Ego much? Obama talked about himself nearly four times as often as Trump in first SOTU speech

President Trump talked long on Tuesday night, “the third-longest State of the Union in the past 50 years, according to The New York Times. But he rarely talked about himself -- unlike his predecessor.

President Obama’s first State of the Union speech in 2010 featured the president saying some version of “I” or “me” nearly 100 times. That was nearly four times more than Trump managed -- 98 personal references to a mere 26.

For all the media have attacked Trump about his ego, it was Obama who earned regular criticism for being self-referential in his speeches. His first 41 speeches showed this tendency was off the charts -- mentioning himself nearly 1,200 times – 1,198 to be exact.

For all the media have attacked Trump about his ego, it was Obama who earned regular criticism for being self-referential in his speeches. His first 41 speeches showed this tendency was off the charts -- mentioning himself nearly 1,200 times – 1,198 to be exact.

Obama’s 2010 speech was littered with “I” or a contraction in some form or another -- 88 times, with another 10 “me.” Here’s a typical example: “But when I ran for president, I promised I wouldn't just do what was popular, I would do what was necessary.” That’s four in one sentence. Trump mustered two in one sentence just once. Obama managed several sentences with multiple “I” comments.

Journalists have been quick to skewer Trump over his ego. Vanity Fair recently asked, “WILL TRUMP’S BRUISED EGO LAUNCH A NUCLEAR WAR?” Politico said Trump’s ego made him prey for Putin. And though former interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile said Obama had a “titanic ego,” that theme was rare in media.

But looking at the numbers, in the battle of egos, apparently Obama’s trumps even Trump’s.

Author’s note: A word on the methodology: References to “I” or “me” or contractions of “I” were tallied in CNN transcripts from the State of the Union speeches, here and here.

Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.