August 26th, 2008
10:58 AM ET

Michelle more emotive than Barack?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/26/art.michelleemotive.jpg width=292 height=320]

Editor's note: During CNN's coverage of the Democratic National convention last night, CNN's Senior Political Analyst, David Gergen made some observations after Michelle Obama's speech. The transcript is found below. What did you think of Michelle Obama's speech?

CAMPBELL BROWN: Anderson, I want to ask David to follow up on the point that he had made earlier, a complaint, David, that you had had earlier, about sort of the lack of compelling message coming out of this convention so far. Did that change, do you think, when she took the stage tonight?

DAVID GERGEN: I think she rescued the evening for the Democrats. But much more importantly, she gave the validation for Barack Obama and the Obama family that I think Americans were looking for. You wanted to have some better sense of who are these people, what are their values, where do they come from? And more importantly, what do they believe our future ought to be about?

And it was a very deft speech in all sorts of ways. Not just the grace points - I mean, she did this so well about reaching out to Hillary Clinton, talking about the 80th anniversary. She did it well by wrapping together the anniversary for women and the anniversary for Martin Luther King, the two strands that define her as an African- American woman.

And she was - but she spoke so movingly about her own personal life and where she came from and why she went to public allies and began to get so interested in public service but then linked it up to Barack Obama and what he's all about.

I don't think I've heard a more interesting conversation about what he did when he went as a community organizer. How he went block to block and how he was serving a lot of people who were working class people or people who'd lost their jobs.

And from that point of view, I actually thought in some ways, she, for all of the wonderful speeches he gives in rallies in big, big speeches, this was actually more emotionally connective than his speeches. And somehow - there was no - you couldn't possibly accuse her of elitism after that kind of speech.

And she did demonstrate a love of country and showed that does not define somebody by military service although that so valuable and she honored that. But it also comes in other forms of service. And that's what she and her husband stand for.

So I thought it was a first class speech and I think she gave us a glimpse of somebody who might be a very different model for a First Lady. People will have to wrestle with whether that's something they want whether or not.

And that John McCain story, let's face it, is a very compelling story and they're going to have a new story to tell next week about who he is.

But I thought that tonight they made that connection on values and on sort of sensible, who these pertinent people are and why they care about people like you in ways that were a breakthrough for the campaign.

soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Mary

    Fool’s thoughts are in their mouths, wise men’s words are in their hearts.
    John Mccain and his wife Cindy have no family values. John McCain was tortured in prison which is a brutal indictment of his mean and vicious character. He is a liar and cheat. Just look at the low down dirty Campaign he is running which, he said he wouldn’t run. His evil mouth has said all kinds of hateful things about people. Remember what he said about Chelsea Clinton “why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father”. He also made jokes about bomb, bomb, bomb …, bomb ,.bomb, Iran. This man is too old and is not mentally fit, he attempt suicide twice. If you think Obama is SCARY you better think again. If you are hurting now you haven’t seen anything yet. If you think Obama is not ready to lead and is lacking in experience well just looks at the past eight years of experience. John McCain is the kind of person that the Indian spoke of when they said "He Speaks with Fork Tongue". But we have people here in America that would rather suffer and eat dog food before they would put Michelle Obama in the White House. Look back at the history of our nation regardless of how any of us feel we can’t stand in the way of CHANGE. No matter how you loved the horse and buggy days change came. Let open our blind eyes and unstop our deaf ears. Search OUR EVIL HEARTS for truth. Now ask yourself what is truth? If you were drowning does is make any different who pulls you out of the water?

    August 27, 2008 at 4:44 am |
  2. Vicki

    Didn't anyone notice that this Princeton graduate has lousy grammar? I only watched the last 10 minutes and couldn't believe it. "Me and Barack"... as the subject of a sentence???? She used a plural noun and referred to it with a singular pronoun. I know many people don't speak correctly, but I sure don't want a first lady that I'd have to correct if she was in my middle school classroom.

    August 27, 2008 at 4:15 am |
  3. Cassy

    My! My! Are you people every satisfied ? David I agree. Great speech, great delivery, gracious-poised potential first lady. Sorry for people who are still so afraid they don't know enough about the Obama's.

    Let me assure sceptics–these African Americans know how to conduct themselves in the White House & any other house. They are not elitetist, but, cultural and intellegent. You won't need to concern yourself about them having parties on the front porch.

    As for Michelle's thesis, you probably wouldn't know one if it slapped you in the face. Understanderably, you "fear the unknown." Did you go to College? Have you worked hard to established anything to help others make their lives better? Give the Obama's a break!!!!!

    August 27, 2008 at 1:33 am |
  4. Kia - Charlotte, NC

    I think Michelle Obama is the epitomy of a strong, and smart woman. Maybe when she is First Lady she can teach Gail from Centre, Al. how to tactfully choose her words!

