First lady's speech at high reading level

Sept. 5, 2012 at 6:47 PM
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MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention was written at the 12th grade reading level, U.S. researchers say.

A review by Smart Politics, a non-partisan political news site authored and founded by Dr. Eric Ostermeier of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, found Obama's speech had the highest reading level among the wives of recent presidential nominees.

The first lady's speech Tuesday evening at the North Carolina convention was delivered at a grade level of 12.84, while her 2008 speech had a grade level of 9.28.

In 2004, Teresa Kerry delivered a convention speech at the reading level of grade 9; in 1996, Elizabeth Dole gave her convention speech at an 8.5 reading grade level; in 2008, Cindy McCain gave her convention speech at a grade 8 level as did Hillary Clinton in 1996 and Barbara Bush in 1992.

In 2004, Laura Bush delivered a convention speech at the reading level of grade 7.7, Tipper Gore gave her 2000 convention speech at an almost 7th grade reading level and Laura Bush gave her convention speech in 2000 at almost a 6.5 grade level, while Ann Romney's speech last week was at a 5th grade reading level.

Romney's speech had much shorter sentences -- an average of 15 words per sentence -- while Obama's speech yesterday had an average of 31 words per sentence, the analysis said.

Barack Obama's State of the Union addresses in 2010, 2011, 2012 were all on the eighth-grade reading level, Smart Politics said.

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