August 27th, 2008
11:55 PM ET
6 years ago

Gergen: Reversing the momentum?

Sen. Clinton looks on with her daughter as former President Clinton speaks at the convention Wednesday.
Sen. Clinton looks on with her daughter as former President Clinton speaks at the convention Wednesday.

It often seems presumptuous to sit in a television studio and offer a judgment about how a political convention is working out in America when it is you, the voters, who are the real deciders. So please forgive, but here are some thoughts.

Overall, I thought that the Democratic Party finally brought it together tonight. Much of the credit for their success goes to the Clintons - through the speech last night by Hillary and then tonight by Bill, they brought glue to the party and an energy to the convention that was crucial. Recognizing how sad they must be inside, I thought they were a class act this week. Together, they brought a healing to the party that allowed people to pull together.

Add to that the way that both Barack Obama and Joe Biden conducted themselves tonight, and they had the makings of a grand third night. Visiting the hall, Obama didn't talk so much about himself but rather, was gracious and thankful to the Clintons (as well, of course, as Michelle). Coming after Bill Clinton's rallying cry, it was impossible for Biden to top him - and he didn't - but he gave a very serviceable speech and his son Beau was absolutely moving.

The Republicans will have a full opportunity next week to make their case, and no doubt, they will have some grand moments, too. For now, this is the Democrats' turn, and they have used it well. Overall, my two cents is that tonight they may have started to reverse the momentum of this campaign. John McCain has been coming on strong, catching up with Obama in the polls - partly because a lot of Democrats haven't been sure in their allegiances. Now, Democrats may start coming home - and for the Obama-Biden team, that provides a big opportunity. Let's see if Obama can build on this momentum tomorrow night.

Now what do you, the read deciders, think? Would welcome your thoughts.

soundoff (143 Responses)
  1. TonyInKentucky

    Mary, you must be an ears and eyes closed mouth open type soul. Why vote for McCain when the Republicans only gave you a half vote as well?

    You still don't get that we're talking about the country and it's future. You are misguided and irrational. If you vote for McCain you stand behind him, you are rubberstamping his policies. You wish great hardship and ill on the American people and a disregard for the principles of liberty, equality, and justice.

    You are advocating hamstringing your children and grandchildren. You may as well run up credit cards in their name.

    Take all of that anger out on the buffoons you elected in Florida that got you hammered by both national parties. Whatever your age you demonstrate the behavior of a petulant child with no business in any voting booth.

    August 28, 2008 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  2. wantedClintonbutgotObama

    To Mary Gagliordi and others who agree with her: Please don't vote for McCain. It will hurt us all. I am a man who loves animals. Would a dog who wanted steak for dinner, but was "unlucky" and ended up getting regular dog food, then trust a man who is offering him rotten meat for his dinner the next day?

    If you truly did support Hillary (sincerely, that is) then why not continue support her and follow her lead? You will lose her respect if you vote for McCain. Please don't let your precious vote be spoiled by resentment and vengeance. Millions of fellow Hillary supporters – like me – will pay a heavy price if McCain wins. Can't you see that?

    August 28, 2008 03:19 am at 3:19 am |
  3. Bryan

    I am in Denver and have attended each of the first three nights of the Democratic Convention. Admittedly, there was some tension in the air among delegates over whether supporters of Senator Clinton would support Senator Obama, although it was not as dramatic as the national media has led some to believe. In any event, those concerns were largely alleviated after Senator Clinton's speech on Tuesday, and further after she released her delegates on Wednesday morning. That opened the opportunity to move forward together, and President Clinton and Senator Biden did wonders in propeling the Democratic Party toward November. The excitement in the Pepsi Center was electric, and Senator Obama's appearance really put an exclamation point on the night. I think the campaign is back on track.

    August 28, 2008 03:20 am at 3:20 am |
  4. Jonathan M. Feldman

    One theory is that McCain's rise in the polls was based on his gaining back Republicans and conservatives who had backed Obama. Is there any data to support that view or your view about Obama losing supporters of Democrats?

    August 28, 2008 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  5. Jake

    I caught my hard-core republican grandparents watching the DNC tonight. I was simply floored, especially when they were nodding their heads in agreement to Bill's speech. This just floored me! Never, have I seen them this excited about the democratic party before and I am simply tickled pink to have them on board!!

    Obama/Biden '08!!

    August 28, 2008 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
  6. ktloss, Laguna Beach CA

    To Deeply Disappointed in Florida, do you REALLY want to suffer through another 4 years of Bush-type disastrous economic policies, "my-way or the highway" foreign policy, outdated energy policy, over reach of the executive branch to the detriment of our other brancehs of government, and a guarantee that the Supreme Court will be tilted to the far right for the next generation? Yes, I know it has been a hard, hard campaign. But in the primaries, things get tough. Hillary and Bill were tough as nails on Obama, and Obama was tough right back. It's the nature of politics. Politics ain't for sissies. But as Hillary said last night, this is bigger than a single candidate, we are at a crossroads, at a moment of crisis in this country, and we have a choice to make. Please, please put aside hurt personal feelings, just as HIllary and Bill have, and vote for the Democratic ticket to get us out of this god-awful mess the Republicans have plunged us into over the past 8 years. This is much bigger than personal feelings. If Hillary and Bill can do it, every disaffected Hillary voter can to. Follow their lead, as I have, and throw your support to Obama-Biden. Let's take a page from the Republican playbook and get behind our candidate. Our country, our boys in Iraq, our world need CHANGE!

    August 28, 2008 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  7. Young Republican

    I agree.

    I've been leaning toward Obama for a while and I've come to the conclusion Obama-Biden are the only rational choice.

    McCain and company are now obsolete.

