. What does the Republican party think of the people who will not vote for them? Do they think those people need to be spoken to at a fifth grade level? With short, stacatto phrases painting a picture of a “better America” with a broad brush–an impressionist painting at best, as the issues which would supposedly improve to build this better America are vaguely described. What do they think of the intelligence of those groups they are having trouble winning over–Latinos, African Americans, Women, Gays, etc. To me it seems they believe those groups are not intelligent and must be spoken to like 5th graders. Or perhaps they are acknowledging that these groups (especially minorities) often grow up with sub-prime education, and perhaps might be better related to at a 5th grade level.

      Contrast that to Obama’s more detailed anecdotes and sentences that actually have meaning….

      • Ann Romney’s speech was what passes for real information in the political world these days – sound bytes. Catch-phrases notwithstanding, substance counts. Ann Romney’s speech was cotton candy – pretty, tasted sweet, but had no real substance. With so many secrets behind the facade of the Republican candidates — is it any wonder there is nothing but spun sugar to be had from their speeches?

    • I think the word you want is speech.

    • I don’t know if it’s a typo, but speeches is spelled wrong. Good observation on your part. I noticed the mistake as well…..and no, I don’t want a cookie.

    • Yo, Martha

      “If it weren’t an article about grade levels, I’d let it pass.

      But more importantly, this was really interesting. I don’t have any idea what, if anything, it says about the women giving the speaches, but it was interesting.”

      You shouldn’t make SPEECHES about typos lol

    • You misspelled “speech,” which I wouldn’t bother to point out if you weren’t busy correcting other people’s mistakes. 😉

    • Well, then, you might want to consider your own spelling of “speaches.”

    • Yes, it was interesting. Also, I hope you meant to write “speeches” instead of “speaches” [sic]. I’m all for standardized English (and correcting people), but I’d prefer it be left to experts. Engage your brain next time before you punch the keys.

    • Martha, you probably have more spelling and grammatical errors in your weak attempt at a critique than this author does in their entire article. I hope the irony of this is apparent to you. I believe the idiom “those who live in glass houses should not throw stones” may apply in this situation. Haha 🙂

    • And you spelled speeches “speaches”??????

    • Martha, you correct the article writer and their grammatical skills, and then turn around and write ‘speaches’ instead of ‘speeches’.

      This article was interesting and just fine. The article isn’t criticizing Michelle Obama for being smart and writing at a twelfth grade level, although it’s lightly critical of Anne for writing at such a low grade point level.

      What I take from it is that speeches are written specifically to appeal to an audience and so the grade point level at which it is written reflects what you think your audience will respond to. Anne Romney decided her audience would respond to short, simple sentences at a fifth grade level, and Michelle Obama decided her audience would respond to longer and more complex sentences at a senior level.

      Personally this indicates to me that Michelle views her audience as intelligent and capable of wrapping their head around a more complicated speech while still staying interested.

    • You spelled “speeches” incorrectly.

    • Regarding Martha’s claim of “Another typo: ‘Consider the rhetoric Ann Romney choose in testifying at[sic] to the kind of leader . . .”
      1) I don’t know what Martha’s is quoting, but my copy of this article correctly reads “chose”–not “choose” as Martha asserts.
      2) What’s more, Martha herself made a typo by inadvertently substituting “at” for “as” in this same sentence!
      So much for glass houses, Martha!

    • “speaches”? If this weren’t a comment about typos, I’d let it pass.

    • You criticise the syntax, then type “speaches” instead of “speeches”??

      Bloody Americans. Average IQ of a pet rock.

      • Apologies – my “speeches” vs “speaches” reply was aimed at Martha:

        September 5, 2012 12:41 PM | Permalink | Reply
        Another typo: “Consider the rhetoric Ann Romney choose in testifying at to the kind of leader her Mitt would be:” It should be “the rhetoric Ann Romney chose”, but whatever. If it weren’t an article about grade levels, I’d let it pass.

        But more importantly, this was really interesting. I don’t have any idea what, if anything, it says about the women giving the speaches, but it was interesting.”

    • Watch your spelling of “speeches,” if you like correcting others.

  4. Ann Romney had to dumb it down so the Democrats could understand the SIMPLE truths.
    Do we elect our leaders based on the eloquence of their speeches?
    I would think what they had to say was more important than how they said it.

    • yes, wally121, because Ann Romney was addressing a stadium-full of Democrats.

    • Yes, I can see the beauty of the “SIMPLE” truth of, “You can trust Mitt. He loves America.” What inspiring and motivating prose.

      Speaking through the voice of a children’s book may be an effective way of getting half-listening drones to scream and shout, but Ann Romney’s speech had nearly no actual content about what her husband believes for our country.

      So, if that’s the “SIMPLE” truth you speak of- that he has no real convictions for a better America outside of entitled patriotism- perhaps you’re right. Perhaps she was “dumb-ing it down” for us; just to be sure we all are clear that the “SIMPLE” truth is that her husband wants to be President because… well… why not? He loves America, right?

    • I’m afraid you have that backward.

    • “Do we elect our leaders based on the eloquence of their speeches?
      I would think what they had to say was more important than how they said it.”

      Well, Wally, WHAT exactly do you think eloquence is?

