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. Laura Turner

    I completely agree. I scanned the networks, including, for God's sake, FAUX News, and NONE of them actually covered the convention. Even Keith Olbermann and MSNBC touted their spokespersons and not the actual event.

    This is SAD NEWS for the American people, since most of them depend on these networks for news coverage.

    The only network that ACTUALLY covered the Convention was CSPAN. I am SO completely sick of "sidekicks" giving me THEIR
    opinion and NOT the news. I guess the networks have decided
    THEY are the NEWS. How sickening.

    Laura J. Turner
    Whitmore Lake, Michigan

    August 26, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  2. larry

    Ive been watching CNN for years because i like balanced news. But since the primaries CNN is starting to resemble Fox news.I like balanced reporting but have not seen it on CNN.So I'm switching to another news broadcast. Hopefully more people will follow.You disappointed me for the last time.Bye CNN

    August 26, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  3. santella de frenza

    CNN is really losing it!!! I had to switch to PBS to actually hear the DNC speakers tonight! Blitzer stopped talking so he could listen to the band but your Republican biased commentary continued while the speakers were at the podium. I thought I'd made a mistake and had accidentally switched to FOX. You LOVE to hear yourselves talk and regurgitate the same old divisive/negative comments over and over again! I won't waste my time watching you!! You are NOT the best political team but you say it often enough that you now believe your own press! Cafferty, Amanpour,Sanchez and Zakaria are the only reporters whom I'll go out of my way to listen to on CNN!!

    August 26, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  4. Joe

    Just watched the Democratic Convention.
    Before I roll with my thoughts, I feel I need to let you know how I stood going into this evening.
    I was a STRONG supported of Hillary Clinton, one, because I wasn't familiar with Obama, Two, McCain will be another Republican puppet. I DID NOT like Michelle Obama from the get go, she just rubbed me wrong...
    Well...., times are a changing! Sometimes as Americans we take for granted the obvious. I do not consider myself to have a prejudice bone in my body, that is true. What I didn't realize is you don't have to be prejudiced to block out somebody that looks different. My eyes have finally seen the light. Mrs. Obama was not the problem, I was the problem. We as Americans are the problem. Its time as she said to look at this world as it should be and not how it is. Its time for TRUE Americans to swallow our old ways of thinking and rise to the level our fore-fathers. Our time had come and gone once before with JFK, we didn't have the chance to see his dreams fulfilled. I found the person that could carry the torch of promise and hope, I saw it in his wifes eyes and felt it in my heart. I was to young when JFK was around, I only know of his promise because my family would tell me of what we almost had, and how it was taken too soon. I won't sit by and then have to tell me kids the same story.
    We won't get another opportunity again like this for a long time, if we ever do again. I don't care if your Republican, Democrat, Independent, Communist, Atheist, well... You get the idea. We are Americans FIRST!
    John McCain is one of our greatest Americans to ever grace our country, honor, service and integrity. He's got it all. Or does he... I don't want a war hero as my President, I want an American who wants what is best for all Americans not the few priviledged.
    If you are a true American, think like one, and for once do the right thing for everyone. In the end it will benefit you 10 fold.
    Obama for President

    August 26, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  5. haas

    CNN is a joke. First they put in James Carvlie as a commentator Obama's biggest cynic and then Gergen (I think that's his name) a staunch Hillary supporter couldn't wait to come out with the negatives. I tell you, CNN promotes divisive politics. That's how they stay in business. CNN, take note from the Dems and work to unify the country. Have fair and evensided commentary.

    August 26, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  6. Suze

    Is our country is "ready" or "prepared" for this "radical" President and First Family? Ask the millions of women who face the same challenges and pleasures Michelle Obama described– working full time, dealing with child care and health care and a spouse who is committed to his own career, and just trying your best to keep it all together. She described life as so many of us know it. I'm a lot more ready for a President and First Lady who understand the challenges of family life in this day and age than I am for people who own multiple homes and whose primary experience of "financial challenge" is dealing with challenges to Daddy's will.

    August 26, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  7. Glen

    I agree with Mr. Gergen wholeheartedly. We ARE living through one of the most important chapters in the American story. In his book, Founding Brothers, Joseph Ellis talks about the sense of inevitability that Washington, Franklin, Adams, etc had for the fledgling United States of America. I don't want to jinx anything by saying it, but there seems to be a sense of inevitability about an Obama presidency ushering in a new powerfully inclusive era for our nation.

    August 26, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  8. Jay

    I thought Michelle Obama was amazing tonight...and yet all i keep reading on the major news websites is how the dems seamed lost tonight. How divided we are and how the clintons are going to break us apart. Listen people....its simple really. Sit down, clear you head and ask yourself one very simple and important question. During the past 8 years...have you felt more safe? finacialy secure? Thought we as a nation we were moving in the right direction?

    If your answer is yes, then by all means vote for John McCain...because his views arent all that off from good ol W.

    But....if you like many of us, feel as though we are fighting a war we should never have started...if you feel our economy is in dire need of help, and feel as though we need new...NEW leadership. New ideas, new plans...not mavericks of the past. Then vote Obama.

    August 26, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  9. Ben

    Michelle will be the quintessential first lady for our times. Supportive of her husband, and still a enlightened, intelligent woman with the ability to inspire our nation, as she has demonstrated tonight.

    It's time america present a new, modern face for the world, one we so desperately need. And that is, in all respects, the Obamas.

