David Frum

Increasingly, Barack Obama's speaking style inspires a reaction borrowed from the narrator of the Raymond Chandler novel The Long Goodbye: "You talk too damn much, and too damn much of it is about you." Of the first seven sentences Obama delivered to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, the presidential "I" was the subject or direct object of five.

Like a State of the Union address, a presidential speech to the U.N. General Assembly is difficult to do well. Too many interests clamor and compete for their share of a finite amount of time. The main themes are in danger of disappearing as aides and agencies press for a mention of global financial architecture or climate change—and don't forget our friends in Latin America!

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David Frum is editor of FrumForum.com and the author of six books, including most recently COMEBACK: Conservatism That Can Win Again. In 2001 and 2002, he served as speechwriter and special assistant to President George W. Bush. In 2007, he served as senior foreign policy adviser to the Rudy Giuliani presidential campaign.