August 27th, 2008
11:55 PM ET
10 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. W O W WO W

    A -F E W- I N S U L T S-W O N ' T --D O -- I T,,,,,,,,,

    K E R R Y--–B L E W--I T,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    A G A I N,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    August 27, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  2. Hal Sedgwick

    The genuine debate is back in focus - not the Rovian smoke-and-mirrors of the past two or three weeks. Whether The Change can indeed occur will be the measure of whether half (or more) of this nation any longer feels at home here....

    August 27, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  3. Dean

    I just read some news reports about campaign volunteers 'hammering away at their laptops' to counter the Democrat message. This seems to jive with my impression that a great number of the respondents on these blogs are simply campaign staffers 'hammering their message'. No wonder a huge percentage of them have replies on *every* blog post!!!

    Think about it people! Don't be led by the nose. Think for yourselves!

    August 27, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  4. Rob

    I agree – I'm excited to watch the polls over the next two weeks (it will take a while to sort itself out with 2 conventions).

    I've seen PUMAS and Republicans in my Texas family come around this week. I got them to watch hoping that a train wreck would not happen, and look – they all at least say they are already convinced to vote for Obama

    (1) They have seen: that he is not some dangerous "other"
    (2) They miss the economy of the 90's, and they know that Republicans have screwed the pooch on that one.

    August 27, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  5. Bill

    I think Bill did a great job with his speech. The others were okay but not anything more than I would have expected. I'm sure there will be a bump up in the polls after the convention is over, but I believe the GOP convention will have a similar effect. No doubt there will be an overwhelmingly high percentage of blog comments like "Republicans are TOAST", etc., but the reality is that they will have their own very motivational, inspirational, and compelling moments, and I expect them to close the gap once again after THEIR convention is over. It's going to be a close election; anyone that thinks otherwise is simply deluding themselves.

    And Colin Powell, where are you when we need you? You could bring the country together. Run as an could win right now.

    August 27, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  6. Sherry, Atlanta


    OBAMA/BIDEN '08-'12

    August 28, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  7. Kevin,FL

    Joe Biden totally stalled the momentum his speech was so weak. Bill and Hillary Clinton was the best.

    August 28, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  8. Scott L it November 5th yet?

    August 28, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  9. DR.T

    Be afraid G.O.P. Your days are at an end.
    Throw as much dirt as you want.
    Turn out the lights,.....your party's over!

    August 28, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  10. Scott L

    Long live George Obama...I am sorry that your big brother has thrown you under the bus...

    August 28, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  11. Grace

    Clintons really saved themselves finally. I hope they would stay aside for 8 more years.

    August 28, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  12. Hoping

    Mr.Gergen you are one of the few true journalists left. Your comments are always balanced, reasonable and just. Thank you for that.

    August 28, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  13. Ray

    I think you're spot on! No way, No how, No McCain!

    Obama/Biden 08!!

    August 28, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  14. Carol Michigan

    Better without your negative comment that Joe Biden didn't deliver enough.

    He was great as was Hillary, Mark Warner, Brian Schweiter last night and Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, Beau Biden and John Kerry were tonight.

    August 28, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  15. sacto joe

    Best line of the night. "The Republican Party used to be the Grand Old Party. But it's no longer Grand – it's just OLD!

    You could say the same for John McCain....

    August 28, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  16. Independent from FL

    There was Unity. This convention would of not been as good if it wasn't for the Clintons. I'm an independent & I love the Clintons. They Know & master how to connect with substance but i don't feel Obama & even more so Biden can top the Clintons which is why I'm still left undecided. I'm looking forward to know what the Republicans have in store next week.

    August 28, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  17. Jim

    I sure hope so! Tonight was meant to remind the people of the real issues, of what we as democrats are fighting for! It was a great job from everyone, and god I respect bill clinton so much, and hillary and all of them, I am an Obama supporter but I will never forget how grand the 90's were. They will all work togather to fix the mess republicans left, just as they had to do in 92!

    August 28, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  18. lbjack

    Reversing the momentum? How about reversing the ticket?

    August 28, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  19. Right is wrong, San Jose, CA

    Sorry, I have not changed my mind of not voting for Obama. He is DEFINITELY NOT FOR ME. As a matter of fact, I have just checked out McCain's volunteering office nearby by my area. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE HILLARY AND BILL. But Obama is just NOT FOR ME. You want my opinion? Here this is. NOBAMA 08!

    August 28, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  20. Bob, NY

    Very weak presentatoin from Biden. Bill was Bill, we don't believe him anymore. So now the pressure is on Obama to deliver a grand slam. Do or Die..

    August 28, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  21. fired

    since the Repubs have NO strength in policy, they have only TRIED to attack Obama. well their whole tactic has been debunked by the Clintons, Kerry and Biden...the Repubs have NOTHING to offer but the FAILED policies of BUSH/MCCAIN...
    besides get ready to hear all about the LOBBYIST running the McCain campaign, get ready to hear about McCain's incompetence and poor judgment, get ready to hear about the Mccain draft, get ready to hear about the real McCain...POW-President of War
    No way
    No how
    No Mcsidekick

    August 28, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  22. JJ

    I thought the DNC was anticlimatic. The ObamaBiden team was in a free fall before the convention and it is much better off now.

    Let us see how the RNC goes now before we make any life-changing decisions.

    I am curious to see who McCain picks for his VP.

    This exercise maybe just another trip down the status quo lane.

    Too bad we only have a two party system.

    The country seems so divided..

    August 28, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  23. nicole

    The democratic convention tonight was heartfelt and there was not a dry eye in the building...
    Obama/Biden are a great ticket and the Dems should feel very very proud....
    This is History in the Making.....

    August 28, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  24. Kristen

    I liked all of the speeches tonight. I can see why Obama picked Biden. He seems like such a nice person in addition to being qualified. I can't wait to vote for them.

    August 28, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  25. Jan lL.

    It is all due to the Clintons, There love for the country and the dem. party is unbelievable. BO should retire all of her debt after this convention, she has earned it. What would this convention have been without them? I believe now that Hillary did not want the VP job and I dont blame her. She will be president one day, and is now due to her own graciousness, the most powerfull woman alive.

    August 28, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
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