    Obama-Biden 08

    -Ben

    August 26, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  10. MR LUSAJO

    IT IS EXTREMELY SAD TO SEE AND HEAR SOME OF THE SO CALLED "TALK HEADS ON TV" MAKE SUCH A PESSIMISTIC CASE EACH TIME WHEN THEY GT AN OPPORTUNITY.
    I WONDER "DO YOU EVER TALK TO US YOUNG PEOPLE AND HEAR HOW WE FEEL ABOUT THIS PRESENT TIME?"
    THE COUNTY- AT LEAST IN THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY SPOKE WELL THAT IT WAS READY FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT, WHY NOW CAST SUCH A NEGATIVE PERSPECTIVE THAT " IS THE COUNTRY PREPARED NOW?... I'M FRANKLY NOT SURE"
    AND WHEN YOU GUYS GIVE US THSE "POLL" NUMBER, WHO DO YOU POLL? WHO DO YOU TALK TO?
    I HVE OT FOUND A SINGLE PERSON I KNOW , ANY IN MY AGE GROUP (BTWN 20-28) WHO HAS EVER BEEN POLLED.
    I TULY WISH THAT THOSE OF YOU IN POSITION OF INFLUENCE WOULD CAST A BTTER, OPTIMISTIC VIEW OF OUR COUNTY AND OF US THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, AND YES, A RESOUNDING YES! WE ARE PREPARED AND READY FO SOMEONE DIFFERENT, BE IT MR OBAMA OR AND MRS. OBAMA!

    August 26, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  11. Hung H Nguyen

    No matter what she has said tonight is not going to change anything. She had said that the first time that she loved this country. Now she turns around to say to love this country. Who is going to believe in her words.!!! We need people honestly love American country at the begining. Not only when you have chance to move to the top of your career and you say you love this country.

    August 26, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  12. shahid

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr., what an idiot!!! Why did you even compare BO to JFK? If he's still alive, he wouldn't be too happy. It's an insult to him.

    August 26, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  13. GE in MD

    Michelle Obama is a more dynamic and compelling speaker than Hillary Clinton. If Sen Clinton had speaking abilities anywhere close to Michelle Obama, this would be a different convention and HRC would have been the presumptive nominee in a landslide.

    August 26, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  14. shogun

    I agree you didn't cover ever speech , you talked and gave your opinion most of the time !!!!

    August 26, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  15. Blue Tiger

    I'm still unclear as to what substantiative comments Michelle Obama made.

    August 26, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  16. lucy

    Michelle was brilliant. Mr. Kennedy was fabulous. God Bless them and their families.

    August 26, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  17. Ben

    Michelle rocked the house! It's over!

    August 26, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  18. Troy

    David, you can't have it both way, you critize the republicans for being negative and nasty and they turn around and say tha the democrats were not nasty enough. I wish some of you experts would stop talking from both sides of your mouth. there was plenty of distinction made from some of the speaches but you did not bother to listen to them. If you want nasty the republicans will give it too you next week just wait, but this first day was not a waste as you claim on cnn.

    August 26, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  19. Linda

    I agree with Dave. Give us the chance to watch the speakers, enough of the Experts. Let us decide on our own.

    August 26, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  20. Jesse

    I'm sorry, but the comment she made about never being proud of her country really kinds of ruins it for me. However her speech may have been, eloquent or not, her previous comments makes me suspicious about how she really feels.

    August 26, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  21. Daniel at Purdue University

    CNN did not cover Speaker Pelosi whatsoever but we got to hear John Legend and we got more of Gloria Borger than anyone ever wants to hear. A bit disappointed on how CNN filters raw information and filters what imagines they want to project on the general public.

    August 26, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  22. kelly

    differences, speaking of: do you remember how the republican's tore down mccain when he ran against bush? they said he was unfit, his mind was unhinged, a million other things.

    August 26, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  23. Katie

    I agree with Dave, had the news networks shown the more substantive messages, the overall impact of the night would have been very different, and no one would think the Democrats were "soft." HOWEVER, the campaign knew which speeches the media would be focused on, and so by the same token, it was the campaign's responsibility to inject more substance into those high-profile speeches. I'm very disappointed in the Democrats tonight, because if I were an undecided voter, and not familiar with the party's/Obama's platform, there was nothing to convince me to vote for Obama.

    August 26, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  24. Bob

    Tell the talking heads to SHUTUP!!!! They are ruining a good event. Maybe someone can tell me why they thought that the talking heads had more to say than The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. CNN needs to change their scroll at the bottom of the screen that nothing is being censured, They cut whatever CNN thought the "Public" would not like.

    CNN SHUTUP!!!!! Present the news and take off the mikes and head phones

    August 26, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  25. Kwame Yeboah

    Very infuriating...CNN completely dropped the ball on this one, and your news channel is in danger of becoming more of an entertainment channel with self-absorbed hosts like Fox News...how on earth did you come up with a scheme to deem one speech worthy of coverage and another not? Whatever that formula was, it was dead wrong as you failed to cover the opening remarks by none other than Nancy Pelosi herself! Instead, we were forced to watch more coverage of Wolf, Anderson, Carville, Malveaux, Borger et al than of the DNC personalities. Please, this is the Democratic National Convention, not the CNN Convention...remember your priorities are to report the news....and I don't see how you can achieve that by "being the news yourselves." So when Anderson Cooper (whom we all love, btw) declares that the Democrats "wasted" an opportunity to come out swinging, that statement does not lend itself to validation because we were not allowed to view the proceedings of the convention to make our minds up for ourselves. I'm thoroughly peeved...I felt like I just wasted 3 hours of my life. I love and respect so many of the characteres who do indeed constitute, for me, the "Best Political Team" with notables such as Gergen (applause), Brazille, Carville, Martin et al...but don't become the news guys, report it. Please endeavor to allow the pictures to tell more of their own story in the future, instead of panning incessantly to your own photo-ops, views and opinions...which, btw, are respected...but this was not the place or the time.

    August 26, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
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