      Some of the most beautiful and poignant speeches have come from great leaders such as Thomas Jefferson (Declaration of Independence, although before Presidency), Abraham Lincoln (Gettysburg Address), George Washington (Farewell Address), William McKinley’s brilliant and under appreciated mind, and nearly every word that came out of FDR’s pen.

      So yah, eloquence and talent at writing IS a necessity for being President.

      Of course, republicans spent millions on Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue, which was ghostwritten, so that answers your question. Sounds to me as if you’re bitter from failing 3rd Grade English 2 years in a row.

    • The simple truth is; Republicans can not grasp concepts more complex than a 5th grader is capable of understanding.

    • No, she had to dumb it down for the tea party republicans, most of whom CAN’T READ.

    • Isn’t that the exact opposite of what a lot of wisdom out there says – that it isn’t what you say, it’s how you say it? Communication is more than just the actual words chosen, and Obama sent a message that she has higher respect for Americans by not talking down to them. Romney is okay, but she’s just like her husband and his running mate – out of touch, and lacking respect for all equally. It shows in all the nonverbal communication as well as what is said and written.

    • and here I thought she was addressing the RNC.

    • This makes absolutely no sense. I’m surprised you would prefer someone of lesser intelligence and a more pompous background over someone who may actually understand what it is like to live in the real world and has a strong vocabulary.

    • Ann Romney had to dumb it down so SHE could understand what she was talking about.

    • Ann Romney’s audience weren’t the democrats, they were on twitter skewering her.

    • Yeah, she was dumbing it down for democrats to understand, right? Not the undereducated hillbilly republicans who would be VOTING FOR HER HUSBAND, of course.

  5. Ann Romney’s speech – like the RNC convention as a whole – was as disreputable as it comes – marketing a sociopath with a malignant agenda. But this analysis is really stupid. It just means that Michelle Obama had more run-on sentences.

    • A sentence can be long, contain multiple clauses and not be a run-on sentence. Your criticism is valid only if you can identify multiple sentences in her speech with independent clauses that are not punctuated with an appropriate coordinating conjunction.

    • Please learn what a run on sentence is. Please.

    • completely agree!!! just a bunch of run on sentences!!

    • Run-on sentences? Good Lord, has Ernest Hemingway permanently destroyed the American reader’s ability to understand sentences longer than three words?

      Better run-on sentences that actually said things, than short bits of fluffy cotton candy with no actual content inside of them.

    • Michelle Obama’s speech contained no run-on sentences. It did, however, contain some relatively long sentences. Long sentences are usually evidence of complicated and sophisticated thought; they do not equate to grammatical incorrectness. Freshman compostition students often make this mistake.

      Snobbery? No. Understanding grammar and composition is important for an educated citizenry. The ability to communicate effectively is one of the top problems businesses cite about their new hires of college graduates.

    • @joe,

      Complex sentence structures =/= run-ons. Run-ons have two independent thoughts fused together into one sentence incorrectly; compound and complex sentences, while long and containing multiple clauses, are perfectly correct and generally indicate a more complete mastery of language.

    • To several of you who claim Michelle Obama merely had a bunch of run-on sentences: a run-on sentence is composed of two independent clauses joined inappropriately…and none of hers are. I would have respected your point if not for the fact it’s completely wrong.

    • There is a vast difference between complex sentences and run-ons. Michelle used the former very well, and did not use the latter.

  6. Either way, eight, fourth or 12th. She presented a false narrative of her and her husband’s meager background. It was a lie. http://macsmind.com/wordpress/2012/09/fact-check-in-dnc-speech-michele-obama-lied-about-meager-beginnings/

  7. Really? This article is so freaking stupid and biased that whomever wrote it should be ashamed.

    Ya’ll are really in for a huge surprise.

    Learn to say it: President Romney

    LANDSLIDE 2012

  8. You can’t blame Ann. Her speech is aimed at the level of her audience’s education.

  9. Too bad Michelle’s was a fairy tale of lies. One for example, is that Barry’s grandmother was a bank Secretary. she was VP of the bank.

    • Michelle actually said that Barack’s grandmother started as a secretary and worked her way up, until she hit a glass ceiling.

  10. My mother drove a school bus, and my father worked in a factory, and I went to an Ivy League school, the first in my family to graduate college. You people who use the fact of their education as evidence that they didn’t grow up with meager means have NO IDEA what you are talking about. It’s called NEED BLIND ADMISSIONS. Ivy, and Ivy-calibre schools do not take your ability it pay into account when deciding on your acceptance. Once you are in, they make it possible for you to go, with a combination of scholarships and loans. There are LOTS of poor smart people in Ivy League schools.

  11. Both women were simply appealing to their natural constituencies. If you look at any poll that breaks down approval ratings by demographics, you’ll see that college-educated voters prefer Obama’s husband, and voters with high-school-or-lower educations prefer Romney’s husband.

  12. I think Ann Romney dumbed it down for her audience–the GOP convention.

  13. Good writing is about showing, not telling. Ann made empty, blanket statements without backing them up. Michelle didn’t tell people what to believe; she simply showed the evidence and led people to their own conclusions. I can’t imagine anyone would be persuaded (who wasn’t already) by what Ann said.

  14. Probbably irrational to cite either of the unelected women were addressing their respective “hall” audience. With so much being spent
    on TV coverage, “net” coverage, and astonishingly inane comparison chart proclaimations.
    Let’s see…say…a comparison between actual candidates intellect. 10 years of Mr. Romney’s Tax preperation, and 10 years of Mr. Obama’s Academic offerings.

