Obama’s Most Selfless State Of The Union Yet

The president referred to himself less during his last State of the Union than in any of his previous SOTU addresses

Jan 13, 2016 at 10:46 AM ET

In his last State of the Union address, President Obama talked about himself only half as much as he did the first time around—but even so, he still referred to himself almost once per minute.

Vocativ analyzed the number of times Obama referred to himself during all of his State of the Union addresses and discovered he was less self-centered than ever on Capitol Hill Tuesday night.

The president used the words “I,” “Me,” “My,” “I’m,” “I’d” and “I’ve” a total of 51 times during his last SOTU address. (The analysis was conducted using the text of the speech as prepared for delivery, which he departed from slightly at times when speaking.)  That’s less than in all of his previous addresses—indeed, it’s less than half as often as he used those words during his first State of the Union back in 2010.

It makes sense, considering Obama largely focused his final SOTU on America’s future without him in the White House, and spent less time on his administration’s achievements during the previous 12 months than he has in the past.

Obama’s rate of self-reference has varied during his SOTU addresses. After giving himself 117 name-checks in 2010, the president mentioned himself just 68 times the following year, then hit 94 in 2012. He dipped as low as 57 in 2013 before shooting back up to 83 in 2014 and 95 in 2015.