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. committeelady

    I think David Gergin and James Carville got it wrong for once. This evening was especially appealing to many little old white-haired ladies like me - not an unimportant demographic among the still unreconstructed Hillary supporters, one may remember.

    August 26, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  2. Mark

    I think her speech hurt race relations, when you start to label groups where is the unity and equality? If the Obamas can unify the party, they surely cant unify and heal a nation.

    Is everyone missing the point. There is NO substance to these speeches, yes they are professionally written and delivered well but there is no foundation behind the words.

    Wasn't it obama who said, "don't tell me words dont matter". Well being proud of you country for the first time in your adult life and the words of Rev Wright matter a great deal to me.

    August 26, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  3. Sal

    she rocked!

    August 26, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  4. Bob Horwath

    Good speech for a lot of people who need it but I did not hear anything about what they are going to do except health insurance. I do not agree that health care is the number one issue. A lot of fluff in my opinion. No substance and I still do not know what they are really going to do about improving our national security and keeping the U.S. number one in the world.

    August 26, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  5. Mark

    I think her speech hurt race relations, when you start to label groups where is the unity and equality? If the Obamas can unify the party, they surely cant unify and heal a nation.

    Is everyone missing the point. There is NO substance to these speeches, yes they are professionally written and delivered well but there is no foundation behind the words.

    Wasn't it obama who said, "don't tell me words dont matter". Well being proud of your country for the first time in your adult life and the words of Rev Wright matter a great deal to me. This is one thing I will agree with Barack on and I guarantee they will matter when I am in the voting both.

    August 26, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  6. DJ

    As an independent who was, frankly, on the fence I felt her speech wasmoving, insightful and, in a word – superb! More importantly, it was the first real look I've had and I liked what I heard. The Obama's are the real deal and she's won my vote! Well done, Michelle! You'll make a great First Lady.

    August 26, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  7. Molly

    What an inspiring, heartfelt, and soul stirring speech. I am proud to be an Obama supporter, and cannot wait until the day breaks on November 5th. The nightmare of Bush/Cheney/McCain will be over!

    August 26, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  8. keebler

    Michelle knocked that speech out of the park!!!!!! It was sooo heartfelt. Today wasn't about politics (to those complainers) It was to address those who are scared of "new" people. Most people don't know the obama name as much as clinton, kennedy, or mccain. So today she DID THE JOB!!! Amazing speech, I actually teared up. I never do that.

    August 26, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  9. Pat_Pinehurst NC

    Why wouldn't they accept her message? Have you ever heard anything spoken more from the heart? Have you become too cynical to recognize "real"? Perhaps you represent what's wrong with this country and why we so desperately need the Obamas.

    August 26, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  10. Kurtis in CT

    Very well parcticed. Nice hair.

    August 26, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  11. tim, boston

    plent the seed of doubt, gergen.

    stir it up, CNN.

    you guys make me ill.

    well, history will march right over you.

    August 26, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  12. TN FOR OBAMA

    Ohhhhhhhh YES WE CAN!

    Yes we can!

    Yes We Can!

    August 26, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  13. Gerry in Virginia

    You better be careful Mr. Gergen, the Clinton News Network (cnn) will be firing you for saying something nice about the Obama's. But thank you for kinda patting Michelle on the back. Of course you could have mentioned the fact that many people had tears running down their face, she had many standing ovations, she was gracious and inspiring. But then, we wouldn't expect you to get to rosie in your comments because cnn does pay your wages... I personally watched the whole thing on c span having given up on cnn because of their leanings towards the Clintons and McBush.... It was great viewing without commercial interuption and I seen the "little guys" speak about their connection to Barack Obama. It was an interesting evening.

    AND NOW CNN.... WILL YOU PRINT THIS TOO OR AM I TO BE OMITTED AGAIN BECAUSE I DON'T AGREE WITH YOU...

    August 26, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  14. Shanta

    I have seen Michelle on many talk shows and seen her speak. I cannot understand how most people say that she is harsh, too strong , etc. I just don't get it.

    Michelle is articulate, beautiful and very down to earth. She is a real person not a phoney bolongy. She is a real sista!!!