    Oh wait…

  15. Nathaniel Ware | September 5, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Reply

    It was a fantastic speech, but not because it used advanced words or because the sentences were long. Indeed, speeches are meant to be written in much shorter sentences than written text! The person who wrote this article has the right conclusion but does not understand speech writing or effective communication.

    • ” Indeed, speeches are meant to be written in much shorter sentences than written text! The person who wrote this article has the right conclusion but does not understand speech writing or effective communication.”

      Oh really? Then can you tell me why, exactly, fantastic speeches such as Cicero’s “Pro Archia Poeta” and “In Catillinam” that have been studied, memorized, and analyzed from time immemorial, have much more in common with Ms. Obama’s, than Ms. Romney’s speech?

  16. This is my favorite quote from the speech: http://reelsurfer.com/watch/clip/share_id/15390

  17. Did Hillary Clinton not speak in 1992?

  18. Listen to any woman deliver a talk in the Mormon church’s semiannual conferences. You’ll see where Ann Romney learned to speak.

  19. Michelle Obama is an intelligent woman. She’s obviously WAYYYYYYYYY smarter than Ann. Sorry, republicans-you cant mess with this dynamic team!! I know you hate it but the Obamas are Better in soooo many ways. Get over it and lets let the commander in chief CONTINUE running this country n cleaning up Bush’s mess.

  20. Remember the slogans from George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”
    Short and staccato to easily be remembered by the dumb animals
    and repeated adnauseum by the sheep. Same difference.

  21. dee, I just want to point out that MANY schools that used to have need-blind admissions have eliminated such policies or scaled them back considerably.

    • English B.A. and M.A. | September 7, 2012 at 7:56 am | Reply

      Penny, President Obama was born in 1961. Which means he probably entered college before 1980. What ever colleges are doing today is irrelevant to the point. You Obama naysayers have very poor argumentation skills. Take a logic class. Or at least just think critically. Oh wait, your party’s platform states clearly that:

      “Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

      The Romney SPEECH has no substance because it was not intended to change “fixed beliefs”.

  22. yes, it said in the article that she also held the previous record from the DNC in 2008.

  23. Some of the comments to this article coming from both the far left and the far right saddens me. Many of the statements bare no rational context, while others are just full of hate and lies. One day, our children will look back at this point in time and not only be ashamed, but will use it as a lesson to teach their children how not to act in order to work together for a greater common cause.

  24. I find it interesting that Ann Romney could have been speaking down to her target audience, while Michelle wrote with more complexity. I don’t think Michelle was trying to be a snob as suggested by an earlier comment. I think that is just how she writes. Something to remember is that she is highly educated. I wouldn’t expect her dumb herself down for a speech. I think her speech also shows that she believes that we, as Americans, are smart enough to understand what she is saying. She isn’t trying to dumb anything down for us “simple folk” to understand it. She knows that we’re intelligent enough to get it! Also, I love how she beautifully paints a picture with her words. Good job Michelle!

  25. Would any of you all want to live in an America that sounds like one step up from “Fun with Mitt and Anne” (a la “Fun with Dick and Jane” see link below).

    How can those in the GOP not feel insulted/outraged?..or bored!?.. particularly GOP women?!!

    Seriously folks: “See America run..asunder.”



  26. to what typo are you referring? the table is arranged in descending order by grade level.

  27. Opening two paragraphs of Seamus Heaney’s_ Beowulf_: Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 4
    Ingredients on a package of Twinkies: Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 40

    Headline: “Twinkie package written at 36 grade levels above Nobel laureate!”

  28. My family and I had the pleasure to hear Mrs. Obama on Aug. 9, 2012 at her Upper Dublin High School rally. She did not read off of cards, she is insightful and speaks from the heart and with emotion. She said some of the same things that she did last night, but she had the crowd in her grasp. Many of the students behind her were listening and smiling with admiration. So she can reach all age levels. And it was one of the best speeches (last night) that I have ever heard.

    • @Lunarscribe: The Gettysburg Address scores around 9, Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech scores around 8. George W. Bush addresses tend to score higher than ones by Bill Clinton. “Reading level” has very little to do with eloquence, but rather with word size and sentence length. (So, the “Bushisms” we are all fond of mocking would actually raise the reading level score!) “I gobblegooblied the scumptidumtious steakywaky” scores higher than “I ate the delicious steak.” Do you actually think that using big words means more eloquent? And you certainly can’t reasonably argue that doing so makes someone a “great orator.” Your statement “I personally want someone that is smarter than a fifth grader” indicates that you don’t know what “reading level” actually measures.

      What I’m saying doesn’t mean a lower score is better either, nor does it mean that Obama’s speech was not better than Romney’s. It just means that “reading level” is an irrelevant statistic. Go ahead and make an argument that Obama made a great speech, but don’t misuse data you don’t understand. You just look foolish.

  29. The table is correct. She places first AND second according to the Flesch-Kincaid readability test/

  30. Quite honestly eloquence in speaking harkens back to great leaders such as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and in more recent years, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. People look to leaders to represent them appropriately to the world. No one wants a bumbling buffoon delivering orations to foreign delegates. As much as most would like to believe, that we are the only country in the world; this is simply not the truth. We are now a globalized nation, and as such our leaders must be great orators. So yes it is relevant as command of the vernacular is an important part of this public office. Otherwise Americans come across as torch bearing Neanderthals, desiring nothing more than invading sovereign nations, knocking their big sticks over people’s heads, and walking out with whatever it is they wanted; leaving instability and chaos in their wake. So here is a “Simple” Truth that maybe you can understand. I personally want someone that is smarter than a fifth grader, with their hand on the big red button.

