Much significance will be attached to the length of Obama’s speech. It’s worthwhile remembering that this is a dependent variable: it depends on what he has to say. Lincoln’s second inaugural will be mentioned, because it was short. But Lincoln himself found room in it to explain why the first was longer. And when he had a really complex argument to make, Lincoln didn’t skimp. Shorter is always better — as long as you say what needs saying. Deciding whether you have is a matter of judgement, which is one thing electorates look for when selecting a leader.