August 25th, 2008
11:45 PM ET
6 years ago

Gergen: Michelle Obama rescued the night

Michelle Obama rescued the night, Gergen says.
Michelle Obama rescued the night, Gergen says.

The Democrats should be enormously grateful to Michelle Obama: after a very slow start to the convention, punctuated by a moving tribute to Teddy Kennedy and his own rousing speech, the first evening was in danger of becoming an entirely lost opportunity. But Michelle rescued it.

She was extraordinary, talking in ways that were both conversational - always welcome in people's living room - but also inspiring. She spoke in ways that reached out to people of all backgrounds. Democrats should be both proud and grateful.

It is impossible to know whether how many people will accept her message. To a significant degree, that is of course because she represents such a departure from the traditional order of things in America. She represents a new future - of women who are not only devoted mothers and wives but also highly educated, caring people ... and, yes, African-Americans, Hispanics, and people of many diferent backgrounds. One day the country will be there. Is it prepared to be there now? I'm frankly not sure. We are living through one of the most important chapters in the American story

soundoff (483 Responses)
  1. Larry Bowen

    The Democrats did a horrible job of scheduling this convention–right after the Summer Olympics. The first night was about exciting as the "Redeem Team" against Michael Phelps in the 400 meter Butterfly swim race. Yes it has it high points- Ted Kennedy and Michelle Obama and that was all they could produce. The Dems gotta get better.
    Otherwise CNN doing a great job with its coverage- this American judge score it a "10".

    August 26, 2008 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  2. Valerie Moore

    Dave you are correct! The CNN staff was very rude! throughout the convention. CNN has always been the station that I turned to for the political coverage but not anymore. I found the CNN staff that was covering the DNC be very unprofessional.

    I plan to watch the rest of the convention on CSPAN.

    August 26, 2008 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  3. Paula

    America will be fortunate to have this family in the white house.Real people like us.

    August 26, 2008 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  4. Bill S

    Michelle Obama gave a wonder heartfelt speech that touched me deeply. She connected, told a story, showed her love of family and country. She will be a great first lady.

    August 26, 2008 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  5. peter

    i am beginning to wonder if CNN is on the pay list of the RNC just like fox News is.

    August 26, 2008 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  6. andrew taylor from Galveston Tx.

    Yes I agree, CNN was a little too full of themselves, so much so that it took away from the true mood of the convention,, Cspan let you actually be there to experience it for yourself without the word by word commentary,, what i did was channel hop from CNN to Cspan when I felt like it..try that next time,, worked for me!!!!!!!!!!

    August 26, 2008 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  7. Margaret

    I can't believe the snarky comment made by Leslie Sanchez about Michelle Obama's dress! As a woman, I'd expect her to be a little bit more aware that judging a woman first and foremost based on how she looks or how she is dressed is only helping to bolster the objectification of women and to thereby marginalize that woman's message.

    It's a dress. She didn't even have a 'wardrobe malfunction'. Give her a break and listen to what she has to say. I bet that it's as important as what the guy in the same-old, same-old suit just got done saying. No body ever says anything about how ugly some of the ties are or how poorly some of the suits fit... sheesh.

    August 26, 2008 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  8. M Janay

    I agree with Dave. I have a problem with Commentary being filed under the news links. This blurs the line of differentiation between true "news" and pundit writings.

    Please separate the Commentary/Pundit pieces and easily clarify them as such from the home page. One would think that it was all "puppes and kittens and cute little daughters" tonight, but as Dave mentioned, there were jabs and barbs about the other party.

    I should add that McCain's campaign made a savvy decision to run sly attack ads almost incessantly during the breaks. I hope that Obama returns the favor!

    August 26, 2008 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  9. Bob

    Overrated - the whole thing.

    Barack needs to be better than this to win this thing.

    August 26, 2008 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  10. Tom

    Yes, the night was punctuated with references to the past, the Kennedy era etc. The real truth is, JFK would not recognize this Democratic Party, nor the politics of his own brother now. The only reason any of the present cast of characters has risen to the position of leadership is the total lack of a national purpose and the general apathy of the voters. To have to turn to such inexperienced "leaders" as Pelosi and Obama shows how bad things have become. The GOP has become what the Democrats once were. The electorate majority has no candidate who represents how they really feel in this election. Only after such a collosal failure as GWB would the country turn to such people to fill the void.

    August 26, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  11. jt

    DNC too soft on McCain...sharpen the attacks...

    August 26, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  12. jayee

    I couldn't agree with you more. Listening to the speeches online was the best way. CNN seem hell bent on driving the story of divisiveness between supporters. Maybe this is the only way they can attract advertisers.

    August 26, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  13. Rob indetroit

    Michelle Obama's speech was very powerful,it made a tear appear in my eye, three cheers for michelle.