  31. And the point of this article is?? Other than simple mean-spirited comments to anyone wads it, what is the point? Does it make either of the speeches any less important to the people who support them or their husbands? No, it simply points out that someone who feels the need to write an article like this is simply mean-spirited – period.

  32. This is just interesting information to know. They have been publishing articles like this for years. Why is it now a problem? Is it because Ann scored low while Michelle scored high? If it makes some of you guys feel better, Obama’s speeches, while remarkable, are pretty simple.

  33. She didn’t “dumb-it-down,” she’s just dumb and rich, duh. Fabulous baby! Here’s to the ladies who lunch…. Ugh.

  34. Ann Romney of course. Love Michelle! Shouldn’t it be Mrs. Obama?

  35. Another important detail: reading level score are not intended to rank orations, but to evaluate written prose. How an editor chooses to punctuate the oration before evaluation makes a big difference. Take one of the example sentences from the article:

    “You are the best of America. You are the hope of America. There would not be an America without you. Tonight, we salute you and sing your praises.”

    With this punctuation, Romney gets a 4.4. But let’s edit it differently:

    “You are the best of America, you are the hope of America, there would not be an America without you: tonight, we salute you and sing your praises.”

    Now, Romney gets a 12.6.

    Does this really mean anything? No, of course it doesn’t. And that’s my point.

    • Doug, the way you have punctuated Ann Romney’s example doesn’t make sense grammatically and IS a run on sentence. Michelle Obama’s sentences are complex, but there is actually one sentence between the start and the period. On the other hand, in Romney’s speech, you have combined distinct clauses with arbitrary punctuation:

      “You are the best of America, you are the hope of America, there would not be an America without you: tonight, we salute you and sing your praises.”

      Commas should not be used to connect complete clauses. Semicolons can be used between complete clauses, but they should be used instead of a connecting word to show a link between the two clauses. You have also used the colon incorrectly. It can be used to distinguish lists, examples (as above), before a quote (especially long ones), or for other enumeration of the preceding clause. In the way you have used it, it does not make sense. The way it is punctuated below is correct.

      Romney: “You are the best of America. You are the hope of America. There would not be an America without you. Tonight, we salute you and sing your praises.”

      Obama: “And for years, men no more qualified than she was – men she had actually trained – were promoted up the ladder ahead of her, earning more and more money while Barack’s family continued to scrape by.”

      As you can see in Obama’s quote above, the different segments separated by punctuation could not be distinct sentences. They do not make sense as separate sentences, which is why they are connected in one long, complex, but NOT run-on sentence.

      I agree with you that the score does not implicitly mean anything. Like any fact, statistic, or number, the meaning lies in the context. This is acknowledged in the article:
      “As with all previous Smart Politics analyses of the readability scores of prepared remarks, it bears repeating that a simplistically written speech does not necessarily mean it is a poor speech, nor that a speech with longer sentences is necessarily superior. What is interesting in this instance is the stark contrast in how the two political camps in the same election cycle rhetorically crafted their message through their spouses. Whether or not one believes Ann Romney was speaking plainly, or speaking down to her target audience is one for the pundits to debate.”

      I agree that longer sentence length and words do not necessarily imply better or more intelligent writing. Certainly, this can be the case in literature. But I do think the examples provided above show the differences of complexity in ideas, thoughts, and arguments between the two speeches. Like any measurement, the Flesch-Kinkaid can tell us something about the speeches, but it cannot tell us everything. It is one way of looking at the speeches. It is not novel to point this out, especially as the tone of the article is extrapolating on the quality of the speeches based only on this measurement and explicitly states that the reason or implications of the difference can/will/should be debated by others. Still, measurements are useful and interesting and can add to our overall understanding, which is why this article reports on the Flesch-Kinkaid measurements.

  36. Like so many have already said, longer words don’t mean better writing. Longer sentences don’t make clear, concise messages.

    In fact, in journalism, a high Flesch-Kincaid score (often one higher than the 6th grade level) is a sign of BAD writing. But it can also be the result of using words like “president” or “Wisconsin” — common words that laypeople know, but that happen to have a lot of letters in them.

  37. I contemplated using the time to score your immature lust,
    but concluded that it would be fruitless when communicated
    to you and any returning readers.
    Attempting to present organic dysfunction to one who is
    emotionally intoxicated, is exponentially harder than
    convincing a wino that grapes are disingenuous.

    If you felt no trepidation, no innate hesitate in
    propagandizing your pages, then analysis of your
    stupored inscription won’t resonate.

    Julia, oh Julia, you are the denomination that must
    reiterate your passive-aggressive disdain for
    thier America, one more November.

  38. Anyone familiar with Flesch-Kincaid will, of course, think the conclusions drawn here are ridiculous. But knowledge doesn’t matter. The argument is not “Flesch-Kincaid scores indicate that Michelle Obama is better than Ann Romney,” but rather, “Michelle Obama’s high score validates Flesch-Kincaid scoring.” Intelligent people, however, can draw conclusions without looking at a largely irrelevant number assigned by a robot.

