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Obama's WHCA Speech More Viewed in a Week Than Three Years of "A More Perfect Union"

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, May 5 2011

For what it's worth, it's happened: the YouTube video of Obama's jokey speech Saturday night at the White House Correspondents Association dinner has, in less than a week, pulled in more views than candidate Obama's 2008 speech on race delivered in Philadelphia has attracted in three years, and that was a speech that was notable, in part, for how many people watched it on YouTube. C-SPAN's video of Saturday night's speech stands at 6.767 million views, while the race speech is at 6.763 million. Those numbers also make Obama's WHCA address the most popular video that C-SPAN has ever posted to YouTube, far besting the 4.7 million views attracted by Obama's 2009 inaugural address.

At least three factors seem to be at work. One, people seem to be growing more comfortable watching video online. Two, Obama is a center of attention now, post-bin Laden's death. And three, people like jokes.

Update: A colleague puts things in perspective -- "Charlie Bit My Finger" has been viewed more than 315 million times. But hey, that's only a minute long.