Obama’s Speech: Longer Despite Fewer Interruptions

Jan 28, 2010 8:19am

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: He can’t blame the length on the audience. It’s not the most scientific way to measure a president’s popularity. But our producers at ABC tallied up the ovations and found some slippage from year to year. Last February, in the president’s first address to a Joint Session of Congress, he received applause some 65 times, including five standing ovations, over 51 minutes. Last night, over some 70 minutes, there were 56 interruptions for clapping. But 19 times, at least some members of the House and Senate — usually Democrats — rose to their feet. Intriguingly, after the speech last night, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., rolled his eyes at all the interruptions, calling them “juvenile.” Americans’ attention spans, he said, are less than half as long as the president’s speech last night. He told ABC News that if he had been elected president, he would have asked the House speaker and Senate majority leader to ask members of Congress to sit silently through his State of the Union, and hold their applause to the end. We’ll play part of that interview on ABC’s “Top Line” political Webcast today, which streams live at noon ET at ABCNews.com. 

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