  39. Yes. The ranking is for grade level, not words per sentence. Read carefully.
    Newspapers are written at the fifth grade level.

  40. Grade level in a Flesch-Kincaid evaluation is based upon words per sentence (and syllables per word). Again, I don’t think people that are praising this study have any familiarity with Flesch-Kincaid.

  41. In my example, I was just working with one of the passages cited. My point is, and I suspect you will agree, that you can improve a Flesch-Kincaid grade level score by altering punctuation (and even more if you add a conjunction here and there, which I tried to avoid). And, furthermore, grammatically incorrect punctuation may, in fact, lead to a higher score. That more than anything else should caution against using Flesch-Kincaid grade-level scores to rank, and to rank oration in particular.

    When you talk about Obama’s use of complex sentences, I agree! That is the exact sort of human evaluation of language which we should use! We understand language better than robots. The best writing, and oratory, however, uses a variety of sentence styles and sentence lengths (I suspect you may be familiar with Strunk & White); this is why many of the great speeches of history, when we attempt to apply Flesch-Kincaid, come out in the 8-10th grade range. If I had to opine about the two speeches simply based on this data, I would say that each camp erred, but in different directions.

    In developing the method, Flesch did not intend to preference higher scores! It is very odd, therefore, to use the method for that purpose.

    As for the concluding remarks in the article, my comments were originally directed at another comment in this thread, which made assertions about eloquence. I do admit my later comments got a bit muddled.

  42. Jon it’s sorted by grade level and not ease of reading.

  43. Doug, I’m assuming (and I hope that someone can correct me if I’m wrong) that they used the released, written version of these speeches rather than transcribing them after the fact.

    • @Dan: I’m not sure what text they used for the analysis. In any case, the written version of a speech and the actual speech are different, and it is strange to apply a method for analyzing writing to speeches.

  44. Please note that the word “simplistically” has a very different denotation than the word “simply,” and implies that a person is over-simplifying. By contrast, the word “simply” implies a lack of complexity, though not necessarily a mistaken lack of complexity.

  45. Face it American…Michelle Obama is smart. Ann Romney is dumber than dookie. The women had no message, had no point only to say…”You can trust Mitt. He loves America. He will take us to a better place, just as he took me home safely from that dance.” That didn’t tell me Diddly Squat or give me a valid reason for voting for him…(heck, we all Love America). Don’t hate Michelle because she took time and actually worked on her speech. This is a huge moment…Step up to the plate and bring your “A” game. If that’s “A” game for Ann, well maybe someone else should write her speeches. I’d rather have a first lady who knows how to speak elegantly and intelligently with an inspiring message on behalf of our nation than someone who does it at a 5th grade level. You better start giving Women more respect than that, cause their the secret weapon to help making this Nation Great. So, like Ann, I’ll put it in simple terms so some of you folks would understand…Go back to the woods, because your team ain’t got the power, and your coach ain’t NO good! “

    BARACK 2012!!!!

  46. Interesting, this test. It can all be based, as it were, on punctuation. It’s not necessarily substance.

    Who the f*ck cares about this??? what a colossal waste of time.

  47. Michelle Obama is a class act! She has an authentic heart, highly educated and can represent me & this country as 1st Lady with grace, integrity and honor! When you speak from a loving heart, you deliver a an authentic speech( God=LOVE)

  48. If Mitt actually loves America, why does he keep an account in the Cayman Islands? More interesting is why less educated folks, who have no chance ever of escaping the 99%, want to enrich the 1% at their own expense. That is a certainty if Mitt gets elected. Fascinating!

  49. You can tots tell who is bias.
    Do correct my sentence. Thanks. 🙂

  50. Lunarscribe, your vocabulary is fine, but your misuse of punctuation detracts from your message. Sorry, there is too much to go through unless I rewrite the whole thing.

    M.O. your vocabulary is a disaster. Could you try to learn the difference between a noun and a verb?

    In order to Flesch out your texts, I think that I think that many of you need Kink aid.

  51. Micheal Steele | September 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply

    It is because the Republicans are a party of simpletons that cannot understand big sentences, that is why they acronym their parties name’s, GOP and KKK.

  52. How about Eleanor Roosevelt?

  53. Ann Romney’s speech was written for an audience that would lose if they appeared on Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?

  54. Ah jest donut unnerstend whut the fus is abaat. Ah tuk mah MBA et Havad end ah thenk thet buth thez guls did a dem fain jab. Them spayches wer reel gud. En ah dont thenk the riddin level is all them impurtent. Its whatz in yer hert thet relly kants. Thets whut ah thenk.

    (Signed) GW

  55. At least Ann Romney knows here demographic.

  56. Just like liberals to be snobby and think they are better then everbody else. lol

    Just like the Obama’s.

  57. Here is facts, we the American people are tired of hearing talk come out of the politicians we want to see action. So the grade level of a speech doesn’t matter to us! Action matters.

  58. “You can trust Mitt. He loves America. He will take us to a better place…”

    No. Unfortunately, Ann, I can’t trust Mitt. I, too, love America. However, loving America does not make me, or anyone else, qualified to RUN America.

  59. Really???? I didn’t realize that Ann or Michelle were co-running for the presidency. I really don’t care what either one of them said or on what level they were speaking. Typical media!

