The Campaign Spot

Assessing Michelle Obama’s Speech

In one sense, Michelle’s speech did what it needed to tonight, and that is… little or no harm. It was a serving of mashed potatoes from her, but considering her comments that have generated headlines so far in this campaign, generic happy talk about working hard and dreaming bigger and aiming higher will be a pleasant surprise.

N.Z. Bear e-mails me, asking, “Did Michelle’s brother just tell us that based on playing a game of one-on-one with Barack, he concluded that Obama was a great team player? I guess Barack does contain multitudes…”
I could do without phrases like, “The current of history meets this new tide of hope…” …and we’re all dragged away by the undertow.
Michelle talks about leaving a powerful job for a “career in public service” — her current job as a $300k per year director of community relations for a hospital? That’s public service? She works for a private entity. How is that public service?
Obama has solved problems, she says, by bringing people together. When?
Michelle Obama sniffs when talking about “bringing her baby home from the hospital.” A year ago, pre-parenthood, I would have rolled my eyes. But the “firm embrace of a father’s love” lines appeal to my sappy new dad side.
“Someday you’re going to be telling your children about what we did together in this election.” Indeed. “Son, I gave the Obama campaign headaches 24-7.”
“We decided to stop doubting and start dreaming.” This is where the speech starts slipping. Judging from the focus groups, this isn’t what undecided swing voters want to hear from Obama Thursday night.
She finishes at 10:54 by my watch. Did they cut this speech dramatically to fit for time?
The first delegate interviewed by CBS is in tears, and stumbles, “I didn’t expect her to reach that deeply into my heart.” Okay, this is going to chase away swing voters.

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