    August 26, 2008 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  14. dorne

    Why oh why are the anchors talking over the speakers.? We missed Obamas sister, claire mc caskill, bits of nancy pelosi and Leach's speech which I wanted to participate in. Please stop the shenanigans and the constant talking, talking, talking when the speakers are talking. Silence is valuable at times.
    And could you please stop with the every minute Clinton feud questions and the continual dissection. Whew..too tedious! I nearly reached into the tv and slapped all of you. You kept interrupting the flow.
    Hoping you listen and are better tomorrow. Cheers.

    August 26, 2008 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  15. Sam Christian, Ohio

    Very simply, Michele's was the greatest speech by a candidate's wife in living history!

    August 26, 2008 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  16. clarity

    Michelle was amazing. She has always performed at the level of a legendary speaker.

    I am so disappointed in CNN's coverage; so much that I turned the channel to watch ABC then to PBS for uninterrupted, nonpundit coverage. I have been watching conventions all of my life. What I look forward to is to watch ever moment of the floor's activities and the speeches. CNN actually superimposed their own mini-convention on top of the actual convention. Nancy Pelosi's speech was more important than David, Anderson and Wolff taking. History was happenng and all your viewers couldn't hear the Speaker of the House!

    I do not like the idea of hearing immediate responses from the opposing team. This is our convention not the Republicans. I know you are attempted to create cutting edge coverage– it's not working.

    August 26, 2008 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  17. eleanor owen

    What lost opportunity? The convention is not over, it just started.
    Don't believe Cargill, he is an idiot. CNN is in danger of missing
    opportunities right and left. Maybe you should fire half of your
    pundits, they are a bore and leaning leaning to the right. We don't
    need another Fox News.

    August 26, 2008 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  18. LK

    I agree – I watched the whole evening on cspan and it was nice not to have to hear all the talking heads...

    August 26, 2008 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  19. Heather Dyce

    Michelle Obama did an extraodinary and fantastic job. I am now convince that Obama has the tools to be an excellent president. I am a little disappointed that Leslie Sanchez took this oppurtunity to make a incorrect remark and make note of Mrs Obama dress as a cocktail dress. That is too snobbish and Ms Sanchez you remind me of teenage snobs who when the cant say anything good the make fun of people clothes...thats not cool. Her dress is not a coctail dress and I would surely like to know where Mrs Obama got that gorgeous dress.

    August 26, 2008 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  20. Darcy - Arkansas

    I watched the convention on Dish's gravel to gravel coverage, and checked in on CNN and MSNBC from time to time.

    About Michelle's presentation... I cried and my husband also misted up. She makes me very proud, feeling uplifted, and fills me with hope for the future generations.

    The theme of this convention is Unity, and the more I see of CNN's advertising/encouraging of dis-unity the more I tune in to other channels.

    August 26, 2008 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  21. Nikky

    This must be the first time I have disagreed with David Gurgan and Jeffrey Tooban – they are usually so thoughtful and wise but to start ranting about missed opportunities 2 hours into the Convention was insane. Expect it from Carville but not the other two. Michelle was magnificent – WOW, never heard anything like it – she is fabulous and she and Obama will put some personality back in the White House. Another first tonight is I turned off Larry King 15 minutes into the Republican Backlash – We all know what the Republicans are going to say and it is hysterical to hear these hacks say they wish they heard more about Obama's policies – like they were going to vote for them? I won't be watching LK again until the Conventions are over because it is ridiculous to listen to that drivel. I think Ben and Oral (whoever he is) are two angry old men and Michael Regan hasn't had an original thought in his life.

    August 26, 2008 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  22. HC4BO

    More speeches should have been covered by the networks. There was so much good substantive speeches that were NOT televised by the major networks ...

    Fellow Americans, if you really want to get into the convention spirit and watch ALL the speeches with no Pundits to interrupt, Please watch C-SPAN ...

    August 26, 2008 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  23. steven napier

    A+ for M ichelle Obama!!!

    August 26, 2008 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  24. Benjamin

    It was vintage Mitchell Obama – crisp, clear, bold, intellgent, persuasive, endearing, vociferous, poignant, a woman, a mother, a sister, a wife, a comrade, a friend, a neighbor, the girl next door – and yet, she was on a stage. Her message was entralling and purposeful. It was unbelievbly flawless. The Obama's have arrived the world stage and by jove ... they will be here for a long time.

    She was absolutely believable. She made such a compelling case that i almost believed she was running for the presidency herself. Without a measure of doubt, she will make an excellent first lady. Barack is fortunate to have the love and support of this enigma ... an amazon ... a jewel of inestimable value ... how she spoke today, even the best orators with all their bodies mouth, cannot achieve. Kudos Mitchell and welcome to the preidency of the United States.

    August 26, 2008 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  25. T.

    The country is on the threshold of living up to the creed or promise that all men (and) women are created equal. Many won't vote for Mr. Obama no matter what they learn about this talented family. They will simply vote against him because his pigmentation. What a shame.

    The Obama family has done all that America has asked of them.
    They have worked hard and stayed true to America's value.

    August 26, 2008 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
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