  60. Love how liberals try to project this aire of sophistication and try to convince us how much smarter and better they are than the rest of us. Sometimes I think it’s a miricle that we can walk and chew gum at the same time.

  61. This article makes no sense whatsoever. This lady has a law degree. Is she not supposed to speak like an educated woman or is she to speak in ebonics? No matter how or what Michelle does, someone is going to criticize. GET A LIFE and an EDUCATION if you can’t understand grammatically correct English being spoken. How is she a snob for speaking proper? Omg…I’ve never read such foolishness before in my life. Smh…

  62. You must always speak to your audience1

    When face with an audience of Texas Schoolbook Educated Tea Party Members perhaps 5th grade was a little on the high side. Ann Romney could have probably dumbed it down to about the 3rd grade level and her audience would have liked it more.

  63. Why are there feelings of inferiority from those of us in the GOP?!!
    Such a simple and vague and vapid speech from Ann (and from Ryan..full of lies) should INSTEAD leave everyone wanting, needing, DEMANDING MORE SUBSTANCE from their party’s potential leaders and their wives. Think of it this way: this crew would not only would help navigate our country, but also serve as role models for our children!! The whole pack of them are just not a good fit or this particular job. Maybe for running a retail or commercial industry like textiles or car parts or generators, but not a whole freakin country where there’s much much more at stake!!! In my opinion, it’s as simple and straight outward as that.

  64. Mitt and Ryan..and Ann.. They’re simply not a good fit for this job.. It’s as straight FORward as that.

  65. She didn’t write that.


  67. But Ann did agree to read it, LS…
    Making her seem a bit like a Stepford Wife.
    Come on Ann!!!

  68. One factor that no one seems to have considered is Ms. Romney’s M.S. I did a bit of internet surfing & saw that she did have a flare-up this Spring. I’m not sure whether her M.S. has affected her voice or inflection. I myself have Parkinson’s, and many with PD do have speech issues. It is often easier to enunciate in shorter sentences, pausing at the end of each. Perhaps this was as intentional tactic on the part of her speechwriters to deal with her condition?

  69. Bmax…..My comment was not directed towards Ann. We have not moved forward and I’m tired of the excuse of needing more time.

  70. Speaking of not letting things pass, I do believe the word you meant to write is speeches*. I would let it pass but you if you’re correcting others, maybe start with running a spell check on your one-sentence comment.

  71. LS…When nearly the entire globe is not moving forward (except Germany), how can one man be responsible for not moving things forward quickly enough?…Congress and subsequently the states are thwarting and wearing this country thin..affecting everyone unless you’re in the top economic tier. Mitt/Ryan, if elected, and this congress would yield thin tattard rags of a country (unless, again, you happened to be in the top economic tier)..

    I’m not convinced we know the thoughtful and deliberate direction forward at this point…as opposed to a reactive, in-an-instant direction forward that we’re currently operating from…. given that there has been little discussion /debate on the issues that matter…..we’ve really only heard hot air, name calling, issues that distract, and distortion.

    Thanks for bringing Ann’s MS to light JDD.

  72. “Vote for Barack Obama.” Flesch-Kincaid reading level 6.6

    “Vote for Mitt Romney.” Flesch-Kincaid grade level 0.7

    “Vote for Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern -schplenden -schlitter -crasscrenbon -fried -digger -dangle -dungle -burstein -von -knacker – thrasher -apple -banger -horowitz -ticolensic -grander -knotty -spelltinkle -grandlich -grumblemeyer -spelterwasser – kurstlich -himbleeisen -bahnwagen -gutenabend -bitte -ein -nürnburger -bratwustle -gerspurten -mit -zweimache – auuber -hundsfut -gumberaber -shönendanker-kalbsfleisch -mittler -aucher von Hautkopft of Ulm.” Flesch-Kincaid grade level 30.4

  73. Rick Santorum: When someone speaks to me using words that convey ideas in a more highly educated manner, I find it flattering. It demonstrates that the speaker believes I am capable of a higher degree of intelligence.

    The words a politician chooses to use in her speech demonstrate the levels of confidence she has in her audience’s capacity for intelligence.

  74. Not sure if I should say she was being a snog or not it’s probably just that they are two very different approaches. I actually found this topic to be pretty interesting because I didn’t realize that people actually analyzed the grade level and readability of speeches like this. Although when I think about it makes sense. Anyway personally I would have gone for Michelle ‘s speech more. But like the article points out big words aren’t always better honestly. I think starting off in this race though Obama has the advantage currently.

  75. That analysis was silly. A 5th grader — not a 12.84 grader — could easily follow along and understand exactly what Michelle was saying. Her speech was brilliant — and clever. Not only did she evoke much contextual genuine praise, but appealed to the hearts of the masses without lecturing, without demanding. Likewise, she got her jabs in quite subtlety, without detracting from the speeches uplifting tempo. It’s too bad we can’t sack Biden and annoint Michelle V.P. Whatever your political leanings, one would be deluding themselves in. It acknowledging just how great that speech was!

  76. Fear not what’s ahead. Socialism and payback? Mired in a new normal slough? ( Barack) Or further widening delta between have and have nots? (Mitt)

    Neither is good. How about Tony Robbins for president, he is a great speaker too!

  77. @Dante: Thank you for getting that!

    @Jeff B: And excellent post! Insofar as her speech was great, it was great despite the Flesch-Kincaid score, not because of it. I’m especially happy that you brought up tempo: an element of speaking that cannot possible be scored by this particular robot.