    August 27, 2008 at 12:42 am |
  5. Muriel

    You know, after reading all of this stuff, I am just about sick to my stomach! It is really sad to say, but it sounds like there are a bunch of you guys out there who would kill your mothers if you were assured that Barack Obama would not become president of the United States of America! So now, does it make me unpatriotic if I say that I am ashamed of America for allowing discrimination to show it's ugly and vile head, all under the protection of "Freedom of Speech"? It ought to be against the law for people to blog lies about the Obamas or anyone else for that matter, simply because they don't feel "comfortable" with the color of their skin. If you close your eyes and take away the color, then you would be encouraged by the possiblity of a tommorow much better than the one we're having today. You may be able to afford $5 a gallon gas, but I'm not in the $100,000 pay bracket, and McCain's plan has nothing to offer me. That has nothing to do with his color – I need someone who is willing to work on the issues that affect my life personally and the lives of the people that live in my community. In this neighborhood, we only own 1 house.

    August 27, 2008 at 12:21 am |
  6. Nkcc

    I am not a huge Hillary fan, but her speech was top notch. So was Michelle Obama's speech. As James Carville pointed out, many of the speakers tonight were playing major league ball.

    Some of the comments on this blog are worth a chuckle: "All his associates are hateful preachers, crooks and terrorist" - this writer would be a lot more credible if they could compose and spell a basic sentence.

    As a Democrat, I am very proud of my party tonight. Bring on Bill and then Barack!

    August 27, 2008 at 12:21 am |
  7. Kenn

    This was most likely the best speech ever given by a potential first lady other than Hillary Clinton. America, there is more to humans than skin color.

    We are at a cross road. Do we blindly follow McCain-Bush into another four years of fear & hate mongering, little or no sense of direction, except linning the pockets of fellow rich people; or should we let go of our our racist fears and elect a bright young man who will lead this country out of the ditches that Bush dragged us into.

    Bill Clinton was not that much more experienced, he did great, of course it took Bush just four years to squandere everything.

    August 27, 2008 at 12:07 am |
  8. Kia

    It's always funny to me how people can be so wrong in their assesment of people when blinded by the color of their skin. Right Gail?

    August 27, 2008 at 12:00 am |
  9. rochester


    August 26, 2008 at 11:31 pm |
  10. Rena Gray

    Michelle Obama did a fantastic job last night. I am a mother of five who struggles everyday to make sure my kids have a better life then i had. i feel that with Obamaas president there lives will have a better chance

    August 26, 2008 at 11:25 pm |
  11. still amazed

    Re: Gail from Centre, Al.
    You can't prove any of those accusations. Why don't you face the true reality; you are a racist.

    August 26, 2008 at 10:52 pm |
  12. fred23

    I think it was fake,...when you see her on the sideline talking to people working with the campaign, she looks angry, mad and talking at you not to you. That is the real Michelle Obama....not what we saw last night, with the Oprah hair style and shaking her head unnecessarily to make her hair move.

    Oh yeah to bring the cute little girls out was nice too, but played up to hard...poor girls...

    The real Michelle Obama is an angry woman, angry with herself and arrogant enough to ask you why you wont vote for her husband when you state he does not have any experience running anything except for staff in his State senate office....no agency, no corporation no firm nothing...and no noted changes a obvious from the positions he has held. SO now we are going to see change by someone who has no record of changing anything.....If he were a Physician I certainly wouldnt let him operate on me no matter how good and dandy he made the operation sound, no experience, no operation...think about it.

    August 26, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
    • kmyers7765kbb

      Man, Fred, you are a genius among leftwing morons. It's amazing that you were so smart and savvy about "Michelle" and how fake she was, how mean. You were right on the money about your feelings of "her".

      January 8, 2015 at 3:55 am |
  13. Annie Kate

    Michele delivered a good speech last night. I'm sure Hillary will deliver a good one tonight. However, no matter what Hillary and Michelle say or how often they say it will sway some people to vote for Obama. To expect everyone that voted for Clinton to now vote for Obama is naive – not everyone that voted for Clinton was a registered Democrat. Independents will make their mind up on things other than party loyalty.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 26, 2008 at 10:24 pm |
  14. John Warner

    I cannot believe CNN did not put Gov. Deval Patrick's speech on the air but rather chose to fill the time with their boring time filling talk about nothing!! It was an amazing, exciting, uplifting speech by the first african american governor of massachusetts. Very dissapointing but we should be used to that from CNN.

    August 26, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  15. ritgar

    Sandy C, I agree with you totally. What the heck is wrong with some of these people? it is really sad – what this current administration has done to everyone! Hate and division. Don't pay any attention to the man behind the curtain while we ship your money, your jobs, your life, overseas.
    And MJN34 – your really speak the truth. If anyone is looking for "family values" it is the Obama's that meet my definition, not the lying, cheating, Keating 5, druggie, thief ridden, whining McBushes. Good grief, McCain is starting to remind me of my grandma's old yapping Chihuahua – always yapping at your ankles!

    And – I'm an old white lady, so don't think otherwise., & definitey not a Hillary supporter. She REALLY lost me with the continued hammering (and yammering) that all of the SOWPs support her. Sorry – I'm just not a stupid, old white person!

    Go Barack!

