Does Barack Obama have a speech impediment?

On National Public Radio stations, it was always so impressive to me how the announcers and interviewees can speak so smoothly, with very little hesitations, stumbling, and almost no uhs and ums. They did a fascinating segment a year or two ago about their editing. They do edit out most of those hesitation sounds, heavy breathing sounds, stuttering over a syllable, etc. That’s how it seems like people can talk for 15 minutes and not have those fillers and pauses in there.

They aired before and after tracks, and also clips of just the removed sounds, and just from the breathing, pauses, and uhs, you can tell who they are.

audio (real media):


When I was in high school one day our English teacher was away and the English Master filled in for her. He was talking about an assigned text we were meant to have read and he and I had different interpretations of various bits. I expressed my opinion and he seemed very annoyed with me. Later on he spotted me making marks on a piece of paper and asked, “What are you doing?”

I replied, “I am counting the number of times you say ‘umm’ or ‘errr’ or ‘ahhh’, sir.”

He stared at me and said, “Are you inferring that I am an idiot?”

“No sir,” I said, “Only you can infer that you are an idiot I can just imply.”

Straight to the principal’s office.


:dubious: That sounds very similar to a scene in Tom Sharpe’s Wilt.

Are you inferring that don’t ask is plagiarizing?


My take is that it’s not a speech thing, but a mental thing. He’s forming his words in his head fully before speaking them. It’s different than normal “uhs” and “ums.”
I do the same thing, but I’m a little more quiet about it.

I also think he’s being extra diligent due to the election, so it may not be an issue during a press conference when he’s not running for office.

Forget about the ummms, the important thing is that he ends. every. word. with. a. period. like. Suze. Orman.

Surprise one of them with a question: inexperienced pols or PIOs will say “I should start over,” wave their hands, etc.

The veterans will pause in mid-phrase, add an um and then continue with the thought. When asked a rephrased question for clarity, they’ll always defer to their earlier answer.

You’re right, though, it is actually fascinating.