  78. Why is there so much hatred, name dropping and mud slinging? Why do we have to “rate” people anyway? The naysayers of President Obama and his very intelligent wife is all for one reason and one reason only. This is why we’re in the mess that we’re in now. Mrs. Obama holds her own. Mrs. Romney holds her own. Stop bickering about something you can not control. The burden is too heavy.

  79. Martin Sorenson | September 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Reply

    Wow, hearing that Mrs. Romney has (or at least uses) the vocabulary of a grammar school student really seems to have hit a nerve among many folks! But I think part of the reason is that the Republican mindset tends to be more of a black-and-white, wrong or right one. Anything that challenges simple views induces cognitive dissonance (yeah, I know, some of you would need to look up that term-but you won’t). OK, that was a bit mean spirited, but isn’t the tone of much of this string of comments, not to mention many of the Republican Convention speeches, also hostile? Michelle was not only articulate, her speech was thoughtful, sincere, and thought-provoking. It is SO obviously clear that she loves her God and her country, despite what many of my fellow contributors say, but the difference is that she sees the shades of gray, the intricacies, and the true humanity of the issues, and she expresses these beautifully and articulately.

  80. Gretchen McDonald | September 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Reply

    @Bobbi, Listen to the speech….Michelle Obama said President Obama’s grandmother started as a secretary and though she worked her way up she never got the same pay as men she had trained.

    that’s the problem with Obama Haters, they never get their facts straight. Learn to say it everyone President Obama – four more years!!!!!!!!:)

  81. Psychologists, who have studied it in depth, term ease of comprehension “cognitive fluency.” Cognitive fluency and its opposite, disfluency, has predictable effects, apart from who can understand the message. See my “Cognitive disfluency: Simple isn’t always better.” (http://tinyurl.com/3e9fqcs)

  82. Michelle Obama’s syntax is especially heartening to an English teacher–esp. to a teacher who believes that America’s greatest author is William Faulkner, a writer who probes the subconsciousness of his strong women characters in labyrinthian sentences that seem more impenetrable to students whose knowledge of discourse is increasingly limited to texting, Twitter, and chatroom prose.

    Not only did the First Lady show us her own command of language, but she showed all those who were moved by her speech that their own literacy skills and intellectual growth are still very much alive, despite the reductive, bumper-sticker politics of modern politics and despite the pontificating “3 G-ers” (God, Gays, Guns) of the far right. From Aristotle through the Enlightenment, “rhetoric” was not a bad word: it was one of three fundamental principles of a liberal education. It has been only since the rise and influence of a nation-wide “red-neck mentality” that “rhetoric” is a word synonymous with lies and that liberal education is assumed to be some form of Democratic indoctrination.

    We have a long way to go, and the challenge to responsible teachers and parents often appears overwhelming. But as both the First Lady and the President reminded us in their speeches, courses in citizenship would be a constructive start toward a nation of liberally educated people, without whom a democratic society is doomed to failure.

  83. And yet every reputable writer on the face of the earth will tell you that the fewer words you use, the more understable you become. Unfortunately, Ms. Romney outscores Michelle 5-2 in birthing babies and raising respectable citizens. The Obama’s aren’t out of the woods yet in that regard.

  84. Ms. Obama is a true testament of the old saying, “if you can’t belittle them with brilliance, at least try to baffle them with bullsh!t.”

  85. As a speech/language pathologist and a literacy facilitator, I can tell you that the Flesch-Kincaid readability test is simply an evaluation counting tool. It counts words, number of words per sentence, number of large words and word difficulty. It does not measure substance. Obama is a lawyer with considerable political experience. Naturally she is going to use ‘bigger’ words. Does that made for better oral communication? Not necessarily. Oral speaking is taught as 1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them. 2. Tell it. 3. Tell them what you just said. Intro. Message. Wrap up. Neither of the speeches really met that criteria. Obama was probably speaking ‘over the heads’ of much of her intended audience, while Romney spoke with the simplicity of a wife and mother. As for lawyers, when it comes to character measurability, they usually rank below used car salesmen.

  86. First of all, their levels of speech are much higher than those grade levels. There’s no way a fifth grader could write a speech like Ann Romney’s. Also, I find the Flesch-Kinaid readability test kind of ridiculous. Just because you can say bigger words doesn’t mean they will have a bigger impact.

    That being said, I didn’t watch either those speeches, so I don’t actually know which was better.

  87. Nothing could be more frightening than hearing or seeing in print “President Romney”.

  88. I think the scores reflect the attitudes (of their party and its’ speechwriters) towards women more than the actual women. The Republicans will always dismiss women as less intelligent than men. That is why GOP women always score lower than their Democratic counterparts in political speeches.

  89. If you think it is biased copy both speeches into Microsoft Word and check for yourselves.

  90. @bobbi anyone in a bank can become a vp. It is a status, pat on the back, because banks don’t usually pay a large salary. So yes it is quite possible for a secretary to also be a vp.

  91. I would be pretty sure it was written at this level for it’s intended, target audience. Thats all.

  92. So many bitter republicans. It’s just an interesting study. Relax. No matter what Ann said the fact is she just didn’t seem sincere, or like she actually believed what she was saying. Michelle seemed genuinely sincere in the words she was saying. Whether either truly felt or didn’t feel what they were saying was heartfelt is not relevant to this topic though. It’s how they came across, and even the pundits at FOX were impressed with Michelle’s delivery.