    August 26, 2008 at 10:20 pm |
  16. jrq La Habra, Ca.

    DAVID GERGEN: I think she rescued the evening for the Democrats. But much more importantly, she gave the validation for Barack Obama and the Obama family that I think Americans were looking for"

    Mr. Gergen since when does the wife of a President run the United States? Or did the Media create a monster from lack of any real news?

    August 26, 2008 at 10:03 pm |
  17. Don, WA

    David Gergen, in his quiet way, is usually dead-on right, and he is again tonight. Michelle Obama balanced the lofty greatness of "The One" (which is nice to see by the way – I like having a "Great One" in the space that our highest office holds), with a more down to earth connection that this "First Family" needed.

    August 26, 2008 at 9:59 pm |
  18. T. Bowman

    I was very impressed with the speech. I saw a side of the Obamas I had not be privy to before. I believe that was her very best foot and very best effort. No matter what Mrs. Obama said, there would have been people who dismembered, criticized and minimized her speech as some of the bloggers did in this blog. There are those of us who can compare the Obamas to the Kennedys or even the Kings, as so many people have. They have the potential to make America fall in love with them. It was impossible to be "American" and not love John F. Kennedy and his family or Robert Kennedy and his family for that matter. Sure there were differences of opinion, but their family was "love-able". The Kings were the same way. There were some disagree-able things, but they were "love-able" and it's ok to feel a bit nostalgic. But shortly the democrats will remind America of the love she once knew.

    August 26, 2008 at 9:34 pm |
  19. Dianne

    Since I had already read their biographys, I found M. Obama's speech, sugar coated and boring (a lot of us grew up in much worse situations than either of them did) – not to mention the use of their minor children again for campaign purposes. The speech does not erase the fact that she already said she had just become proud of "her" country and that we could purchase a $600 pair of earrings with our economic stimulus checks – I receive $700 a month from SS disability – so I really know she's "Just Like Me" now. In general, I have found CNN's coverage to be a 98% lovefest experience for the Obama family, so am now just recording it to pick out anything that doesn't include sugarcoated comments about the Obama campaign – I was hoping to learn something about the party's platform–oh well. I do not want four more years of "Bush" but have not been convinced to vote for someone with no experience and the arrogance to snub 18 million voters. I am a democrat who is, in all likelihood, not voting this year.

    August 26, 2008 at 9:02 pm |
  20. Kathy, Chicago

    I'm not a fan of Pelosi or Michelle Obama. I skipped the night completely.

    August 26, 2008 at 8:50 pm |
  21. Ted

    Wait a minute, I just had to interject one thought. It does not matter who a person is supporting or whether they are independent, republican, or democrat, their opinion of last nights speech is relevant in itself: it does not need to be qualified.

    August 26, 2008 at 8:16 pm |
  22. shellomama@yahoo.com

    Michelle do not have to tell us about ice cream or car what every, that is not what the Amerian people want to hear.We want to hear about health care,education,economy, not about her sick parent because we all have sick parent. She tell the husband to tell us how his going to improve the standard of living of Amerians,and should stop receving $300.000 a year doing nothing while people who work day in day out don't make that type of money a year.

    August 26, 2008 at 6:59 pm |
  23. Lyndsey

    "The Republicans are going so negative b/c apparently it works. THey have trivialized Barack’s success without asking why he’s been successful. They laugh at the audacity of hope without questioning why they don’t seem to have any of their own."

    Well said Candice!!

    Michelle is an amazing and inspirational woman. I look happily towards the day she becomes the 1st Lady!!

    August 26, 2008 at 6:46 pm |
  24. evelyn

    really like michelle obama. we need "change", but to have change we need to give an opportunity....let's give barak obama an "opportunity". let's start a new fesh government...let's not go back to the "old". michelle will be a strong first lady! she will represent us "well"

    August 26, 2008 at 6:41 pm |
  25. Dennis

    Sandy C. You do know that only 22% or 90/400 responded to her questionnaires upon which she drew her conclusions? Have you read the questionnaires? Do you know how statistically irrelevant her results are with regards to the lack of a control group?

    August 26, 2008 at 6:40 pm |
  26. jayee

    Gail Centre,

    McCain doesn't know hateful preachers and crooks? You must have a short memory.

    August 26, 2008 at 6:31 pm |
  27. EJ (USA)

    Second, I do not think Mr. Gergen’s remark that she “saved the night” was completely accurate. If CNN’s correspondents would have shut their mouths and let us hear from the speakers onstage, we could have got a true sense of what was being said onstage. The reporters were so focused on the fact that they were the only cable news network on the floor (showing off to Fox) and more interested in their techie toys and displaying their own communicating skills. They forgot that the viewers were tuned in to see the speakers, not the reporters.

    I heard many express these same concerns. What do you say CNN? Any changes tonight after hearing from your audience? : -)

    I'm willing to allow that many of the anchors were just as excited as I was last night. I don't think you were as bad as many say you were but I'm sure there is some legitimate criticism for the anchors to digest.

    August 26, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
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