    I see a future politican somewhere in her career.

    You go girl!!!!

    August 26, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  15. babe40

    Cnn is getting on my nerve, why do they think we have to go negative. I

    August 26, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  16. Learn and THEN Speak

    "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."

    What in the world is so different in her compared to traditional order of things in America? Women have been devoted to their family for centuries.

    Your statements make no sense, or are you trying to say.. its hard for America to accept a well educated, women who is African American.

    Another thing, why in the world would the convention come out running hard. You need to place a little more thought in your review. Why would someone show ALL of their strong points from the door.

    August 26, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  17. Margo Mann

    I feel David Gergen is being too critical and I am surprised. I have always respected his opinions greatly. I feel that Obama is always wrong in some people's eyes. If he criticizes McCain/Bush, he is being too negative and not telling enough about what he would do as president. Then when the convention focuses on who he is and what he stands for, he isn't doing enough to bash McCain and Bush. Sheesh! Give them a break. Michelle's speech tonight was the greatest address I have ever heard by a potential first lady and I am 73. And seeing Teddy kennedy up there putting all his energy into the one thing he really loves in life, was nothing short of inspiring. But I am very diasppointed that CNN did not let us hear Nancy Pelosi's speech. I understand she lambasted the Republicans. Yet, CNN complains that the night was too soft on the Republicans. And as for James Carville, well he had no right to talk the way he did. He's just small-minded and still a Clinton worshipper. Get over it, James. Both you, David Gergen and James Carville, are democrats. Be more supportive. Margo

    August 26, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  18. AARON, PHILADELPHIA

    Michelle Obama was able to give AMERICA a fuller clearer picture of what many people seem to be missing... a TRUE AMERICAN SUCESS STORY. the Obama family mirrors what we are all about, hard work,service and respect for others. she was able to show human face and warmth that i have not seen from other women in this campaign. i would find it really hard to believe that the WOMEN of AMERICA could not connect with, or see her as a role model for their own daughters. i think she is showing herself to a great candidate in her own right .. as the FIRST LADY

    August 26, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  19. Brian Wilson

    Shut up, CNN! Nobody cares about the Democratic convention. The boat has sailed and Obama's not on it. Mark my word, democrats will get no bump out of the convention.

    August 26, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  20. nikki

    michelle obama was great!!! it was nice to see an everyday woman who can be a role model without having to be a celebrity!

    August 26, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  21. CFM

    Vacuous parody. What do you plan to do, democrats? Surely you don't plan to win by pouring syrup on us.

    August 26, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  22. Joyce

    If you guys had stopped talking and listened once in a while during the evening, you could have heard a lot more. There were other women on that podium tonight that were very good, Pelosi and the congresswomen from Missouri. Michelle was exceptional!!!
    You are not the easiest person to listen to at any point in any of my evenings. You and your other partners in crime on the "grand pupa dais" should be tired of trying to find fault where there is none to find.

    Get a life or get it right!!.

    August 26, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  23. Peter (CA)

    A terrific, heartfelt speech. I knew she would be gone but she was better than I thought she would be.

    I know the haters are going to start soon but this woman will be a terrific first lady (at least as good as Laura, the only decent member of the present administration).

    August 26, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  24. Cindy

    I enjoyed Michelle Obama's speech. It was very nice to see the family and to get to know a little more about the Obamas.

    I want to post a couple of comments on the suggestion in your earlier blog that the Democrats messed up by not attacking McCain all night. Come on, do you really think the American public tuned in all night to watch this? No. Nobody knows what happened tonight other than Mrs. Obama's speech and really, nobody cares. I guess, it might have made a good news story the next day to quote everyone bashing McCain, but that news story would have been at the expense of a story about Michelle Obama's speech.

    You know what, I'm really tired of sniping between the candidates. Let's have a few moments of family and celebration.

    August 26, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  25. HPE

    Michelle Obama blew me away tonight. Tears were streaming and I couldn't stop them. I tried. But she touched me tonight with a speech unlike any other potential first lady has ever touched me.

    August 26, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
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