  93. Rob the Highschooler | September 9, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Reply

    I think Ann’s speech represented the rest of the G.O.P convention speeches in the fact that it told nothing of what Romney plans to do with the country. The speeches were clearly In-Obama instead of Pro-Romney. The Entire convention had nothing to do with the man they wished to elect! That just shows that conservatives could care less about who is in the white house; as long as it’s not Obama. The key-note address only mentioned Romney a handful of times and sounded more like a 2016 election speech for Chris Christy. What was with the guest speaker anyway? Clint Eastwood seemed like Romney just grabbed him out of the Looney Bin. How do Republicans expect to beat Obama when they could care less who they want to replace him? Ann’s speech was just like all the other speeches, full of fluffy, warm, empty thoughts. I believe a speech says a lot about a candidate. Cicero would not have won his many trials without rhetoric, and our president won’t do anything talking about unicorns and rainbows. The intellectual abilities of the candidates will show come debate time, and Obama will wipe the floor with Romney.

    • I absolutely agree. I watched both the DNC and the RNC. Honestly I couldn’t figure out what I was watching at the RNC. I was expecting the republicans to speak about their political base, and let the public know what they are about, what their policies and ideas are etc. But instead what I watched was an Obama bashing convention. On the other hand at the DNC, you had the speakers respectfully making their point, and also with some humor. The conventions were complete opposites. And I’m going for the speeches that weren’t full of fluff. (The ones at the DNC)

    • I absolutely agree. I watched both the DNC and the RNC. Honestly I couldn’t figure out what I was watching at the RNC. I was expecting the republicans to speak about their political base, and let the public know what they are about, what their policies and ideas are etc. But instead what I watched was an Obama bashing convention. On the other hand at the DNC, you had the speakers respectfully making their point, and also with some humor. The conventions were complete opposites. And I’m going for the speeches that weren’t full of fluff. (The ones at the DNC)

  94. Short sentences and simple, emotive concepts made Mrs. Romney’s speech more effective political propaganda, which is what election campaigns are all about. I think Republican policy is wrong and counterproductive, but their political propaganda works.

  95. Michelle Obama can really write, and it’s amazing that she wrote her own speech. Michelle achieved a concise, well written, understandable, almost poetic speech. Finally we have a First Lady, who is intelligent, thoughtful and understanding. Most other first ladies you just see wearing nice outfits and smiling and waving and that’s pretty much it. And that’s what I love about Michelle Obama, that she’s not like everyone else. She’s smart and she embraces it. I Loved her speech and I love her! On the other hand we have Ann Romney. The only thing I will say is maybe there’s truth to the whole dumb blond thing. Apart from that, the only Ann I like is Ann Dunham, president Barack Obama’s mother.

  96. You guys are a bunch of Obama hater punks!!

  97. Why is every one hating on Obama she is better than Romney!!

  98. Your mamma!!!!!

  99. Clearly all she is doing is useing a lot of run on sentences. ( one sentence is on paragraph to michelle obama!!!!1)

  100. Michele Obama is good at english.

  101. ya hating on obama wife

  102. haters gonna hate

  103. someone in this class | September 14, 2012 at 6:59 am | Reply

    MR. anonymous is right go to h***

  104. Does anyone here really believe either of these women wrote these speeches on their own? Seriously? When every word spoken, except for the ramblings of Clint Eastwood apparently, is looked over and vetted by someone, Edited by someone. Practiced, perfected, pitched, and pulled apart every which way by more than one person before they are approved to be spoken. Does no one know that these people use speech writers? Man… I am disgusted at the lack of intelligence of commenters here. Ann Romney spoke at the grade level she did for a reason, her speech was supposed to be inspirational and without substance, and to convince you that they were her words. Michelle Obama spoke at the level she did because she is the First Lady, an educated lawyer, and her speech writers thought if she sounded intelligent it would make her sound more truthful, and convince you to respect her, and that they were her words. That’s right… every word was planned, edited, and crafted for a purpose. Open your eyes and think about the purpose behind the type of sentences used, and their intent, and why those words were chosen. It is MUCH more important than the words themselves.

  105. Michelle is fantastic. Love her!

  106. America is a business and is recognized as such. Romney’s application would give him the job and a bonus as he has multitudes of experience unlike an academic with zero, zippo, experience in the “real” business world. (Obama and his administration have never been a CEO, owned or ran a business.)

  107. I dont read good. I don’t like takses. Romney has a pretty wife. She talks good. He will protekt me from the soshalists. Go Rmoney!

  108. It is is clear for sure that these speeches were not written by the first ladies but it clearly showing their level of excellence by going an extra mile to put together such a speech.

    It therefore suggests their standard of thinking.

    Truly this account is inspiring for me.

  109. This is an interesting analysis of speech writing. As a professional speech writer, I strive to make my speeches as simple as possible. Often a lower grade level is a sign of clear and concise writing. If you go back and analyze many of the great speeches (and works of literature too) you will find that the Flesch-Kincaid Grade level has nothing to do with the quality of the writing or the intelligence of the writer.

    When writing speeches for business executives and political leaders, my goal is a readability of 75. This makes it easier for the speaker to deliver and the audience to understand, regardless of their education level.

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