In our seminar this semester on the rhetoric of the American presidency, we found ourselves today discussing John Murphy's wonderful QJS essay on JFK's speech at Yale, June 11, 1962.
We discussed, among other things, the use of humor by presidents or directed at presidents.
John McCain and Barack Obama both appeared as featured speakers at the Alfred E. Smith dinner in New York last week (16 October 2008) to deliver humorous speeches. Both were shown on TV and there are links to their speeches.
There's a story from the LA Times on the McCain speech and presidential humor.
Transcripts here at Kansas City Star.
Here is a YouTube link to the Obama speech.
Here is a YouTube link to the McCain speech.
Full video at YouTube.
See also John M. Murphy, "The Language of the Liberal Consensus: John F. Kennedy, Technical Reason, and the 'New Economics' at Yale University," Quarterly Journal of Speech 90 (2004): 133-162.
John F. Kennedy, "Commencement Address at Yale University," President John F. Kennedy, June 11, 1962