Project Description

In I Do Solemnly Swear, a dozen communication scholars analyze the ten presidential inaugural addresses of the last forty years. From Jimmy Carter through Barack Obama, these addresses are comprehensively analyzed from all angles, including the political climate and election campaign dynamics. The highs and lows of each speech are acutely identified and placed in the appropriate context. Finally, the book’s contributors provide insight and advice for Trump’s upcoming address.

University of Miami Assistant Director of Debate and Lecturer in Communication, Patrick Waldinger, wrote Chapter 5, “We Force the Spring: Bill Clinton’s First Inaugural Address, 1/20/1993”. The chapter is about the themes and strategy of Bill Clinton’s first Inaugural Address in 1993. Here is the abstract of the chapter:

On January 20, 1993, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist swore in William “Bill” Jefferson Clinton as the 42nd President of the United States with Hillary Clinton standing right by his side. Shortly after Bill Clinton took the solemn oath of office, he gave his first speech as President in his first inaugural address. Clinton started his address describing the change the 1992 election ushered, stating, “My fellow citizens: Today we celebrate the mystery of American renewal. This ceremony is held in the depth of winter. But, by the words we speak and the faces we show the world, we force the spring.” That spring marked the beginning of the Clintonian influence on American politics for over the next two decades.

Synopsis of  “I Do Solemnly Swear”

At noon on January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump will be sworn-in by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as the 45th President of the United States. Shortly thereafter, he will deliver the 58th presidential inaugural address before a crowd of hundreds of thousands in Washington, D.C., and tens of millions watching on television. He reportedly plans to deliver a short and crisp speech influenced by John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. A politically divided nation after a closely contested election will be eagerly awaiting this momentous address, which will set the tone and tenor of Trump’s presidency and policy agenda.


Dr. David Cram Helwich, Director of Debate and Senior Lecturer in Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota

Kurt Fifelski, MPA and Assistant Director of Debate at the University of Michigan and University of Michigan Debate Institute

Dr. Zac Gershberg, Assistant Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at the James E. Rogers Department of Communication, Media and Persuasive at Idaho State University

Aaron Kall, Director of Debate at the University of Michigan and University of Michigan Debate Institute

Dr. Eric Morris, Associate Professor of Communication and Director of Forensics at Missouri State University

Dr. Will Mosley-Jensen, Director of Debate and Assistant Professor of Human Communication at Trinity University

Dr. Sarah Partlow-Lefevre, Professor of Communication and Rhetorical Studies and Director of Debate at Idaho State University

Dr. Sarah Topp, Litigation Consultant at JurySync and M.A. and Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas

Dr. Ben Voth, Associate Professor of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs and Director of Debate at Southern Methodist University

Rebecca Voth, Undergraduate University Scholar at Baylor University

Patrick Waldinger, Assistant Director of Debate and Lecturer in the School of Communication at the University of Miami

Dr. Kelly Young, Associate Professor of Communication and the Director of Forensics at Wayne State University