    August 28, 2008 03:33 am at 3:33 am |
  8. Agnes

    A well delivered speech can be uplifting and inspiring much as the way a well delivered sonata can take you to another place but... there must be more than words to fix this nation. Surely it goes without saying that we need change. I just don't know what type of change Obama will garner. He has no history of action, community outreach is fine for local governance but the chief executor of this country must be conversant on many levels and does not have the luxury of on the job training. I question Obama's intentions, his choices, Wright, Ayers, Rezco... I question his unity, Trinity Church=racism, Tammany Hall tactics with the DNC elders, strong arming and railroading the better, far superior candidate. I will not tow the party line for the sake of the DNC. I must choose the person who is able to do the best for all americans not just the few.
    How exactly will Sen. Obama approach the issues facing our great nation? Let’s face the fact that his experience – community outreach and a state senatorial voting record of "Present," does not qualify him for the office of the President of the United States of America – one in which the new President will face the effects of global warming, war, commodities shortages- everything from fresh water and oil to wheat, economic "downturn" and health issues ranging from rogue viruses to tainted food/products. Many of these issues span an international spectrum. Where exactly does Sen. Obama exhibit the experience to effectively deal with these issues? (Who do you want performing your open heart surgery, the professor or the surgeon?) It takes more than being able to talk about how something is supposed to act, (anyone who has just come out of college to start a new job can attest to that;) it takes the experience of actually doing the work. We need change and we need proven leadership – on day one. In my opinion the only person who has the qualifications to effectively handle all the issues facing our nation is Hillary Clinton. This is the reason so many of her campaign advisors are now working with Obama, because he knows Hillary was the true candidate of change. In my opinion the only person who has the qualifications to effectively handle all the issues facing our nation is Hillary Clinton. Barack as Chief Executive?… never. I found him lacking and still do.

    August 28, 2008 03:38 am at 3:38 am |
  9. Amy

    No way. I know so many who are determined not to vote for Obama. The feel-good moment will only last till this weekend when doubts about Obama capture people's concerns. A lot of Clinton people are leaving tonight (including Bill) - how will this reveal about the true feelings.

    August 28, 2008 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  10. emmanuel obire

    may i advise majority of democrats to ignore comments posted.
    i just realised that they are largely the work REPUBLICAN agent to fester disunity among the rank and file of our great party. THEIR GAME IS UP YOU WOLVES IN SHEEP CLOTHING. lets work to throw out the republicans from the white house and bring back this nation from its CURRENT DESPICABLE STATE.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08.

    August 28, 2008 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
  11. wilfred

    Obama will definitely redeem America's promise. McCanne will highlight his whitehouse agenda by attacking Obama. when will he run an advert that states his vission for 2008 and beyond.

    August 28, 2008 03:48 am at 3:48 am |
  12. Angel

    I love the Clintons and they should be running the country. I think Hillary will go far in an Obama admin. I don't think the country is ready for Obama. I hope he wins. History and tradition are stacked up against him. Biden was a great pick-up. Hill would have been the perfered choice,but to much change is not a good thing. Remember people FEAR change. Change = Uncertainty. God Bless America.

    McCain/? Or Obama/Biden....... I just don't know.

    August 28, 2008 04:01 am at 4:01 am |
  13. sandra

    I want to remind all the Bush voters who will not now claim they voted for him that we went through 8 years of pure horror. The way they handled 911 and Katrina, our troops our economy. Think about more than your biases and vote for a new direction for our country our troops and our children. I am scared of McCain. I am terrified of what 4 more years of hardship and just barely making it by. I am afraid for our troops who when they come home will not have adequate health care and compensation for their injuries. I am afraid of losing my home and faith in this country. I know we will be on track with Obama. I don't know how great a president he will be but I side with hope over hopelessness with McCain any day.

    August 28, 2008 04:09 am at 4:09 am |
  14. Lynne in Australia

    I watched Michelle Obama's face turn to concrete when both Hillary, then Bill spoke. There is no loss between her and them, it appeared a face of contempt. Hillary and Bill both spoke as experienced statesmen, with dignity, pride and belief in what they want. When Biden spoke it seemed more of hatred and aiming daggers at McCain. Experienced he may be but this does not give Barack credentials, he has to earm those himself and he has not. Nothing they said today would make me change from voting Republican and believe me I did listen with an open mind. This convention is just preaching to the converted and I am not one.

    August 28, 2008 04:18 am at 4:18 am |
  15. Marge Hibbing Mn

    No matter where he goes, no matter what he does, you can feel Bill Clinton's personality. And you know he is sincere. I think this party lost the opportunity to put a president in the white house when the DNC pushed obama and not Hillary...after the GE in November we will see how wrong they were when they are responsible for a republican instead of a democrat president. GO CLINTONS. REAL AMERICA.

    August 28, 2008 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  16. Ira

    Speeches are merely words. I my opinion, neither Obama or McCain can change anything because the government of the USA is too large and expensive. The country is in a state of bankruptcy. The Congress and Senate, as well as the President must make drastic, across the board spending cuts.

    August 28, 2008 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
  17. MJR

    I cannot vote for an elementary school politician.

    Come back and try again in 20 years, Obama.

    August 28, 2008 04:49 am at 4:49 am |
  18. Regina B

    Where is this big Democratic Party schism that the press has spent the last 2 months talking about? In fantasy land, that's where. As a registered Democrat who speaks to a lot of other registered Democrats, I have had several conversations with Hillary supporters who, although extremely saddened that she lost the nomination, would NEVER be caught dead voting for a Republican. They may not love Obama the way they love Clinton, but they will vote for him in the end because that is what is what they believe is best for the country. Any who switch allegiance are not true Democrats, but closet racists who cannot stomach a black man in the White House. The Republicans can have those idiots with my blessing.

    August 28, 2008 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
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